Kia Picanto: Common Issues and how to fix them

Updated Jul 26, 2021 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Wear and tear is the Picanto’s enemy.

The Kia Picanto has been sold in the Philippines for quite some time now. The first model available locally was launched back in 2004, and since then it remains to be a fairly popular city car. So overall, major problems with the Philippine-spec Kia Picanto aren’t common nor prevalent.

A picture of the Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto

Do note though that age and wear will eventually get to a car despite its reputation for reliability. As such, here is a short guide to the Kia Picanto’s common issues and some ways on how to fix them.

Kia Picanto: Common Problems

To kick this guide off, a high-mileage Kia Picanto can have fuel pump problems. With that part not working properly, it may result in poor power, poor gas mileage, or a combination of both. In worst cases, a busted pump might also prevent the engine from starting.

To fix this, one must first locate the fuel pump. The said part is located in the fuel tank and can be accessed through a panel. To do that though, one must first remove the rear seats. Removing the pump itself however, isn’t easy. One must tear up the sealant holding the panel in place, block off the fuel supply line, and disconnect all of the other connections. The pump is held down by a plastic ring seal which one needs to unscrew. After that, simply pull the fuel pump up. Don’t forget to cover the gaping hole in the tank with something. Finally, reverse these steps to replace the fuel pump.

A picture of the Picanto's fuel pump

The Picanto's fuel pump. The black part is the plastic seal

Another cause of headaches in relation to a Kia Picanto is timing chain problems. Sure, this part is more robust than a timing belt, but do note that it can also deteriorate over time.

Common symptoms of a timing chain issue with the Picanto can be detected by hearing weird noises, a decrease in performance, or the car won’t even start at all. Also, it may or may not activate the check engine light.

As mentioned, the chain itself is a pretty tough part. So, one also must check for issues in other related parts like the tensioner. This keeps the chain taut and able to turn the necessary parts, and it does have its own issues. Regardless of whether it’s the timing chain, pulley or tensioner though, we encourage Picanto owners to have this checked and repaired by a competent mechanic. Also, timing chains are typically replaced when your odometer reads 80,000 km to 100,000 km. As such, problems occurring before those aforementioned mileage points might still be covered under your car’s warranty.

A picture of the Picanto's timing chain

A closer look at the Picanto's timing chain

Moving on to Kia Picanto automatic gearbox problems, be glad to know that these are uncommon. Just remember to replace its automatic transmission (AT) oil or fluid as indicated on the car’s manual. Also, it’s a good idea to periodically check AT oil levels. Having low oil might result in gear slipping, which consequently results in poor performance.

As for the Picanto manual variant though, hearing grinding noises might mean that it could need a new clutch. To fix this, we also recommend taking the car to a mechanic. Sure, the Picanto is small, but replacing a clutch disc still involves going under the car and opening the bulky transmission assembly.

A picture of the Picanto's engine bay

Note that the Picanto for the Philippine market has two engine options and each have different maintenance requirements

To conclude, the Kia Picanto is a fairly reliable city car. Like any car however, problems will occur as it ages. To this end, watch its odometer like a hawk, regularly check its fluids, and follow the recommended maintenance schedule religiously.

For more car news, car reviews, and car maintenance tips, keep it here on

Know more about Kia Picanto 2024

Kia Picanto

The Picanto is a city car model sold by Kia Philippines. There are is one for this model, the Picanto EX MT. Prices for this Kia Picanto 2023 trim currently stands at Php 700,000.

In the Philippines, the Kia Picanto uses a 1.2-liter engine that can produce up to 83 horsepower and 122 Nm of torque. It is then paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. 

Size-wise, the Picanto is 3,595mm long, 1,595mm wide, and 1,495mm in height. It also has a wheelbase length of 2,400mm. 

Locally, the Kia Picanto competes against the likes of the Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Brio, Suzuki S-Presso, and Chevrolet Spark. 

₱ 700,000

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel


Cesar Guiderone B. Miguel was born and raised in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a freelance writer for various websites, as a member of the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management's training staff, and as a medical sales representative.


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