really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
102,750 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

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problem #4

Jul 152015


  • 167,000 miles
We own a 2002 Kia Optima- found out there was a recall- the recall was corrision to the subframe that could lead to problems with the control arm. I was told that the car was inspected in 2010 and the recall was taken care of at that time. We bought the car from a private owner in 2014. 2015 went to get new tires on the car and discount tire told us that they couldn't do an alignment because there is an issue with the control arm. We found out to repair the control are it would be over $500. When I called the Kia hotline to inquire about the recall, I was told that we would need to take the car to a Kia dealership to have the car reviewed by their service men to see if there is any issues with the subframe and control arm. I'm concerned my concern is not going to get adressed. 7/11/2016

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #3

Oct 312012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
The vehicle was driven and at one point there was a noticeable difference in steering and the car pulled to the right. Within a few days of this event, the brand new tires that were purchased just a few months earlier, wore from the inner edge to about 1/3 of the width of the tire, exposing the belts. This caused one tire to pop, while the car was being driven. A spare was placed on the vehicle to get it to a tire repair location and after approximately 30 miles of driving, the spare lost all tread and also popped. The vehicle was then towed to the tire repair shop and the rusted and broken subframe was detected. The area was so rusted that portions of the frame broke and the tires were no longer running straight. I called Kia and they told me although there are recalls for this very problem on Kia Optimas from 2001 to 2004, my car was not in the recall because I live in Kansas. The recall does apply to Kia in Missouri, which is 15 minutes from where I live. The Kansas City area is both Missouri and Kansas and the area where I live. The rusting is attributed to salt used during inclement weather in Missouri and not only is the same salt used in Kansas, but I also drive in Missouri. The Kia representative still refused to recognize that my vehicle should be part of the recall even though the exact same issue that caused other Kia Optimas to be recalled has happened to my vehicle. The recall needs to be extended to Kansas because we deal with the same elements as Missouri and Iowa which are included in the recall. My son was driving this vehicle when the damage occurred and he could have suffered serious injury if he had been on the highway instead of a side street.

- Merriam, KS, USA

problem #2

Feb 132012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
My 2002 Kia Optima, veered of the side of the interstate due to a flat tire. The tires had been replaced that morning and within 130 miles on the highway the right front tire popped. As I took a closer look I noticed my wheel was slanted in. I then had it towed to the nearest repair shop who informed me the engine cradle was rusted and corroded. When I contacted Kia about the issue they basically said sorry about your luck. There is a recall for this problem but my VIN is not included. No action has been taken by Kia in any of my attempts to have them resolve this problem. I am, and have been, stranded out of town for 3 weeks now waiting on them to make some kind of decision. They have overlooked every word I have said to them about the salt in my location and the cars previous locations which causes such corrosion to a poorly make vehicle. The car originates from southern California where salt is presently in the air. It then was registered in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, both having harsh snowy winters. The car clearly has been exposed to enough salt to have been included in the recall. This is Kia's responsibility, yet they are doing nothing about it. When I crashed my car into the ditch on the side of the highway, my life was put at risk. There very easily could have been a car to my left or right or a pole in that ditch. Kia should have fixed this problem in all Optima's put out during the year of the recall. It is a serious danger to any unaware driver of a 2001-2004 Kia Optima. Legal action needs to be taken against Kia.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #1

Jun 242009


  • miles
There was a safety recall on my 2002 Kia Optima regarding the subframe. The corrosion under my car is devastating. NHTSA needs to know that this corrosion problem is extensive and affects more then the subframe. Kia is insisting that I pay for the damage they will cause when they have to replace the subframe. This is a safety hazard that will affect thousands.

- El Dorado Hills, CA, USA