really awful
Crashes / Fires:
10 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,691 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Kia Spectra:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #10

Jun 192015


  • 195,000 miles
A front tie rod broke, something in the steering column broke, and the air bag indicator lit up but no air bags deployed. The two front tires were not pointing in the same direction. I had it towed to a mechanic, and they said that the steering column issue likely caused a disconnect in a circuit, which can prevent all air bags from deploying.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #9

Nov 282008


  • miles
On Friday November 28, 2008 at 4:45pm, I was driving on state highway 58 by jenkins and rosedale highway in bakersfield, ca. I was going approximately 50 mph and was approximately 50 yards from the vehicle in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes due to the car in front of my braking automatically, my brakes locked up and I was in a front end crash. Not only did my brakes lock up, but my duel sided air bags in my 2002 Kia Spectra which I have only owned for four months did not deploy. Luckily no one was badly injured but due to this incident my muscles are badly sore and bruised. The whole front end of my vehicle is destroyed and most importantly my headlights which are required by law to have, are shattered.

- Taft, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 152008

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
1. my son was driving my car on us 280 in Alabama just South of birmingham when he was involved in an accident with another automobile. According to the police report he was traveling at 45 mph when he impacted the rear of another car. 2. as a result of the impact he was thrown forward and his head struck the windshield. He suffered a mild concussion and cuts an bruises. The automobile has factory installed air bags for both the driver and passenger. Neither air bag deployed. 3. state farm (the insurer) wrote the car off as a total loss. I sent photos of the car to Kia corporate in irvin, ca. Their comment was that the airbags should not deploy in and accident of this nature. No one looked at the car to determine what failed in the system.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #7

Mar 052008

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Spectra. While driving 35 mph, the contact's daughter rear-ended another vehicle. She sustained minor injuries, but the vehicle was destroyed. The air bags failed to deploy. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, but they could not explain the failure. The current and failure mileages were 75,000.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #6

Nov 152004

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,102 miles
The consumer's vehicle was struck from the rear at 65 mph, causing it to strike another vehicle. Upon impact, both the passenger and driver seats broke, and the air bags did not deploy. The vehicle was totaled.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #5

Dec 122003

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 12 miles
While driving 30 to 40 mph vehicle was in involved in a crash, and air bags failed to deploy. Seat belt over the left shoulder released and failed to hold up as well. Consumer suffered large laceration across left eye.

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 082003


  • miles
Vehicle was traveling at 45 mph when it was involved in a collision with a truck. Vehicle was totaled, and air bags did not deploy. Dealer notified.

- Union City, GA, USA

problem #3

May 132003


  • 1,800 miles
While driving 55 mph another vehicle pulled in front of the consumer and caused the consumer to hit the other vehicle head on. None of the vehicles airbags deployed.

- Grand Junction, CO, USA

problem #2

Nov 192002


  • miles
Hit guard rail head on at 50 mph and air bags failed to deploy.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #1

Dec 062002


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
While making a left turn the vehicle was hit on the drivers side at 17mph. Upon impact airbags failed to deploy. Dealer has been notified.

- Keenesburg, CO, USA