Kia Rio Gearbox & Transmission Problems

What should I do if the transmission warning sign comes on in my 2020 Kia Rio?

Answered by CarsGuide 25 Nov 2020

I wouldn’t be taking the car to a transmission specialist…yet. Since the car is still under warranty, you need to give Kia every chance to sort it out for you. The good news is that this won’t cost you a cent, whereas taking it to an independent repairer will start emptying your wallet.

You’re doing the right thing by keeping a close watch on the transmission temperature readings (provided that’s not at the expense of watching the road) and if overheating was what caused the warning light to illuminate, then I’d be of the view that the transmission fluid should be changed (at the very least) and an investigation carried out into why the transmission overheated in the first place.

I haven’t heard of a rash of problems with the Rio GT-Line’s seven-speed DCT transmission in Australia, but Kia’s DCT gearboxes in other models have been known to give problems in other countries. Given our typical summer ambient temperatures, we probably won’t be immune from the same problems. This is not a Kia thing, by the way, but seems to be one of many problems that have plagued DCT (double-clutch) gearboxes over the years from a variety of car-makers.

The clutch packs in these gearboxes have to slip to work and that’s a well-known cause of heat in any transmission. If they slip enough, they could conceivably cause the transmission to overheat at which point it will trigger the warning light you’re seeing as well as not operating properly and potentially doing internal damage. Both Ford and Volkswagen have discovered this the hard way, replacing many double-clutch transmissions under warranty over the years.

It’s a bit hard to see why so many manufacturers are persisting with this technology, especially when the modern, multi-ratio conventional automatic is so compact, light and efficient these days.

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Skoda Fabia 2017: Would it make a good first car?

Answered by CarsGuide 7 Aug 2020

I think that a Kia Rio would be an excellent choice as a first car. Especially since a Rio built in the time frame you’re looking at will still have a big chunk of its factory warranty left to run. The Kia seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty is the best around, really, and provided the car you buy has a complete service record, that warranty will be real peace of mind.

Also, the Rio is known to be a good, solid car that has a good reputation for reliability and durability. The Skoda Fabia, meantime, suffers from the poor reputation of is dual-clutch transmission. The Fabia is also a bit of an orphan in Australia, meaning that it’s largely overlooked by buyers. That means it will potentially be more difficult to unload when you daughter looks to upgrade her car in a few years.

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Kia Rio 2019: Problems with sports shift

Answered by CarsGuide 12 Jul 2019

You’re possibly trying to downshift at a speed that’s higher than it was designed to do. Try downshifting at a lower engine speed.

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Kia Rio 2007: How to check automatic transmission dipstick?

Answered by CarsGuide 29 Mar 2019

The dipstick is located on the left side at the front of the engine, it’s got a red handle. Simply remove it and check the level shown. The engine should be running when you do the check.

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Kia Rio 2017: Jerky gear change

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Jan 2019

It needs investigation, and because it is still under warranty I would urge you take it to a Kia dealer. It could be that the fluid needs to be changed, although it shouldn’t at such low kilometres, so perhaps it’s something to do with the driveline computer.

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2002 Kia Rio clutch problem

Answered by CarsGuide 12 Jun 2015

Sounds like a clutch problem, it probably needs to be replaced. Take it to a mechanic and have it checked.

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Ask Smithy Xtra Kia Rio transmission oil replacement

Answered by CarsGuide 7 Jun 2011

The 2.5 litres you’ve drained is the oil that’s in the sump, the rest of the oil is in the torque converter and valve body and other parts of the transmission. The only way to remove all the oil is to flush the transmission through the cooler system. When auto trans specialists service a transmission they normally drain it as you have done and replace it with fresh oil, in so doing they freshen it up rather than completely replace it.

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Kia gearbox service

Answered by CarsGuide 29 Sep 2010

Take it back to the Kia dealer and demand it be fixed. Leave it with them until you are convinced they have fixed it, don't drive it away unless they can demonstrate to your satisfaction that it is fixed. In the meantime demand a replacement cars to drive while yours is being fixed.

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