Timing Belt destroyed engine

10-05-2003, 07:49 PM
I have a friend that buys and sells cars. He just purchased a used 2001 Kia Rio 5spd. 1.5L for $900. The car didnt run. The reason was that the timing belt had broken and left 8 valves in the incorret position so that they were hit and broken off by the pistons, which severely dented the pistons. He is putting a new engine in the car so hopefully it will run after this and I'll be able to have the car. Just a heads up/warning on this critical issue.

01-06-2004, 09:32 PM
my daughter has a 2001 kia and the motor locked up on it at 70,000 miles Kia put new motor in it under the warrenty thats about all i can say is good about the car

04-09-2004, 03:50 PM
my ex-girlfriends mom and dad had a 2001 rio and the timing belt broke on it and it actually put a hole in one of hte pistons so they had ot get a new motor for it too, but it only took like 2 hours for us to put the little ass thing in

04-19-2004, 04:12 AM
i lost the timing belt and engine at 53000 miles

08-08-2004, 11:07 AM
this is only an issue with models that are abused or neglected. i work at a kia dealership as a technician and have only seen a few timing belt issues. most of which are the owners had installed the tbelt somewhere else and tehy couldn't figure out the timing or how to set the engine to tdc before disassembling.

timing belt change is recomended at 60k...you really should do it at that point in time.

03-09-2005, 11:36 AM
this is only an issue with models that are abused or neglected.
timing belt change is recomended at 60k...you really should do it at that point in time.

I disagree-- I had all required services done on my car. My timing belt destroyed my engine at 73,000 miles, and I am fighting with the dealer to honor the warranty. I brought my Rio to the dealership for its 60000 mile service, and requested that they do whatever was necessary to keep my warranty current. They said they couldn't do that-- I had to tell them exactly what I wanted. I said-- I want you to do all the recommended services. Because the car had been stalling, they adjusted the timing belt. I never knew that if I didn't say "replace the timing belt" that I was liable for the damage. :confused: Any advice?? I have already filed a case with Kia Motors America and the Better Business Bureau.

04-29-2005, 11:04 PM
I am also a kia tech and we don't really get any rios with broken t-belts. I'm sure they recommended the belt when u did ur 60k since that's a good sale for the service advisor and a gravy job for the techs. I also agree with kyle95g20 on the fact that most t-belts brake due to over worked engines and user error

07-31-2008, 01:58 PM
This is very sad. First a car is out on the market aimed at the financially challenged; then it has a non-forgiving maintenance item. This is just prime for disaster! As far as no one in a dealer having seen this problem, that has to political spin; or perhaps those who go to the dealer are financially better prepared. Kia ought to be sanctioned for this one.

08-02-2008, 02:17 PM
my daughter has a 2001 kia and the motor locked up on it at 70,000 miles Kia put new motor in it under the warrenty thats about all i can say is good about the car

Let's repair the lemon over and over and over again!

Ray H
08-10-2008, 08:16 AM
blau, Blau Blau.
Broken timing belts and bent valves are not new or uncommon in automobiles. Every manufacturer has engines that operate the same way. Kia specifically says to change the belt at 60000 miles, they dont care if you change it, your mechanic down the street changes it or the dealer changes it. If you dont know how and you have to take it to the dealer to change, thats your fault, not Kias. Its also your decision whether or not to do it at all. If you make the wrong decision, its also your fault.

10-11-2008, 06:12 PM
The warranty on the 2004 Kia Rio says the timing belt is not part of the warranty and must be replaced at 60,000 miles. Timing belt has been replaced once by the dealership at $300 coupon special.

10-29-2008, 03:02 PM
So I understand how to replace a timing belt. What I would like to know is how long and difficult is it to replace on an 01 Rio? My daughter has a Rio now with about 60K miles.

10-29-2008, 06:36 PM
Here is what disturbs me about KIA RIO timing belts....

I just bought a used 2003 RIO with the 1.6 L engine with 90,000 miles on it.

I found out from KIA (by giving them the Vin Number) that this RIO was serviced
at that KIA dealership at 78,000 miles and the Timing Belt had been replaced with
a KIA belt.

Now...if the belt was replaced at KIA and is a KIA belt...why won't they warrantee
the engine if the belt fails before 60,000 miles.

They will not......!

They admonish one to use a KIA Belt...but won't warrantee the engine should
it fail (on a used car).

Had I done the replacement - I'd have gone with Goodyear or Dayco (a US Made belt).


11-06-2008, 08:52 AM
Interesting to see two kia techs saying the same thing...

Recommended change for belt on the rio WAS 100000 kms, since been changed to 60k due to so many breakages. And all you need to do is search google to find that it is an issue. The timing belt on my 02 went at 87000 kms and destroyed the engine - holes in two piston heads and all the valves were smashed. Course it was done under warranty - covered to 100k. I personally won't take the timing belt beyond 50k anymore - $30 is nothing in comparison...

The problem as i see it, the belts Kia sells are cheap - yep cheap but they sell them for top $$$. Yes, the dealers are carrying better belts like dayco but selling them for $170 as compared to $30 at the local parts place. I told a friend who has an 02 cinco to get hers replaced - she was at 102000 but she doesn't need to take it to a dealer - buy the dayco and find a mech to do it, it's easy.

Well she did take it to the dealer and $700 later its done and they still installed the cheap peice of crap belt.

11-28-2008, 05:05 AM
I have 163,000 miles on my 2003 Kia Rio Cinco. Guess it's about time I changed the Timing belt.

02-02-2009, 05:18 PM
my KIA is 6 years old - goes 20km,s a day- has 130,000 km,s on it. now they say i need a belt and then they say to change the water pump to. do you have to do that and is there anything else that should be changed at the same time. i came here because if you knew what i went thru with the dealership:banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead: you would never buy a car again.-:mad: - what does the factory say about it all:confused: . Thanks -- owning a KIA disturbes your mind--:rofl:

10-28-2009, 02:35 PM
I believe all of you when you speak about problems with the timing belt and engines. However, I believe the problem to be KIA not "abuse" which the tecs are so quickly to use as a label. I am currently trying to help my DAD navigate huge problems with his KIA which stalled while he was driving 4 days ago. Hi car has 42,000 miles on it..... The timing belts teeth were completely disintegrated in some places on the belt. Now we are told that the valves are gone. Most of you will think this isn't a problem because he can claim it on his powertrain warranty which we see all over the internet as a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. However, according to KIA Corporate our car is not covered under this warranty because my dad purchased the car when it was 6 months old from their dealer in Yonkers. Although he was told that the car would continue with the original terms of the warranty, and they repeated that to me when I spoke with the sales person for confirmation, Kia Corporate now states that apparently we were lied to. And they can't be responsible if a car salesman doesn't tell the truth!! DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? Unfortunately, the Kia dealer who sold the car is no longer there, what a surprise ......? We have the sticker which the sales person gave him to keep for his records which states 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain & 5 years/60,000 miles. The manuals given him were all of the manuals which come with the car when it is purchased new. And no one will back the warranty. They haven't heard the end to this story................ Buyers BEWARE!!!!

10-29-2009, 11:48 PM
Doesn't sound like a problem with KIA at all, sounds like a crappy salesman looking to make a buck over telling someone the truth.

11-02-2009, 03:44 PM
Timing belts break and on a interference motor that means pistons eat valves not good. On the rio it is almost always the 5 speeds that strip the belts. Rapid rpm changes when changing gears,downshifting cause the belt to strip at the crank,there are updated cam sprockets on early rios that help.If you dont replaced you t-belt on interference motor when you are told to in owners manual then it breaks whos fault is it kia I think not. t-belt replacement goes by time or milage which ever comes first. If it breaks under warranty we repair them. I am a tech at a kia dealer. If you are over on time or milage for timing belt replacement its your problem

11-02-2009, 05:46 PM
The only comment I have to this is that when buying a used KIA, or any other car for that matter, many times there is not a manual.

However, that does not excuse the new owner from knowing just what maintence to take care of/do. In todays world with the internet it not to diffcult to find the answers. Spending a fairly large amount of money and then not knowing what the maintence schudule's are just showes a lack of responsibility. And to those that do not think a KIA, even a used one, costs a fair amount of money, well then just why are they shopping in the low end isle.

12-18-2009, 07:22 PM
I can't help but add my 2 cents worth to this discussion. I am presently repairing my stepdaughter's 2004 Rio for this very problem. No one to blame but myself for being unaware of the 60k service interval and the fact that she went 72k when it self-destucted. I have found numerous posts where the dealers are claiming that engines are destroyed and must be replaced. My advice to anyone getting such a diagnosis is to respectfully question it and ask for proof.

Some of the comments here stating that this is only the result of abuse is bunk. If as the operator of the vehicle you are honest enough with yourself and your technician that you were getting crazy stupid behind the wheel and had a failure during a high rpm event - then you likely can kiss the engine goodbye. One comment from a tech about the 5 speed being most common is very logical. In this case, the failure occurred on a low speed downshift. This resulted in 8 bent exhaust valves and an expense far short of a replacement engine.

I have serious issues with Kia and their apparent random administration of their warranties. I spent quite a few years as a tech, foreman, teacher, and dealer service manager - 30 years cummulative. I never witnessed anything like the crap I got into with the local dealer, lame-ass owner assistance and the district service manager that refused the courtesy of talking to me regarding an oil leak issue on this car well before the warranty expired. I have worked with numerous auto manufacturers over the years and these people are the worst I have ever encountered as a professional or a customer. If you have problems in-warranty and they take care of it without hassle, count your blessings. As for myself, I have purchased my last Kia. As for the timing belt... this one is mine alone.

Good luck to all!

12-31-2009, 09:48 AM
I just got a New Year's surprise! A $1200 bill to fix my engine (NOT replace it) after my timing belt broke. My car is a 2005 Rio, at just over 67K miles; so, the recommendation to replace the timing belt at 60K is no joke. Do it.

However, given how quickly mine crapped out, I would seriously recommend Kia roll back the clock on the timing belt change-out. Maybe at 40K or 50K miles? Just so we're not cutting it so close? Or maybe there's a way to fix the design, so that this isn't such an issue in the first place? Just sayin'...Go back to the drawing board, Kia.

Chicago, IL

12-31-2009, 04:35 PM
I don't see any way to fix it other than redesign the engine to use a wider belt. The belt on the Rio is about 1/2 the size of any other timing belt.

12-31-2009, 05:18 PM
I don't see any way to fix it other than redesign the engine to use a wider belt. The belt on the Rio is about 1/2 the size of any other timing belt.

Use a better than OEM belt like a Gates or a Dayco.

Moral of this story is to follow mfg's recommened schedule.

01-13-2010, 07:53 PM
2003 Rio, 57k with a manual trans, the latest one to join you guys. The pics are pretty big so sorry about that.

http://premium1.uploadit.org/RahXxX//0113001511.jpg (http://www.uploadit.org)

http://premium1.uploadit.org/RahXxX//0113001508a.jpg (http://www.uploadit.org)

http://premium1.uploadit.org/RahXxX//0113001508.jpg (http://www.uploadit.org)

http://premium1.uploadit.org/RahXxX//0113001507a.jpg (http://www.uploadit.org)

http://premium1.uploadit.org/RahXxX//0113001507.jpg (http://www.uploadit.org)

01-14-2010, 04:11 PM
well while you / they have it apart get the water pump changed and their are 2 or 3 parts that i would change 1. Idle Pulley .2 Auto tensioner 3. drive belt pulley .If the auto tensioner is ok i would still change the pully on it too,All pulleys and a pump since its apart: God Bless and help you though that nightmare LOl Im doing my Sportage in 3000 miles

01-14-2010, 05:22 PM
I work at a dealership and its all warranty so they are going to get just about everything replaced.

05-14-2010, 08:30 AM
First post here folks so go easy on me :)

Honestly, I think the teks and everyone has this backwards....

Allow me to elaborate:

I have a strong hunch that the timing belts are being destroyed AFTER a valve drops.

I have in front of me my Wife's 2002 Rio, appears that most of the valves are busted off and ground to chunks embedded in the surrounding metals.

The timing belt did not break. It did slip time in the incident though (I suspect this is how the damage spread to all cylinders.) The minimal effort required to crank over the cams on this engine suggests that the belt slipped as a result of something else breaking, not the other way around.

Incident occurred on the highway while accelerating from 65 to 75MPH in a mild uphill climb. Vehicle has ~120,000 miles on it.

If "abuse" is high RPMs to this car, then "abuse" is the only possible way to achieve highway speeds inside of a weekend at this elevation (6500-7500 ft here). Keeping up with regularly accelerating traffic requires routine shift points in excess of 4000RPM. The situation described above (accelerating on highway on hill) would require that the thing down shift and push RPMs in excess of 4000. That said, both the previous owner (my Wife's Dad), and my Wife drove the thing like grandma most of the time anyways. At these elevations, naturally aspirated cars see more RPMs to get the same work done than most places. This is unavoidable but also should not be a problem. A properly designed engine can operate at redline under a moderate load for a very long time. It should also be pointed out, that more rpms and less load (the result of having less air to breath) would be considered by many teks to be better for an engine overall, since the forces on the crank would be lower.

I've seen original timing belts coming out of cars ~200,000 miles that are also still in good looking condition.

More likely that the manual tranny versions will break the timing belt. In the Auto (like my Wife's), when the engine crashes, it can come to a stop while the vehicle is still rolling down the road in "gear."


05-14-2010, 05:33 PM
If dropped valves are the problem where are all the threads regarding timing belt failure after replacing the timing belt.

The timing belt is the problem just as it was with the first generation Ford Escort, and other makes, those were not dropped but also timing belts.

If you do not believe its the timing belt and you refuse to go by KIA's maintence schedule don't change the belt, just don't raise cain when the engine trashes itself.

Sorry if this comes across pretty hard but there is way to much evidence of timing belt failure, not necessarly broken but also sheared teeth. Either one buts an end to the engine.

05-15-2010, 08:47 AM
Hi jcwit,

I see similar size and smaller size cog belts used in milling machines all the time. Those mills are being used to drive taps into steel under the torque of a 1-3HP VFD drive. It's very rare for the belts to break unless you crash the machine at high RPM, which would be similar to dropping a valve at high RPM in a car.

You bring up a good point about the lack of failure after replacement, I'll throw the dropped valve theory out, but that still leaves us with a answer = timing belt that doesn't add up.

Leads me to believe that it is still not the belt, or a valve dropping, but instead, the tensioner that is to blame, which would be replaced by anyone doing the belt (if they knew what they were doing). At high RPMs, maybe a weakening tensioner allows that belt to start flapping around and skipping a tooth here and there. Then it finally jumps a few teeth all at once and crashes valves which then leads to the timing belt breaking.

Strange though, the belt on he Kia we just had "explode" is 100% intact and feels like it has plenty of tension.

I truly believe that these broken timing belts and sheered off cogs are a symptom, not the cause of the problem. Sheering cogs is something that is highly likely under a crash scenario where there is momentum built up and a sudden jolt to a stop is created. Sheering cogs is highly unlikely under normal driving.

I don't mean to stir up any trouble, just trying to get to the bottom of this...


05-15-2010, 09:07 AM
Know all about cogged belts on milling machines, was a tool and Die maker for 25 years. Never had one of them break or shear teeth in my experience either.

Have had many cars with interference engines and timing belts, Escort, Chevette, Metro's, & Honda's, and now a KIA Rio. Always replaced belts at mfg. suggested intervals, usually 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Sometimes I had the tensioner replaced sometimes not, always went by my mechanics suggestions, he's never lead me wrong in 30 plus years of service.

You're saying your belt is not broken or any teeth sheared off? Mayhap you have the one that makes the rule true.

I should add, I also go by the mechanics recommendation as to whether to replace the water pump or not, and he hasn't missed yet.

05-16-2010, 09:03 AM
A milling machine belt probably isn't subject to the heat and frequent RPM change like an automotive engine. Belt stretch may be a possibility, the tensioner is a spring type and not automatically adjustable unless you go in and readjust it. On the few engines i've dealt with that grenaded, the belts were all missing teeth on the belt. On the engines i've replaced timing belts on a maintenance basis, the belt is usually always cracked where the teeth meet the belt. I think it is a combo of a belt that could stand to be a bit wider, a lone broken tooth or teeth and belt stretch.

05-16-2010, 04:30 PM
Just for the sake of adding more carnage pics (can't have enough of those right?).... Here you go:



05-20-2010, 10:57 PM
That is probably one of the worst ones i've seen lol. At least #3 intake valves are still in decent shape lol

05-21-2010, 12:26 AM
Oh yea, it would definitely qualify for some around the water cooler time at the local garage. I've had several people look at it in amazement. This level of damage is hard to achieve.

A hole through every piston, 8 valves busted clean off, 6 more bent, 2 maybe only slightly bent?

Perhaps for the better because when I pulled the head the damage was severe enough to keep me laughing, which has probably helped keep my spirits up.

05-25-2010, 12:25 AM
Hi everyone,

So i recently bought a 2001 Kia Rio as my first car at 110000km on it. I was not so surprised to see that the timing belt still had not been changed and am in a desperate scurry to change it.

It is now pushing 114,000km and still seems to be running except I when I accelerate past 50km the engine is making a noise and the car almost vibrates.

I am reading that I should replace the belt with a dayco belt and if so what size should I buy for it.

I am a very poor university student who hardly knows anything about cars and I really want to not spend a shit load of money but have my car run well for the next 3 to 4 years.

P.S - how long do Kia's live for mileage wise?

Oh and one more problem I have found is that the dash board flickers. I think a wire is loose.

Overall I have really enjoyed the car for the past couple of months.
If anyone was thinking of buying one, just make sure you get a mech check on the vehicle.

05-25-2010, 09:39 AM
I really want to not spend a shit load of money

Being as you're a collage student I would think you could express yourself without vulgar language.

With that said, get the belt changed ASAP with either a Gates or a Dayco. Do not wait as if it breaks you've destroyed the engine.

Regarding the engine noise and vib. is your cel on? If so what are the codes? What kind of noise is it making?

05-25-2010, 10:54 AM
Sorry for my previous language, I am extremely frustrated and worried about my car.

The noise sounds like the engine is working really hard when i drive over 50kms/h. When you are looking into the car, the piece that is vibrating and making the sound is on the left hand side and under a little bit in a circluar encasement. I am pretty sure that is where the belt is.

Where can I buy a Gates or Dayco belt - and do I just say its for a 2001 Kia rio?

I also am curious to how long a Kia rio should last - I felt that I bought mine for a cheap price with low kms and want to keep it for a couple more years.

05-25-2010, 04:39 PM
Just did a quick search for auto parts, I'm not going to hunt everything down for you. Remember google is your friend, google auto parts.

As far as how long does a KIA last? Depends on how it is taken care of how it it is driven, ect., the same as with any vehicle. There used to be a fellow on another forum that claimed 300,000 miles so who knows. I would say its in the owners hands.

If your car is like mine the "piece" making the noise would be the A/C compresser, thats what is towards the bottom, the one above it is the power steering pump. You sure the water pump isn't doing it? Thats between the engine and the firewall.

11-21-2011, 08:16 PM
Just got one of these in the yard. 2004 rio, 32000 actual miles timing belt failed, am now 1/2 way into it. This engine is a copy of the Mazda engine, that frankly was dependable and very trouble free. I checked the belt and it is hard and inflexible, a sign of HIGH heat which caused the damage and the separation of the teeth. Am starting to think the problem may be the engine compartment holding and containing the heat due to rubber sealing and insulation to limit the noise of the engine. I have seen wire insulation that is hard and brittle on other kias, it was under the plastic covers that hide the wires and have insulation for noise reduction and are used in part to "trim up" the engine interior. In this car there is rubber sealing both fenders and the fire wall, sealing and holding the heat in, engines run hotter than in the past to be more fuel effiecent than in the past. This may well be the problem here because the engine is strong and well designed and the belt appears to be equal to Mazda belts I've seen that easily run over 100,000 miles

12-12-2011, 03:33 PM
Hi all,

I tend to agree with mdocod, in that the timing belt is not the root cause of every catastrophic valve timing failure described in this forum. I have a 2003 Rio which I bought with 65,000km on the clock. At the next scheduled service I had the timing belt replaced. with 125,000km on the clock the engine just stopped and seized while coming to a hault at an intersection while doing less than 20km/hr. Upon removing the head I noticed the following:

1. all exhaust valves broken
2. all inlet valves seemingly OK
3. timing belt in one piece, pliable with no cracking at the base of teeth and all teeth missing around the crank shaft pulley.

If it were the TB that failed first how is it that all of the exhaust valves in all cylinders are distroyed? Wouldn't TB failure result in the valve timing staying fixed in position while the crank turned over, resulting in only some cylinders with exhaust valves open to be crowned by the piston?

Also if were TB failure shouldn't it be a mix of both exhaust and intake valves damaged, since while one cylinder is exhausting another is intaking?

More likely in this case is that the belt has jumped a number of teeth, retarding the valve timing, resulting in the exhaust valves remaining open at TDC. Subsequent load generated by destroying the valves has stripped the TB.

Comments welcome


01-21-2012, 07:59 AM
That happens to be waiting with a timing belt replacement. Do not look at it that manufacturers recommend every 90,000 - 120,000 miles. Timing belt (http://cardrivebelts.com) change should be done every 60,000 miles. Breaking the timing belt is associated with the renovation of the engine. I know this from experience, because I once broke a timing belt.

11-17-2012, 09:26 AM
i have a 2006 kia rio and it has 179,000 miles on it. we got brand new and the timing belt has never been changed. so how do you explain that. but after reading your post on here im thinking i might have it done. i want to drive this car atleast a couple more years.

01-06-2013, 06:01 PM
I've an 04 kia rio with the 1.6 l enginge and have 130,000 miles on it with no timing belt issues to date. I change the oil every 3000 miles regularly and do tune ups and injector cleans and the unit runs great. Only problem was a rear wheel bearing that was a bugger to repair properly. But i got past that with a manual.

01-06-2013, 06:06 PM
Timing belt doesn't care how clean your oil is. You're living on borrowed time on the belt.

01-06-2013, 08:44 PM
Timing belt doesn't care how clean your oil is. You're living on borrowed time on the belt.
yeah after reading this I believe you're right. I wrote in to tell my story and in reply to those who condemned their kia's. I already priced out a new belt and pulleys kit ($78) will get to it right away.

01-06-2013, 09:30 PM
I mentioned it because I just replaced a belt(50k) on it. Fortunately it was a non-interference motor. Non-Kia.

Bill Dred
04-14-2015, 10:41 AM
2003 rio, all dealer service. replaced belt at 100km as per OM, failed at 140k, now the car is toast. Will I purchase another Kia you ask? take a guess...:sarcasmsign:

janis castile
03-17-2016, 05:59 AM
2004 Kia Rio anyone who has timing chain problems here is a web site tell them your story... maybe if enough of us compain they will do something about it.. http://www.lemonlaw.com/wordpress/do-you-have-to-change-the-timing-chain-on-your-kia-rio/ thank you.... my engine blew at 75.000 miles book said change at 120.000 :crying: :runaround:

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