Last post on Aug 29, 2013 at 8:38 AM
You are in the Kia Spectra/Spectra5
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Kia Spectra, Transmission, Sedan, Wagon
#2 of 48 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues
Sep 19, 2005 (4:13 pm)
If anyone with a 2004.5/2005 Spectra experiences any shifting issues
with their transmission (esp, from 2nd to 3rd under heavy throttle) there
appears to be a known problem with the transmission's computer/brain.
It has been reported on another KIA Spectra forum that KIA has replaced
the transmission logic module on some poster's cars.
It appears that this problem is fairly rare, but it has been reported
by more than just one person. One person's experience was for the dealer
to reset the transmission's program by unhooking the battery, and then
having the owner run through a slow/medium/fast driving regimen This
helped the person for a short time, but then the problem reoccured. KIA
replaced the transmission's computer and the poster reported that their
car acts completely different... for the better!
My 2004.5 car's AT appears completely fine, so it must be an isolated
issue OR a problem that began after a later programming tweak in later
2005 production (perhaps after some programming adjustments to help
improve the Spectra's gas mileage???)
The 2006 model supposedly is getting a whole new transmission design,
so time will tell how well it works out.
So, if any of you experience any problems with your AT be sure to tell
your dealership that KIA's aware of the problem. There may even be a
TSB for this in KIA's warranty/repair computer system.
#3 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [spectraman]
Sep 25, 2005 (8:04 pm)
I have similar problem while press throttle hard,
I seems that car is locked. I need to release throttle and then press gentlely.
#4 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [spectraman]
Feb 03, 2006 (4:35 am)
I was shocked to see your posting about the problem I have been having with my 2004.5 automatic transmission. It's exactly as you describe except it has happened once going from third to fourth gear as I was trying to merge onto an interstate. When I figured out that I would have to wait on another vehicle and reduced the throttle (just before it was going to up-shift) the RPM surged then reduced. It shocked me at the time and the more I think about it, if the roads would have been slick I could have had trouble maintaining control. I took the car to a dealer and they test drove it around the block and could not duplicate the problem. The mechanic told me that I was the second person in a week to come in with the same complaint. He told me that Kia is aware of the issue but they are trying to create a fix and figure out how many cars are effected before they distribute a TSB. When asked if they could re-program the tranmission logic or replace the module he said that they were not allowed to do anything prior to Kia identifying what was going on. I can understand this but created a complaint via Kia's website on the issue just in case this somehow falls through the cracks.
I would have to say that, aside from this issue, the car is absolutely fantastic. I have had no other issues and I have 19,000 miles on it.
#5 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [natta1]
Feb 03, 2006 (5:34 am)
Well, your dealer would have no way to re-program the transmission unless Kia provides them with the new program. At least the dealer admits there is a problem and that Kia is working on it.
#6 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [natta1]
Feb 03, 2006 (6:21 am)
I've experienced some "gear hunting" (As Car and Driver calls it when they review cars) between 3rd and 4th under full-throttle... esp. if I'm starting to leave up a bit on the gas because I'm coming up on some unexpected slower traffic. The car sort of surges or bucks between the gears for a split second, and ONLY under heavy accleration. After a couple of "hunts" or switch backs, 4th gear then engages and you keep going. This doesn't happen every time either, FYI.
But I've never had it act so weird that it freaked me out or made me think that something was truly amiss.
Was this the first time your car did what you described? Did you have any of the "gear hunting" symptoms earlier?
Can you describe in a bit more detail exactly what happened? When the RPM surged on you, was it still in 3rd? Did the surge cause you to acclerate even though you had lifted your foot off of the throttle?
My car has 18k miles on it, so it's in the same mileage neighborhood as yours. That's why I'm curious as to whether this is a recent phenomenon in your car or not.
Can you experiment and see if you can recreate it, and report back here? Yours is the first 2004.5 that I've read is having the problem.
#7 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [spectraman]
Feb 03, 2006 (9:16 am)
I noticed something completely different with the transmission when I first purchased the car. If I did a rolling type stop (yes, I'm guilty) or had to yield and almost came to a stop, the transmission would not down shift and it would sluggishly accelerate unless I really stomped on the gas. I just sort of accepted it as "the way the transmission was designed" and I now anticipate it so it's not that big of a deal. The other problem that I posted has also been going on since the very early days of ownership. I kind of blew it off because it was so intermittent. It's been happening much more frequently now--and it's more exaggerated than it used to be. That's why I was concerned enough to post it. If your transmission has not been doing this by now I would say that you are safe.
By the way, the surge comes right before it shifts from second to third. Sometimes, if I have to let up on the gas right before it shifts, there will be an uncommanded surge in RPM as it prepares to shift then "relaxes."
I'm sure that some of what I've described is typical of any automatic transmission (to a certain degree anyway) but this is beyond anything I have ever experience.
#8 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [natta1]
Feb 03, 2006 (12:18 pm)
I know what you mean about the Spectra not downshifting all the way back down to 1st when doing rolling (or complete but brief) stops. It really makes the Spectra seem doggy.
But... use the manual shift method of pulling the gearshift down to 1 and then shift through the gears manually, and the car scoots right along.
I suspect that KIA doesn't want the car to always shift down to 1st for some particular reason. Perhaps fuel mileage, emissions, etc.? The Sentra rental I'm driving right now seems to always be in 1st when I stop and take off again. I'm driving the same route, so it's easy to compare the two cars performance-wise.
I will say this... the Spectra 2.0 in my car is a much quieter and smoother running engine than the 1.8 in the Sentra. The Sentra has a timing chain instead of a belt, so that adds a bit to the noise factor.
#9 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [natta1]
Feb 03, 2006 (6:46 pm)
Thank you for your post. I have also had this 3-4 gear erratic up- and down-shift with RPM surge happen to me often with my 2005 EX automatic. Mine happens mostly under the conditions as you said, going from congested roads on to the highway. I am not a "lead-foot" driver either. I had a similar problem with a VW Eurovan except the opposite where it would act-up on local roads after driving on the highway--brought it back so many times to various VW dealers only to have them tell me they couldn't duplicate it, so therefore it was in my head.
My Kia transmission also does not like to down-shift when ascending hills, worry to press the gas to get it to downshift. Other than a bad O2 sensor, I have not had any other problems. I really like this car!
#10 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [avantime]
Feb 04, 2006 (9:41 am)
If you think the issue is worth reporting visit the Kia website and submit a complaint. I believe you can also just call them directly at 1-800-333-4542 and select option number 3 to speak to a representative. They need to get feedback on this issue and they don't always get it from service departments.
#11 of 48 Re: 2004.5 / 2005 Spectra AT issues [avantime]
Feb 04, 2006 (10:02 am)
I also have the shifting problem,when letting up on the throttle,then when i start to give it the gas again,i get like a false neutral(revs up)then engages harshly.
I was thinking of taking it to the dealer,but wasn't sure if it was a warranty item,being that i'am the second owner of the car. mine is a 2004.5 with 9000 miles.