The Holy Grail: Honest car mechanic in LA?
August 28, 2006 11:39 AM   Subscribe

2001 Kia Sephia with intermittent starting problems.

My AAA recommended mechanic can't find any reason why my car will occasionally refuse to start. We've replaced the battery, had him keep the car for a weekend and he couldn't duplicate the problem. He finally decided that I 'must be leaving something on and running down the battery.' I find that answer... inadequate at best, condescending at worst.

Long story short: I'm looking for a reliable mechanic in Los Angeles who (hopefully) specializes in electrical problems, and (ideally) won't go all head-patty when dealing with a woman. Any help?
posted by Space Kitty to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (13 answers total)
He finally decided that I 'must be leaving something on and running down the battery.' I find that answer... inadequate at best, condescending at worst.

Electrical drains can be notoriously hard to fine. My wife had a volvo station wagon with one that could never be tracked down, that would drain a full battery in a few days. It does strike me as a little weird that he wouldn't tell you this.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:48 AM on August 28, 2006

hard to find.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:49 AM on August 28, 2006

How about an actual Kia dealer?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:54 AM on August 28, 2006

Click and Clack's Mechan-X-Files might be a good place to start. It lets Web site visitors ( discuss and rate mechanics sorted by location.

But yeah, you might want to take this one to the dealer...
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:02 PM on August 28, 2006

do you get a weird hard start -- ie, you can't start, the dash lights go on, and then if you give it a little gas or pump the pedal a couple of times it seems to get going? We're having this problem with my girlfriend's 99 Kia Sephia, and my guess is that it has more to do with fuel delivery than the electrical.

That said, I hope you find a good mechanic, because you'll be seeing him a lot. From what I've seen of this car, Kias are absolutely pieces of shit.
posted by fishfucker at 12:18 PM on August 28, 2006

Shit, fishfucker - that sounds all too familiar. *sigh*
posted by Space Kitty at 12:46 PM on August 28, 2006

hmm, I just thought of something else -- our belts are about ready to go, which means the battery might have a net drain on it while we're driving; additionally, we have a third party stereo which may be sucking more juice than it should be.

Maybe cop a feel on your belts and see if they're worn down or frayed -- if so, you probably need to get them replaced anyways; this, I'm guessing, is gonna be cheaper than sending a mechanic through the car to look for an electrical short and might just fix your problem.

but yeah, with the fuel thing I was thinking a clog or something. FWIW, I haven't seen it happen recently -- my girlfriend has been known for letting the gas get to the absolute lowest point before refilling -- something I've been trying to avoid lately, so that might have been a cause as well.
posted by fishfucker at 12:57 PM on August 28, 2006

belts, if they're the same as the 99, would be on the passenger side of the engine. There'll be two of them.
posted by fishfucker at 12:59 PM on August 28, 2006

Just had the 60,000 mile tune up, so the belts are new. Thanks everybody so far for your answers - of course this would happen when I'm set to give this car to my daughter for her birthday....
posted by Space Kitty at 2:08 PM on August 28, 2006

I too have a 2001 Kia Sephia that sometimes does this!

The first two times we had it towed to the dealer. They couldn't find anything and said that we were draining the battery or making it up.

Please let me know if you find the cause, as I am VERY interested in making it stop.

Somewhat off topic: does your Kia make a whistling noise from somewhere (that sounds like it is) near the front wheels if you go above 75? Ours also does this, which the dealer also insists I'm making up.
posted by Sheppagus at 2:36 PM on August 28, 2006


Shappagus, I always thought the whistling noise came from the a/c vents. I haven't thought about that in ages.

I'll be trying one of the mechanics recommended from the car talk forums, and keep you all posted. Sounds like we could use a support group.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:45 PM on August 28, 2006

Has a mechanic scanned it for diagnostic codes ? It could be an intermittent crank sensor.
posted by rfs at 7:56 PM on August 28, 2006

If you've been running the tank near empty often, you could have sucked some crap into the fuel line. 60000 isn't entirely too soon to have rust and crap in the tank, and a 99 can definitely have this. A fuel filter only costs about $10 at a hardware store, and is easy to replace, if you can get to it.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:05 PM on August 28, 2006

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