My car is a Kia Rio 2008, which I bought second hand 2015. I like to know why it has been difficult to start. I am worried, whenever I wake up in the morning to start the car and drive straight to work. I drive it to and from work only.
Sometimes, whenever I am about to leave home in the morning and turn the ignition key, it runs from a long time before it starts. Sometimes, it runs out the battery. I believe my battery should still be in order. What might the problem be? And kindly guide me how I can possibly solve the problem without visiting a mechanic.
Surveyor Dave Udoma
Dear Surveyor Udoma,
When a car has the problem you narrated, first culprit that comes to mind is the battery. It’s either the battery is dead or your alternator is malfunctioning. I wonder, therefore, what gave you the confidence that your battery is well. I am not saying it is definitely your battery either.
First of all, since whenever you turn the ignition key, the engine cranks for a long time, but may not start at all, it could be your spark plug, which as you desired, is something you can handle.
If after cleaning the plugs, the problem continues, it must have to do with fuel line. Do you know why? For a petrol engine to start, fuel injector or carburetor ( in case of olden days cars) must inject adequate amount of fuel into the engine’s combustion chamber. Since petrol and fire or spark of it is quite flammable, spark plugs need to simultaneously spark fire into the engine combustion chamber, as a result of which, there would be fire explosion, which leads to movement of crankshaft and the engine starts running as a result of continuous process of plug and fuel action.
Therefore, if the spark plugs are too dirty to spark fire into combustion chamber or are completely dead, no matter how good your battery is, the engine would only crank till battery runs out.
If after cleaning the spark plug, the problems continue, it is the fuel supply problem. Like I mentioned earlier, fuel needs to be injected into combustion chamber for an engine to start. If no fuel is injected, no matter how much of fire is sparked into the chamber, the car will not start.
And talking about fuel supply, your fuel pump might need looking at. Honestly, this is an area I would not advise you try to handle yourself, unless you have auto electric knowledge.
The pump might have been blocked with dirt. If you are lucky, careful watching and servicing it with petrol might get it working. But, once fuel pump develops problem, your best bet is to replace it. But before doing anything with your fuel pump, let your fuel injection nozzles with cleaned with injector cleaning spirit. That, most of the time rectifies the problem.
But better still, since Kia Rio is assembled in Nigeria, approach a Kia accredited dealership workshop. They have genuine parts and expertise to fix it.
It’s at this point we shall end this week’s edition of Auto Clinic, as brought to you by Motoring World International. Watch out for another illuminating answer to one of the mails send to us.
As a reminder, dear motorists, have you experienced any intractable motoring problem from your automobile? For an explanation, solution or guide, send me an email, indicating the brand, model and manufacturing year of the vehicle. Please give as much explanation as you can about the problem.
And before you leave your home in the morning or embark on any long distance trip, check your tyres, ensuring there is no over-inflation or under-inflation. And also ensure you are not driving on expired tyres.
Be safety conscious.
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