As a mechanic, I am often asked what cars are good to buy. I always give the same generic answer “A reliable vehicle is more important than anything else when it comes to buying a car.”
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my personal favorites, and one of them is the Kia Rio.
The Kia Rio is simply made, affordable, and quite reliable but they do suffer from a few common problems.
In this article, I am going to common issues with the 2013-2017 model years Kia Rio. Let’s get to it.
Please Note: whether you looking at the 2013,2014,2015, 2016, or 2017 Kia Rio, the common issues are the same since these model years are part of the UB generation.
The 3rd Gen Kia Rio Overview
The 3rd generation Kia Rio was introduced in 2012 by Kia the Korean automaker and remained unchanged until 2017.
This model comes as a hatchback or sedan and is available with either a 6 manual or automatic transmission depending on the Trim levels.
As far as the engine is concerned, the Kia Rio comes with either a 1.4 L 4-cylinder or 1.6 L 4-cylinder engine depending on the model year and trim level you choose.
2013-2017 Kia Rio Common Problems
1. CV Axle Boot Failure
One of the most common issues with the Kia Rio 2013-2017 is a CV axle boot failure.
If you are not familiar with what a CV Axle is, it’s a slip joint that connects your transmission to the differential.
Since the Kia Rio is a front-wheel drive vehicle (FWD)
The CV boots (Flexible rubber attached to the CV axle) on these vehicles have been known to wear out prematurely and leak grease into the brake lines which causes them to fail.
Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy fix and doesn’t cost a fortune.
The main telltale signs that the CV axle boot is going out on a Kia Rio include:
- Clicking Noise When Turning your steering
- Uncomfortable Vibrations when driving
- Grease Leak on your Wheels
- You hear a Knocking Noise at lower speeds
2. Premature Brake Rotor Failure
Another common issue with the Kia Rio is premature brake rotor failure.
The rotors are made of cast iron and they wear out over time. They can also be damaged by hitting potholes or harsh braking.
On average brake rotors typically last 50 000-70 000 miles (~80 000 – 112 000 KM) before they need to be replaced, however on Kia Rios they tend to wear out much quicker.
The most common symptom of premature brake rotor failure is a high-pitched squealing noise when you apply your brakes.
I’ve changed a handful of brake rotors on Kia Rios. Again, this is an easy fix and not a major expense, but it’s just another thing that goes wrong with this car.
3. Foggy Headlight Housing
Since the Kia Rio is a budget vehicle, it doesn’t have the best materials when it comes to the exterior of the car.
The headlights are one of the most common places where this is seen.
The plastic used on the headlight housing can become foggy over time due to UV exposure, making them look dull and cloudy.
This happens over time as part of the normal wear and tear of the car.
Polishing the headlights every now and then can help restore them to their original condition.
4. Slow Engine Oil Burn
The 1.6L four-cylinder engine that’s used in the Kia Rio is known for burning oil over time.
Normally this happens over time and the amount of oil it burns is not catastrophic to the engine, but it is still something that needs to be looked at and monitored.
The engine burns slightly more than normal when the car reaches a certain amount of Miles (High Mileage)
It’s nothing you should be concerned about but it’s pretty common on these cars. The engine will burn more oil than normal, but the car won’t break down at all.
5. Carbon Build Up
The last common issue with the Kia Rio is the engine Carbon build-up.
Carbon build-up is when the engine has been running for a long time and the carbon deposits start forming around the pistons and intake valves.
When this happens, the car’s gas mileage will decrease and the engine will start to use more oil.
This can be fixed by doing a carbon cleaning service on the car.
This will remove all of the carbon deposits and restore your car’s gas mileage and engine performance back to normal.
How Reliable is the Kia Rio?
Overall, As far as reliability goes, the Kia Rio is a reliable vehicle that you can depend on, given that you take care of it.
The Rio is one of the best cars for those looking for a cheap car that is reliable and easy to maintain.
JP Power Gave the 2015 Kia Rio a 5 out of 5 Rating for reliability and as an Auto technician, I can say that this is one of the most reliable cars I have ever worked on.
The only common problem I have seen with this vehicle is the one listed above.
How Long Can a Kio Rio Last?
The short answer is it depends on how you take care of it. However, The Kia Rio is a very reliable vehicle and will last well over 200 000 miles with little to no issues as long as you keep it maintained.