A Kia That Doesn’t Start by Steve Oborne

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Kia ignition
Here you can see the guilty winding on the remote starter. Photo: Steve Oborne

For this article, I’d like to tell you about a 2008 Kia Spectra with start-up problems.

The customer’s initial complaint: when they try to start the vehicle, sometimes the engine has to make several revolutions before starting. In some situations, turning the ignition off and on again seems to help the engine start faster.

At first glance, I consider a fuel or crankshaft/camshaft sensor problem to be the cause. But, let’s start with a code reading to maybe get on a better track.

Two codes are present in connection with long starts: P1693 (Transponder no response error/invalid response) and P1696 (Authentication Fail). Right away, we can understand that the problem is related to the anti-theft system.

An unclear chart

I tackle the first code. I decide to read the whole chart because I really want to know where we want to go in the diagnosis. This first chart makes us check that the key used is indeed recognized by the vehicle. A very short and, in my opinion, very vague chart.

In summary, both codes mention that the car did not receive an OK from the anti-theft system to allow the vehicle to start. We are made to read the data during starting and the component connectors without forgetting that the key itself could be defective.

To eliminate this last possibility, I decide to try a second key, but unfortunately, the problem persists. Moreover, the problem seems so intermittent that it is difficult to know what to do to reproduce the non-booting situation. I decided to check if the transmitter/receiver of the ignition key is not damaged or if there is a loose connection.

The remote starter!

While disassembling it, I discover a possible source of the problem: a remote starter. And here I can easily see all the technicians reading this article rolling their eyes… As we all know, there have been rare occasions when remote starters have not been the cause of problems.

After removing the remote starter antenna from the anti-theft receiver, the problem completely disappeared. It was causing interference that prevented the chip in the key from being recognized.

I must admit that in this example, the experience gained over the years has helped a lot. Because not having considered this possibility of interference, the diagnostic chart would have made me change several parts unnecessarily. On that note, have fun diagnosing!

Steve Oborne, with his wife Jennifer Gilbert, are the owners of Atelier Oborne Service in Val-Joli. He has been immersed in mechanics since his childhood. [email protected]

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