really awful
Crashes / Fires:
13 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 2
Average Mileage:
59,421 miles

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« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #30

Apr 152015


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. While driving approximately 45 mph, the front passenger side air bag warning light remained illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who informed that the passenger side occupancy seat sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Suffern, NY, USA

problem #29

Apr 222014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Air bag sensor makes a working light stay on. The car has never been in an accident. When it was diagnosed by Kia dealership it said manufacturer failure. They said things happen and it's after 5 years so it's my job to fix this $2000 problem....updated 07-08-15 update (July 9, 2015): Per the complainant, the sensor under the passenger seat is causing a mechanical failure warning. Per a Kia parts advisor: "there is a passenger weight classification sensor that is part of the passenger seat bottom that is part of the air bag system. This is something that has failed in the past on these cars and we are familiar with it. Assuming that this is what you are asking for, the prices for this part range from $1000 to $1500 depending on the trim level and options for your car." The consumer stated in may, after a year of fighting with Kia and the vehicle failing inspection, Kia gave her free passenger seat to replace the defective sensor calling it an act of good will. They charged her $230 for labor when she was fist quoted $130. The seat cost $2,000. The sensor in the passenger seat had a defect error after the diagnostic test was performed, which was the reason the air bag light illuminated. Updated 07/16/15

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #28

Nov 152014


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. After the vehicle was started, the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Chester, CT, USA

problem #27

Nov 252014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 35 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated continuously. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 97,000. Updated 07/13/15

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #26

Jul 222014


  • 82,000 miles
The passenger airbag light was going off and on for about a month. Now the airbag warning light is on all the time and will not go off. I live in Texas and need to have the car inspected but it will not pass due to the airbag warning light being on. There is no reason that the airbag light should be on; there hasn't been any type of wreck or damage. The Kia dealership requires me to have the seat replaced due to faulty airbag sensor.there should be a recall of this vehicle due to the faulty sensor. I don't think it's right for Kia to not be responsible the faulty sensor that requires the entire passenger seat to be replaced that will cost almost $1800 dollars to fix just so I can get the car inspected so it can be driven.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #25

Mar 262014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 17,500 miles
A few months ago the passenger airbag light started flashing on my 2009 Spectra. It went from flashing on and off to alternating flashing with the airbag symbol on the dashboard. Finally, the passenger airbag light went off completely and the airbag warning symbol stayed on. Due to several family tragedies I just now had the time to take it to my Kia dealer. Was told it was the passenger side airbag sensor which is built into the seat itself and the whole seat would have to be replaced at a cost of $1765. I have only 18,450 miles on the car but because I had it longer than 5 years, I will have to pay it myself. The dealer said the car has a built in safety feature which will deploy the airbags anyway but that I should have it fixed. I can't afford this but am afraid my life insurance would not pay if I had an accident and had not had the airbag issue corrected.

- Altamahaw, NC, USA

problem #24

Jul 122014


  • 93,000 miles
We bought my daughter a 2009 Kia Spectra (used) for her 16th birthday in 2012. The mileage was at about 50,000. In just two years we have had to replace so many things on this car it is unbelievable, this car was junk when we bought it, we just didn't know it. This morning she told me that her airbag light came on for the first time and didn't know why. She had a passenger and still the light would not go out. Also the tps light has been on since we bought the car even with replacing the tires and rims it stayed on. Kia should definitely have a recall on this year, make and model. They are obviously a lemon and if Kia cares about their consumers they would do something about this problem. We are now looking to replace this Kia because we don't feel our daughter is safe after reading all of the complaints in this forum. Thanks Kia, we will never buy anything you make ever again.

- Livingston, TX, USA

problem #23

Jun 012014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
When turning on vehicle in the morning the air-bag warning light came on. Whenever a passenger sits in passenger seat the light does not light indicating that the passenger side air-bag is working. Upon having it checked it was determined that there is a faulty air-bag sensor for front passenger seat. Was also advised that this would mean no passenger side air-bag would deploy in a crash and it was possible that the air-bag could deploy at any time. Repairs would exceed $1,600 and not covered by manufacturer warranty or recall. Does someone need to die because of this before a recall is issued?

- Boardman, OH, USA

problem #22

Jun 122014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
The airbag warning light came on. Took the car to morrie's minnetonka Kia dealer. They diagnosed the ocr seat mat failed causing the airbag system to become inoperative. Quoted $1,941.02 for repair needing a replacement seat cushion assembly par KI88202-2F703390. The seat ocr failure should not disable the entire airbag system. This is a design flaw and with the very expensive fix I believe most are just driving the car without repair. I think Kia should recall or provide a part to disable the switch making the front passenger airbag inoperable. This would be much safer than disabling the entire airbag system. Not under 100,000 mile 10 year warranty. This seat was rarely used and is in perfect condition. Less than 10% of miles had anyone in the passenger seat.

- Crysal, MN, USA

problem #21

May 202014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
Air bag light came on. Took to dealer, folsom Kia in folsom ca. Was informed it was the passenger seat mat and it needed to be replaced. Part # 88202-2F7031931. Cost with discount approximately $1750. Informed this is a hazardous situation. Upon doing a search on the internet I have found quite a few complaints on this same issue. Those are from people who know about complaint forums. I suspect a flaw in the system. Since this is a safety situation, this should be investigated further.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #20

Mar 312014


  • 80,000 miles
My air bag light on my dashboard has been on for several weeks now. When I took my vehicle to be looked at they said that it would cost over a grand to repair it. They also said that if I don't repair it the air bags could deploy while driving or they may not even deploy if in an accident. I do not feel like my vehicle is safe to drive. I see a lot of people with this make and model having the same problems and that leads me to believe that it is an error on the manufactures part. I feel that a recall should be issued for this problem! if this does not get fixed I will never buy another Kia. Why would I buy a vehicle if I won't feel safe driving it?

- Union, MO, USA

problem #19

Jan 032013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The driver and passenger side airbag lights a staying on. I was told this could have them deploy while driving or not deploy at all if there in a accident. I have read many post about this issue with Kia's and there should be a recall on such safety components.

- Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #18

Feb 112014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 85,250 miles
While driving my car to work, I noticed the air bag warning light illuminate on the dashboard. As I continued to drive my car, the warning light disappeared and then reappeared. After several days with the same problem, I took my car to an authorized Kia dealership for diagnostic testing. The technician discovered it to be the passenger side seat occupant mat failure. The final diagnosis was to replace the entire passenger seat at a cost of $1,900 including parts, labor, and tax. After doing some research into this matter, I discovered this to be an ongoing problem with this year, make and model. I'm surprised this has not been a recall on behalf of Kia motor corporation. This leaves many people with a decision to replace the entire seat at an exorbitant price or to do nothing and drive an unsafe car. The price of one car seat is nearly half the value of the entire resale value of the car. Kia needs to address this issue if they want repeat customers in the future.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 152013


  • 95,000 miles
My daughter owns a 2009 Kia Spectra a friend getting in the rear seat tried to open the door and the outside handle broke-off. About 6 months later the front inside driver-side door handle stop working. About 1 year later on Jan-31-2014 the front out-side drivers-side handle broke-off. Now no way to with no way to open the drivers door, this is very dangerous. With three handles broken there must be a recall on these handle. If there is not a recall, there should be one. Other problems with this, cam-shaft sensor had to be replaced, also the air-bag light is on. This car is junk, Kia should be ashamed of building it and selling it for $16,000 to $17,000.

- Lanett, AL, USA

problem #16

Jan 282014


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated while driving 25 mph he was involved in a head on collision and the air bags did not deploy. There was a strong burning odor coming from the air bags. The vehicle was destroyed. Both the manufacture and the dealer have not been notified. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000 miles.

- Waynesville, NC, USA

problem #15

Oct 262013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 75,217 miles
Recently, in October 2013 at 75,217 miles, I had it serviced due to an airbag warning light on the console. The light was diagnosed as a problem with the passenger side seat occupant mat cushion. In other words, the passenger air bag sensor was faulty and needed to be replaced. I discovered that this is an extensive repair involving the replacement of the passenger seat itself. The cost of which was $1,717.11 for parts and labor. Both my mechanic and I were shocked that the seat itself cost $1,330.80 and was only manufactured by Kia, thus eliminating the option to shop around to seek the best price. My Spectra was outside warranty due to its mileage so the expense would fall to me. I've been surprised to learn that many other complaints have been filed noting this exact same safety problem, yet no recall was issued leaving many Spectra owners with the choice I had to make: Drive an unsafe vehicle or pay a very large repair bill.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 112013


  • 64,000 miles
I'm having problem with my passenger airbags. The airbag warning light on my dash will not go off and the on/off for the passenger airbag on the center console will no longer show if it is on or off, whether someone is sitting there or not. I took my car to a Kia dealership and they told me that Kia stops the warranty's on safety features at 60,000 miles. Then told me that I would have to purchase a new passenger seat for $1, 700 to fix the problem.

- Hinesville, GA, USA

problem #13

Feb 132013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electrical air bag system needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 80,000...updated 07-08-15 update (July 9, 2015): The light is illuminated at all times, regardless of the weight of the person sitting in the front. When the system worked, the light would turn off when someone sits in the passenger seat. At the end of 2012, however the light stayed on while driving one day. I immediately called the Kia car dealership to report the problem. I was told by the automative department that it meant that the air bag was no longer working and we should bring it in. When we brought the car in for repair, we were told the electrical system that operates the air bag was no longer working, however it was not an item under warranty and it would cost almost $2,000. The car was only 3 years old at the time.

- Corpus Christi , TX, USA

problem #12

Feb 232013


  • 78,000 miles
I was visiting my fiance in Utah when a tan car hit my driver's side front end. We both were put into a spin and he hit me a secondary time. My car has since been totaled out and labeled as beyond salvage. The entire front end is missing and there is sever engine damage. The auto body shop and my insurance company said I needed to contact Kia and let them know about the airbag failure to deploy. Kia said my car is built to collapse a certain amount before airbags will deploy. They also said since I was put into a spin my car did not decelerate fast enough to trigger the airbags, but since I had decelerated while spinning that's what prevented them from deploying upon the second impact. They only investigated my car via photographs and my verbal statement to them. They also told me this was not a problem in my car, but according to this website there are multiple airbag deployment failures with my make and model car. I asked Kia if they would put what they had concluded in writing and at first they said yes but now they are saying it will take a while. I am concerned.

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #11

Feb 012013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I own a Kia Spectra 2009 at the beginning of the month the airbag light on the dash came on and stays on. The airbag light that is in the center console for the passenger seat (which indicates if on/off) is not working at all. Called Kia and spoke with a representative and was told because of the mileage the warranty not cover this. Took it to the dealer and the cost of the seat replacement is going to $1637.31. By the looks of this it is an ongoing problem with certain models for Kia. I can not justify this amount for the passenger seat replacement. Was also told by the representative that it would be forwarded to a manager to see if any assistance could be offered for the replacement of the seat. In the state that I live in this vehicle will not pass state inspection.

- Plattsburgh, NY, USA

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