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How to Care for Your Honda or Kia Engine: Interference Engines Matter

Your Honda Civic engine, Honda Accord engine, and Kia Rio engine have something in common. While made by two different manufacturers based in different countries, all three of these motors use interference timing. Simply put, this means that as the pistons in the engine go up and down, the intake and exhaust valves go in and out as well. Further, they are timed to ensure they do not smash into the piston.

The bad news is that if you do not maintain the engine parts related to your timing, you can very easily destroy your engine. The good news is that this is standard maintenance work that any mechanic will be familiar with. We’ll cover the few minor things you as a consumer need to know.

The Honda Civic engine and the Honda accord engine use higher quality timing components in any generation than the Kia Rio engine does. Both the belts and the actual components are higher quality for the Honda family.

The industry standard replacement interval for a timing belt is 5 years or 60,000 miles. Typically, a Honda Civic engine can get away with 100,000 miles, which the Honda Accord engine can get away with 12,000 miles. Keep in mind that you should replace at 60,000 miles though, since replacing a timing belt is incredibly inexpensive compared to replacing an engine.

Your Kia Rio engine should have the timing belt replaced at 55,000 miles. The engine itself is a good engine, whether you have the 1.5L or the 1.6L version, but the timing leaves much to be desired.

Any time you replace the timing belt on a vehicle with an interference engine, you will always want to replace the water pump at the same time. The reason for this is two fold.

First, and most importantly, the timing belt drives the water pump. If the water pump “locks up” then you will strip the teeth from the timing belt or snap the timing belt. At this point, your engine will go out of time, and destroy itself.

The second reason is that when replacing the timing belt on any of these engines, you’re already doing 75% of the work required to replace the water pump. You’ll save money replacing your timing belt and water pump simultaneously.

The Honda Accord engine is larger, more powerful, and better manufactured than either the Honda Civic engine or the Kia Rio engine. You could get by with not replacing the timing components in it when replacing the belt, but companies such as Gates have found component kits significantly reduce timing belt failures. The Honda Civic engine can also typically get by without a timing component failure.

When replacing the timing belt on your Kia Rio engine, you should always install a new timing component kit. Gates makes an excellent timing component kit, and taking advantage of it can prevent premature failure of your Kia Rio engine.

To summarize, all interference engines should have regular timing belt, timing component, and water pump replacement in addition to other standard maintenance. Following the manufacturer or industry recommended replacement intervals can add years of life to your vehicle, and prevent it from going to the junk yard for reasons that are 100% preventable.

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