If you have any suggestions PLEASE HELP!


Asked by Oct 06, 2014 at 11:19 AM about the 2002 Kia Spectra LS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

~About Car~

---Make: Kia
---Model: Spectra
---Year: 2002
---Miles: Around 170k

~Time Owned;
---5/6 Years.

---Very basic/poor.

~*Initial* Problem;
--- Made funny noises while I was
driving. (Mainly on corners & when
gas or brake were pressed. I Was
told it was my brakes. (Replaced the
brake pads)
---Soon after- Car just wouldn't start
(When key was turned, NOTHING
happened; No power. No dash lights,
no sounds) just dead.
--- A friend got it to run somehow &
that same day I went to drive & it
started overheating immediately.
(I couldn't make it 2 minutes without
the car starting to over heat!)
-Had to stop 3/4 times in about a;
10-15 mile drive, to put more water
--- Car hasn't been driven sense.
(Just a few feet occasionally from the
yard to garage to be worked on, if at
all) mostly cause it wouldn't start.

---- about 2 weeks ago- I was
informed- water pump needed
replaced. to prevent overheating.
*Replaced the water pump.
--Car was running again, for a bit
until we turned it off to see if it
started up again- it wouldn't turn on.
--- Also when adding water, it now
seemed to be leaking from the
radiator?? (Or that area)

~Occuring Problem;
--- Today, it wouldn't start again. No
power unless jumper cables were
attached to battery.
---battery clearly isn't seeming to
hold a charge; & I think needs
But is it a water hose? Or my
radiator? Alternator?

I greatly appreciate your time as well
as patience in reading. Cause I do
understand the description is a bit
unclear, and all over. I'm simply
repeating what I've been told from
friends who look at it briefly. Each
having a different answer. : / And
can't keep buying the parts to fix a
problem that isn't actually there. I'm
a single mommy while currebtly
going through a divorce.
So though a shop would be the
brightest idea, its not too ideal on the
budget. Any advice in description on
where to go from here, please let me
Thanks. :)

6 Answers


Sounds like a major leak, if you have to keep putting water in. Look for a bad hose, leaking gaskets or a leaking radiator while the car is running in park. You don't need to go out and drive it to check for leaks. If you don't see any fluid dripping or running out the bottom of the car it probably an intake or head gasket.

Best Answer

TransAm77~ I cannot thank you enough!! I will be sure to look for those things. I'm pretty sure it wasn't coming out from the bottom. Any chance that could have effected it starting or not?


No problem! Glad I can point you in the right direction. If its a intake gasket or a head gasket, yes that can keep the car from starting or running rough.

Bruce Bauer

My 03Kia Spectra blew the top seal of the radiator after about 50 miles of about 1% uphill grade while driving through Texas. I fixed that by replacing the radiator in Autozone's parking lot. A couple weeks later, I was plagued by what seems to be the normal MO for these cars - no start, running rough when it did. Well, the water from the radiator apparently shorted something in the alternator. Battery not charging and going dead overnight if connected. I found the alternator was pulling 2.5A from the battery when the car was off! I replaced the alternator and now there is only a 20mA drain on the battery when the car is off, which is normal. I also found all the ground connections I could - unhooked them, cleaned them, and re-assembled them. Now everything seems to be running better.

Debbie Mitchell

So did replacing the alternator fix anything? I am currently having issues with an 04 Spectra. Alternator test failed, and the power steering is going bad. Trying to fix the small stuff first though. Have replaced the front left turn signal twice now, the back turn signal and brake light, and there seems to be a short. Either that or the sockets need replaced. Has anyone else had this issue? Please help!

Bruce Bauer

Yes! The original alternator in the '03 Kia Spectra only creates 70 Amps by design. That is barely enough to keep the battery charged while the car is running.Add a few modern devices (gps, dvd player, couple of phone chargers, et.al. ) and the battery never fully charges! Add to that the notoriously poor ground connections and it's amazing any of the cars are still working. I've heard Kia has a 110 Amp alternator available, but never confirmed that. I put in a 250 Amp Mechman alternator that I had to create a custom mounting bracket for. Battery is always fully charged now, even with all my gadgets running all the time. No poor ground symptoms either. Apparently the extra kick from the extra amps can overcome a bad ground, too.

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