Kia Service Tips Engine Care

There are many parts of your Kia that need to be routinely checked and maintained, but perhaps none more important than the engine. The average cost to fix a check-engine related problem was $392.49 nationwide in 2013 [1]. The good news is engine repair costs can be avoided with routine engine maintenance and by following the recommended engine care found on this page.

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In addition to routine oil changes, following precautions must be observed:

  • Use only UNLEADED FUEL for gasoline engines.
  • Do not operate the vehicle when there are signs of engine malfunction, such as misfire or a noticeable loss of performance.
  • Do not misuse or abuse the engine. Examples of misuse are coasting with the ignition off and descending steep grades in gear with the ignition off.
  • Do not operate the engine at high idle speed for extended periods (5 minutes or more).
  • Do not modify or tamper with any part of the engine or emission control system. All inspections and adjustments must be made by an authorized Kia Premium dealer.
  • Avoid driving with an extremely low fuel level. Running out of fuel could cause the engine to misfire, damaging the catalytic converter.
  • To avoid damage to your transaxle, do not accelerate the engine in R (Reverse) or any forward gear position with the brakes on.
  • The transaxle may be damaged if you shift into P (Park) while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Do not operate with a loose or damaged drive belt. This may overheat the engine.
  • Avoid driving with an extremely low fuel level. Running out of fuel could cause the engine to misfire damaging the catalytic converter.

Proper Fuel
Kia recommends that you use good quality gasolines treated with detergent additives such as TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline, which helps prevent deposit formation in the engine. These gasolines will help the engine run cleaner and enhance performance of the Emission Control System. Additives are available at Ferguson Kia, along with information on how to use them. Do not mix other additives.

You want to make sure your Kia’s engine is running smoothly, by giving it the recommended fuel. “E85” fuel is an alternative fuel comprised of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, and is manufactured exclusively for use in Flexible Fuel Vehicles. “E85” is not compatible with your vehicle. Use of “E85” may result in poor engine performance and damage to your vehicle’s engine and fuel system. Kia recommends that customers do not use fuel with an ethanol content exceeding 10 percent.

Operate Your Kia as Economically as Possible
Your vehicle’s fuel economy depends mainly on your style of driving, where you drive and when you drive. Each of these factors affects how many miles you can get from a gallon of fuel. To operate your vehicle as economically as possible, use the following driving suggestions to help save money in both fuel and repairs:

  • Don’t let the engine idle longer than necessary. If you are waiting (and not in traffic), turn off your engine and restart only when you’re ready to go.
  • Remember, your vehicle does not require extended warm-up. After the engine has started, allow the engine to run for 10 to 20 seconds prior to placing the vehicle in gear. In very cold weather, however, give your engine a slightly longer warm-up period.
  • Don’t “lug” or “over-rev” the engine. Lugging is driving too slowly in a very high gear resulting in engine bucking. If this happens, shift to a lower gear. Over-revving is racing the engine beyond its safe limit. This can be avoided by shifting at the recommended speed.
  • Use your air conditioning sparingly. The air conditioning system is operated by engine power so your fuel economy is reduced when you use it.
  • High speed travel consumes more fuel than urban motoring. Do not forget to check both the engine coolant and engine oil.

If engine stalls while driving

  • Reduce your speed gradually, keeping a straight line. Move cautiously off the road to a safe place.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers.
  • Try to start the engine again.
  • If your vehicle will not start, contact one of our certified Kia technicians at Ferguson Kia.

If the engine doesn’t turn over or turns over slowly

  • If your vehicle has an automatic transaxle, be sure the shift lever is in N (Neutral) or P (Park) and the emergency brake is set.
  • Check the battery connections to be sure they are clean and tight.
  • Turn on the interior light. If the light dims or goes out when you operate the starter, the battery is discharged.
  • Check the starter connections to be sure they are securely tightened.
  • Do not push or pull the vehicle to start it.
  • Call a certified Kia technician at Ferguson Kia for information on jump starting your vehicle.

Do not push or pull the vehicle to start it. Push or pull starting may cause the catalytic converter to overload and create a fire hazard.

If engine turns over normally but does not start

  • Check fuel level.
  • With the ignition switch in the LOCK position, check all connectors at the ignition coil and spark plugs. Reconnect any that may be disconnected or loose.
  • Check the fuel line in the engine compartment.
  • If the engine still does not start, contact a certified Kia technician at Ferguson Kia.

If your temperature gauge indicates overheating, you experience a loss of power, or hear loud pinging or knocking; the engine will probably be too hot. If this happens, you should:

  • Pull off the road and stop as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Place the shift lever in P (Park, automatic transaxle) and set the parking brake. If the air conditioning is on, turn it off.
  • If engine coolant is running out under the vehicle or steam is coming out from underneath the hood, stop the engine. Do not open the hood until the coolant has stopped running or the steaming has stopped. If there is no visible loss of engine coolant and no steam, leave the engine running and check to be sure the engine cooling fan is operating. If the fan is not running, turn the engine off.
  • Check to see if the water pump drive belt is missing. If it is not missing, check to see that it is tight. If the drive belt seems to be satisfactory, check for coolant leaking from the radiator, hoses or under the vehicle. (If the air conditioning had been in use, it is normal for cold water to be draining from it when you stop).
  • If the water pump drive belt is broken or engine coolant is leaking out, stop the engine immediately and call the nearest authorized Kia Premium dealer for assistance.
  • If you cannot find the cause of the overheating, wait until the engine temperature has returned to normal. Then, if coolant has been lost, carefully add coolant to the reservoir to bring the fluid level in the reservoir up to the halfway mark.
  • Proceed with caution, keeping alert for further signs of overheating. If overheating happens again, call Ferguson Kia for assistance. Serious loss of coolant indicates there is a leak in the cooling system and this should be checked as soon as possible by a certified Ferguson Kia technician.

To help achieve proper engine and powertrain performance and durability, use only lubricants of the proper quality. The correct lubricants also help promote engine efficiency that results in improved fuel economy. These lubricants and fluids are recommended for use in your vehicle.

Necessary inspections Fluid levels, such as engine oil, engine coolant, brake fluid, and washer fluid should be checked on a regular basis, with the exact interval depending on the fluid.


  1. Do not remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot. This may result in coolant being blown out of the opening and cause serious burns.
  2. Do not wear jewelry or loose clothing while working under the hood of your vehicle with the engine running. These can become entangled in moving parts, if you must run the engine while working under the hood, make certain that you remove all jewelry (especially rings, bracelets, watches, and necklaces) and all neckties, scarves, and similar loose clothing before getting near the engine or cooling fans.

Replace engine oil
Sticking to Kia’s recommended oil change regiment is one of the most important things you can do to keep your engine in good health. Oil is commonly referred to as the “life blood” of your vehicle. You want to make sure you keep your Kia’s engine oil full and clean; free of dirty and sludge. Be sure not to overfill the engine oil. Ferguson Kia would be happy to schedule your next oil change with one of our certified Kia technicians. For recommended regular oil change schedule refer to Kia Service Tips: Fluid Levels.

Air filter maintenance
Do not drive with the air cleaner removed; this will result in excessive engine wear. When removing the air cleaner filter, be careful that dust or dirt does not enter the air intake, or damage may result. Use a Kia genuine part. Use of nongenuine part could damage the air flow sensor. Our Ferguson Kia Parts experts will help you find the exact Kia parts you need.

Wetting engine
Water washing in the engine compartment including high pressure water washing may cause the failure of electrical circuits located in the engine compartment. Never allow water or other liquids to come in contact with electrical/electronic components inside the vehicle as this may damage them.
Sources: [1]
“CarMD® STATE REPAIR COST RANKINGS (JUNE 2014).” // N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.