San Diego, California
Not resolved

KIA vin indicates timing chain but timing belt installed

My engine blew up without warning. The Timing Belt broke.

The problem is that when I bought the vehicle I intentionally went to the Auto Parts store to purchase a timing belt set for my KIA. But the Auto Parts store could not sell me a Timing Belt set because the car had a Timing Chain.

Later I'm driving along and the engine blows up.

I rechecked the VIN and it does indicate a Timing Chain. But when the mechanic pulled the engine apart, it had an old broken timing Belt.

I suggest that ALL auto mechanics everywhere contact their KIA customers to have them bring in their vehicle for a quick check.

The 8th digit of the VIN number is a 6 for a timing Chain, and the left side of the motor looking in under the hood has a plastic cover that can be opened to see if there is a chain or belt for that engine.

If the VIN indicates a timing chain, and a belt is installed, then you can get class action suit information at:

So based upon all this, I have mixed feelings.

The car drives great and has otherwise been a good car. But that the VIN prevented me from getting the correct information I needed to do scheduled maintenance is a major issue.

If any of your readers have a KIA, any model, I suggest they or a mechanic visually sight the timing chain before trusting that the engine has a chain instead of a belt.

Don't let the mechanic talk them out of it, I did and now my engine is blown up. Vehicle data is usually reliable, but in this case KIA made a huge mistake by installing a cheaper engine without changing the VIN number accordingly.

This is easy for a mechanic or even the reader to do in less than 5 minutes. The cover comes loose with a couple of bolts. Don't let anything accidentally slip into the timing belt housing.

Product or Service Mentioned: Kia Motors Car.

Monetary Loss: $2050.

Do You Have Something To Say ?
Write a review


You will be automatically registered on our site. Username and password will be sent to you via email.
Post Comment

not work


Not Kia's fault if their customers are clueless. Don't pretend to be a mechanic if you don't have the slightest idea what you're doing.

Also, I've never heard of the VIN having anything to do with engine components. The only thing it MAY indicate is which engine a particular car is equipped with, that's as far as it goes.


Actually the vin number should tell you if it's a chain or a belt. I work at a kia dealer and that's what they look at


I worked at Kia Hunt Bch same. Beware of lifetime promises or service programs biz is for sale.


There are several sites for decoding KIA VINS.

Run yours through it and you will see that there is nothing about timing chains or belts.


This is ridiculous. You CANNOT physically put a timing belt on chain sprockets or vice versa.

They are 2 completely different things.

Try to put a belt on your bicycle sprockets.

Same thing.



Did you try your local Kia dealer or rely on some other form of info you believe is more accurate than the factory. Ive been doing this for 40 yrs and yet to see a vin that says a car has a belt or a chain..

There is not a digit in your VIN # that indicates timing chain or timing belt---You must have done your research--Ever think the parts store may be wrong---No, you believe a parts store $10 an hour clerk is better than KIA MOTORS ........The vin will tell you the size of the engine only and from there you must look it up in your maintenance manual provided by the manufacturer.

Why would you go to a parts store for something you apparently know nothing about. If you cant tell its a belt I am sure you could not have replaced it your self anyways.

Let professionals do your work and go by their recommendations-You will be much better off --Each yr a vin check digit can change and in many cases year to year they are different . A Vin break down of the entire vin or the engine code is available on line or at the parts counter where your local Kia dealer is..

If the digit is wrong Kia would be telling you or publishing in technical bulletins--Its a LAW


Just called my Kia dealership about my 2013 Rio and it has a chain! My 8 th VIN # is a 3.! So someone I this forum has their shut wrong!


Hi to all Kia owners and especially those considering buying a Kia.

All I will say is 'BUYER BEWARE'.

We had ran a 52 plate Kia Magentis 2.5 V6 Auto for 4 years and it had served us very well, so we decided to update and settled on an 04 2.0 Auto Magentis with 68000 miles. After reading various 'on-line information' we decided to have the cam belt changed, to be on the safe side after reading about the poor quality of 'GENUINE Kia Parts'.

The belt was changed at approx 77000 miles, the car has now covered 89000 miles.

Around 3 months ago my wife started the car and selected drive and was about to pull of the drive and the car stalled, she tried to restart the car with no joy.

I checked the car and it was just turning the starter motor. After having a diagnostic check on the car we were advised the 'cam sensor' had failed, so we replaced this, no change.

I then removed the upper cam belt cover and manually wound the cam round, imagine my sheer amazement to see that the 'new cam belt' had delaminated and lost some teeth, that means the 'new cam belt' had 'FAILED' after only approximately 12000 miles, Kia's owners manual recommend changing the cam belt at 86000 miles, so the belt was well inside its life span. However, after contacting a Kia dealership, we were categorically advised that Kia only 'warranty' the belt for 2 years from 'the date of fitting'. Not satisfied with this advice from the 'parts department' we found a contact number for Kia UK and rang them, after waiting for 2 weeks and NO return call we sent them an email, it took a further 2 weeks for a return call. We are now in a 'battle with Kia UK' for them to cover the costs of repairing ANY DAMAGE caused by the 'FAILURE OF THE BELT DUE TO A MANUFACTURING FAULT'.

The latest request is that they want US to pay to have the vehicle transported to their nearest dealership, so that they can strip down the engine to establish the exact fault and submit a full report of ANY/ALL DAMAGE, we also have to pay ALL the costs involved in completing this and then Kia are advising that WE will be responsible for ALL COSTS involved in repairing the car. However, we feel that Kia have completely misled us as a 'customer'. Especially as 'AT NO TIME WHEN WE ORDERED OR PURCHASED THE NEW REPLACEMENT PARTS WERE WE GIVEN ANY INFORMATION OR DETAILS OF THE 'RESTRICTED WARRANTY' ON THE TIMING BELTS, AND AS THIS WAS IN COMPLETE CONJECTURE TO THE INFORMATION IN THE 'OWNERS MANUAL' WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADVISED AT THE POINT OF PURCHASE, AND WE SHOULD REALLY HAVE BEEN GIVEN 'PRINTED DETAILS OF THE SPECIFIC WARRANTY' ON THESE NEW REPLACEMENT PARTS'. Using the car on a regular daily basis for 'general commuting' with NO to and from work travelling, my wife covers round 3500-4500 miles per year, so to cover the 'recommended mileage of 86000' before having to change the 'cam belt' would take her over 20 years,(this is why we had the cam belt and balance shaft belts changed, for piece of mind while we owned the car), so we are completely shocked that Kia have advised us that they will NOT cover ANY of the COSTS we will incur to get the car repaired as they now say that the 'recommended replacement mileage', is for 'INFORMATION ONLY', and Kia does 'NOT WARRANTY/GUARANTEE' that 'ANY CAM BELT OR OTHER TIMING BELTS WILL ACTUALLY LAST THE RECOMMENDED MILEAGE' and to 'ACTUALLY' be 'WITHIN THE KIA WARRANTY PERIOD, ALL THE 'TIMING BELTS' SHOULD BE CHANGED WITHIN 2 YEARS OF THE PREVIOUS FITTING DATE'.

So this means the 'INFORMATION IN ALL KIA OWNERS HANDBOOKS IS COMPLETELY MISLEADING AND NOT TO BE BELIEVED'. ALL KIA OWNERS OR PROSPECTIVE BUYERS SHOULD GET WRITTEN CONFIRMATION OF ALL AND ANY WARRANTY DETAILS FOR ALL KIA PARTS AND THERE RECOMMENDED LIFESPAN, AND IF THE WARRANTY WILL COVER THE COSTS OF ALL/ANY REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENT PARTS. In this instance we are looking at repair costs of a minimum of £600 UP to £1000 to get our 04 plated car back on the road. The current market value of the car is only £560, with 'we buy any car' actually offering only £140 for the car in 'running order'.

So this looks like a 'NO BRAINER' we will have to 'scrap the car' at our expense and buy a replacement car. However this time we will definitely NOT be buying a KIA. We think that their completely misleading information should NOT be allowed to be printed in the 'OWNERS MANUALS' and they should be 'HONEST AND UPFRONT' when supplying/selling parts that can result in 'SERIOUS DAMAGE' if they FAIL/BREAK. However if they did this it would mean that ALL Kia owners would be returning their vehicles back to the dealerships for ALL of these poorly warranted parts to be 'replaced' before the 2 years 'WARRANTY' actually given by Kia expires, and this would obviously cost Kia a lot of money.

SO MUCH FOR THE KIA 7 YEAR WARRANTY. This is just a complete 'SALES GIMMICK' and has NO REAL VALIDITY. SO ONCE AGAIN WE STRESS THAT KIA BUYERS BEWARE, YOU WILL BE BUYING A VERY EXPENSIVE REPAIR BILL IF YOU BUY A KIA. If anyone has any advice on how we can get some recompense from Kia it would be greatly appreciated.

As a disabled person who relied on our car I was left housebound until we managed to locate a car we could afford. The Kia is still sitting on our drive, we are going to approach the dealership and ask them if they would be kind enough to send a mechanic to our house to visually inspect the faulty cam belt(the de-lamination is clearly visible) and then to send the report to Kia UK advising that it is a 'manufacturing fault' that caused the belt to 'slip' and then hopefully Kia may offer a compromise to the situation.

We will keep everyone 'in the loop', however if anyone is thinking of buying a Kia, please think VERY CAREFULLY, BEFORE THE PURCHASE, as you could very easily end up in the very same position as we are, with your 'pride purchase' ending up as a 'block of scrap metal'. Paul