After the vehicle has been operated with electrical loads (lights, air conditioning), a weak alternator can cause starting difficulties. In some cases, the original alternator could not sufficiently charge the battery; Kia released a new alternator to fix the problem.
1997 Kia Sephia Problem Reports
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If the engine won't crank or cranks but does not start, the flex plate between the engine and transmission may be cracked. A cracked flex plate will cause an erratic cranking signal to the powertrain computer.