If the timing belt on your Kia broke, you’re not alone. Kia is dead serious when they say to change your timing belt at 40,000 miles or 60,000 miles (this depends on the model – read your vehicle manual). With a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Pontiac Grand AM, Ford Crown Victoria, or other engine, you can normally get away with much, much longer between timing belt changes . We recommend you change every 5 years or 60,000 miles or whichever comes first regardless of your vehicle type. This is industry standard, but most manufacturers build a big buffer into that standard. For example, my sister got close to 200,000 miles out of her Camry before her water pump locked up – that broke her timing belt. Even Hyundai, who owns Kia and has interchangeability with some engines, seems to not have the timing belt problems Kia does. Kia just used belts with less life as a cost saving measure.
If your timing belt broke while you’re driving, and your engine was running, your valve train is shot. The reason is that Kia engines are “interference engines” 99% of the time, any money you spend trying to fix it is going to be a waste. Any money your mechanic wants to spend to take it apart and see whats up is a waste. Kia engines are considered throw away. Rebuilding is generally not a good option due to the cost of parts and labor, unless you’re doing it yourself. If you do get a rebuilt, I recommend a Jasper. They’re expensive ($3509 list price for a 1.6L 2005 Kia Rio engine when I checked on January 25, 2009), so you might want to consider a used Kia engine. That’s my opinion, so check with your mechanic.
What I’m getting at though is that if your Kia timing belt is broken, you either need a replacement engine, an eBay auction to get rid of it, or a scrap yard journey.
Kia engines are not bad. When they are maintained on their maintenance schedule, they will last many, many miles. The good news is that Kia is going to timing chains on some of their current crop of vehicles, so this problem might be a thing of the past soon. Keep in mind that Kia isn’t the only company who uses interference engines. Audi, Volkswagen, Honda, and others use this design in some of their engines. If you do have a Kia engine with a timing belt, change it 5-10,000 miles early. I do talk to customers whose timing belts have failed prior to the maintenance schedule.
If you need a Kia engine, we can help. We talk to customers every day in the boat you’re in. Vist our main page, lowmileageengines.com or call us at 901-266-9996. We’ll be happy to speak with you, answer your questions, and help get you back on the road.