really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,066 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

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problem #12

Jul 072018


  • 122,000 miles
Headlights replaced 6 times.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #11

Oct 022015


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owned a 2009 Kia Optima. While driving 35 mph, another motorist notified the contact that the undercarriage of the vehicle was on fire. The contact coasted to the side of the road and noticed smoke and flames under the hood of the vehicle. The fire department extinguished the fire. A police report was filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was towed to a tow lot. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Atlantic Beach, FL, USA

problem #10

May 062013


  • miles
The light has been on since the middle of 2013 and the dealership when asked during each oil change is we will check it out. Ever since I have purchased this vehicle there has been problems with this vehicle.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #9

Mar 192014


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while shifting the vehicle into the park position, the key remained stuck in the ignition switch while attempting to turn the vehicle off. The failure was persistent. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 96,000.

- Alkol, WV, USA

problem #8

Jun 012013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
After a battery replacement, the battery sparked when the car first turned on, but the car immediately turned on. From that point forward we had the check engine light on, the brake light on and two other lights on the dash on constantly. We took it in and spent $4000+ on oil changes, front end replacement and several other items that took almost a month and a master mechanic from Kia to find out that the problem was a wiring harness issue. We were told that we had been in an accident and that because of that it wasn't going to get replaced under warranty. The car was never in an accident, and the wiring harness still shows four lights on the dash. If a simple battery replacement can cause the wiring harness to fry there must be a problem, and I don't think it's the battery.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #7

Jul 012013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Kia Optima ignition switch issues, steering wheel locked and couldn't turn car on and wheels locked. Had to have ignition switch replaced. I was told this is a safety feature of the ignition switch so someone can not steal the car. They also said if the ignition switch locked while I was driving the car the front wheels could have locked causing a possible accident. I went on the internet to see if this has happened to anyone else and to my surprise there were many that had the same problem with the ignition switch. I also looked to see if there was a recall on the ignition switch and I couldn't find any at the time.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #6

Aug 232013


  • 70,100 miles
The battery died in my 2009 Kia Optima and upon replacing battery the airbag light came on. It was taken to a Kia dealership and was told that it was because we changed the battery. The airbag light was reset. About a week later it came on again and was taken back to the dealership and reset again. It came back on the next day and was again taken to the dealership at what time we were told that it was the B1382 & B1481 airbag problems and that it was going to cost over $1200 to fix. Why would changing the battery cause these problems? I had only purchased the car 18 months before this incident.

- Strasburg, VA, USA

problem #5

Nov 222013

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
Per NHTSA recall number 13V114 I took my 2009 Kia Optima to koons Kia in woodbridge on 11/21/2013 to replace my vehicle's stop lamp switch. The next day I noticed that after applying the brakes for the first time the brake lights are continuously illuminated and remain illuminated after I have shut down the engine and the ignition switch is in the off position. Another problem is that the electronic stability control (ESC) light intermittently comes on. Both of the above problems arose after the 11/21/2013 stop lamp switch replacement.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #4

Apr 102012


  • 46,810 miles
The vehicle lurches when slowing down between 2nd gear and 1st gear. The lurch is strong enough to jerk passengers forward in their seats. I took it to the dealership in stamford, ct on April 27, 2012. They replaced the stop lamp switch. The fix lasted until 63,000 miles, almost 9 months later. It is happening again. I took it back to the dealership in plano, tx. They said it was a computer upgrade issue. The upgrade did not fix the problem. Kia is now telling me there is no refund, no fix, and that I'm not part of the recall for this same part on later year models.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #3

Jan 302013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
After returning from work and parking my vehicle at home, the car sat in my driveway in 40 degree weather for approximately 12 hrs. I woke up the next morning and found my car on fire and is a total loss. The police and fire department were called and dispatched to my home. The fire department extinguished the fire and determined it was probably an electrical fire. There is no remote starter installed or any other accessories installed in the vehicle after purchase. The fire started in the engine compartment and started spontaneously, perhaps due to a manufacturer defect in the electrical system. I was about an hour away from leaving with this car to return to my office and I am concerned it could of started while I was in it, perhaps causing injuries or death. I am also concerned that if this could happen to me, that there are other vehicles with the same faulty electrical system and it could happen to someone else. I believe Kia has a hidden manufacturing defect as was described in my incident, and its very possible it exists on other Kia vehicles. Please take my concerns seriously and I think Kia needs to look into this matter asap. Although the car is damaged beyond repair, I welcome and encourage Kia to take the vehicle back to assure it doesn't happen again to anyone else. Updated 03/12/13

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #2

Mar 212011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 18,970 miles
The first signs of any trouble with the vehicle started in February/March of 2011 when the shifting on the vehicle was erratic on takeoff and especially bad when the vehicle was slowing down, roughly shifting in and out of gear. It took two occasions to "fix" the issue even though a few weeks later the shifting appeared to subside it still had the occasional issue on take-off. The issue progressively got to the point when I lost total engine power while crossing lanes of traffic, almost getting hit. I stepped on the accelerator but no matter what I did I could not get the vehicles RPM??S above 1500 (about 5mph). Took it to the dealership where they stated they "fixed the problem". returned to driving the vehicle until my wife had the same issue happen to her about 9 days later coming within inches of getting hit while turning into a business. Took the vehicle back again and was told it was "fixed" two days later. Started it up the day after it was returned and had the loss of power issue again. Beside the power loss even the shifting continued to be rough and erratic. Returned it yet again to the dealership and was told it was fixed. Customer service did not take my safety concerns seriously. I am still unsure of the status of the vehicle and I am very concerned about the safety of this vehicle. I will find other means of transportation until this vehicle is returned. Beware that the power loss can happen at any time creating very serious driving conditions that could lead to accident or injury.

- Williamstown, NY, USA

problem #1

Jun 102010

Optima 4-cyl

  • 914 miles
My concern involves illumination of the instrument panel. When driving on a bright day, the panel illumination is so dim that the odometer cannot be seen without moving my head almost next to the steering wheel. The speedometer, and other gauges, are also dimly illuminated. At night and on overcast days, the problem is less severe.

- North St. Paul, MN, USA