pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
95,700 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace engine (5 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
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problem #6

Jan 052020

Optima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,433 miles

My son's car. I was driving it for the first time. His driving style uses the brake pedal a lot, mine almost never.

Update from Jan 6, 2020: The initial dealer's estimate was a new engine needed, no warranty, and would cost $7500 or so. Hoping to arrange for Kia Motors America to cover all or most of the repairs under good faith or workmanship principles.

- Bob V., Bensalem, PA, US

problem #5

Jul 192018

Optima Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Where do I start? July 2018 ... My 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid suddenly came to a complete stop while driving uphill on a major intersection in Orange. The Hybrid system failure warning light notifying me to get to a safe part of the road and exit the vehicle popped up on my screen and would not start up again . I had my car towed to Kia of Orange and began the diagnosis process.

LET ME REPEAT the hybrid system warning light states to "safely stop and do not drive the vehicle". Why does a car that is supposed to be a SAFE vehicle suddenly STOP WHILE DRIVING AND JUST STOP WORKING? PULL OVER TO SAFETY? HOW? THE CAR WOULD NOT START! Thankfully my boyfriend and I were able to move IT in Neutral OURSELVES before calling a tow truck.

The first call I received was from the service department and I was told that I would need a new battery and that It was covered under warranty. A day goes by and I receive a second call, this time stating that my car is not covered under warranty and that my vehicle will now need a brand new engine because their is a sludge buildup inside of it.

Now I'm still trying to figure out why I was made to feel the major engine replacement my car needs is due to "Lack of maintenance from my end". A car with 86,000 miles SHOULD NOT need a new $10,000.00 engine replacement and it certainly should not be a fault of the customer. KIA had made a vehicle, that has a warning light for this engine issue and its my fault? My safety was jeopardized and it was because of me?

So I was told if I wanted KiA to cover the cost the only way was to provide records of my upkeep on the car, which I did in detail and I was then told that "my warranty was never any good, being that I am the subsequent owner and my 60,000 miles was up and because I didn't buy my car from a dealer I bought it through Enterprise. WHAT!? I simply stated that in the warranty book it says that it's a 120,000 miles or 10 years for every hybrid owner . I was told it didn't matter my warranty was never any good I should have bought it certified pre owned.

So I'm still trying to wrap my head around why my hybrid warranty is not good ...is it because I'm the second owner? I didn't buy it certified pre owned? My records were not enough to prove I was not the reason for my hybrid system failure ?

It is now JANUARY OF 2019 and I have had my car towed from that horrible dealership (my car had a flat when I went and got it too) where it still sits at another Kia dealership to this day. KIA of Irvine (although their employees are much nicer than Orange) they have not fixed my car or really much of anything. I have made countless phone calls to make consumer complaints about issues with their dealerships not abiding by their warranty and the lack of concern for the overall picture here which is:

KIA MAKES A VEHICLE THAT HAS A WARNING LIGHT THAT STATES "safely stop and do not drive the vehicle". Why does a car that is supposed to be a SAFE vehicle suddenly STOP WHILE DRIVING AND JUST STOP WORKING? PULL OVER TO SAFETY? HOW? THE CAR AT THAT POINT WILL NOT START!

I did not purchase a 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid so that I would feel UNSAFE DRIVING in it. I am very lucky that I was able to have it pushed to "safety" and not get in an accident or catch on fire like the other people who own a Kia optima or optima hybrid.

This is just a summary of my interactions with Kia Corporate, Kia of Orange and Kia of Irvine.

I was never given a rental car and I recently relocated and my car still sits today untouched by KIA of Irvine.

The recalls on my vehicle are left unfixed. The final Diagnosis of the car: at 86,000 miles my hybrid system FAILED and because of this I need $12,000.00 of work and replacements to get it up and running.

Since I'm not covered under any circumstances in KIAS eyes I have no car and have no other choice than to inform people who are even thinking of getting a Kia, of my situation.

I now have to hire an attorney to make sure I get the work done on my car that I am entitled to and compensation for the rental car I had for over three months, regardless of where I bought the car.

I want to feel SAFE in the car I'm driving and I don't think I can feel safe in a KIA or feel like I'm being treated like my safety matters to the people at Kia who make or fix these cars.

If they don't care why would they build a car safe enough to drive, and not suddenly die in the middle of an intersection?

- Brittany M., Orange, CA, US

problem #4

Nov 242017

Optima Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I have a 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid that without warning the engine just froze last November 2017. We had it towed directly to the Kia Dealership in Manteca. They called Kia Corporate to report the issue and get approval to tear down the engine and locate the issue. Kia Corporate denied their request. Corporate then said we didn't have good enough maintenance records and denied our claim. Without even looking at the car they stated their reason for denial was sludge in the engine. When I asked the corporate rep who was working on my case where did they find sludge? They stated when they pulled the engine apart. I said oh really when was that done and where. They couldn't tell me. I then asked for them to fax me this report. They didn't have one to fax. I told them because it was never done! No one has touched my car it's just sitting in a Kia dealership parking lot because corporate has denied their multiple requests. Let me also say that I had bought the top top warranty plan.

To date 10/11/18 my car still sits at the KIA dealership. I have personally had to buy a rebuilt engine that surprisingly failed too. Car never left the lot and the new engine had to be returned as well. There are about 5 other Kia Optimas sitting at this dealership waiting for the same engine. Surprisingly not there;s a shortage of these engines. Every time one comes in the new engine is so bad it has to be returned again. I called Kia Corporate again today to get an answer on when an engine is coming in for my car. We have been paying $350.00 a month on a car we can't drive. When they found the part number and opened to view the status it was empty. Go figure. Now I'm being told someone will call me in a few days with an update.

I have lost so much money not having a car and having to replace an engine that should have been covered by Kia. They also tried to say that the hybrids aren't involved in the recall. REALLY? It's the same engine if it wasn't there wouldn't be a shortage. When the mechanic pulled out the old engine to put in the rebuilt one he stated the engine did not have sludge and was very clean. The engine design itself was faulty. Kia knows these are bad engines and they are trying to conceal how big this problem really is. Please make sure the Kia Hybrid 2012 engines are involved in this class action suit. There are many of us out here needing help fighting this terrible corporation.

Update from Aug 1, 2019: 3/12/19: Kia was finally able to provide a rebuilt engine. To finally get the car fixed I had to pay another $2,800 dollars honestly another slap in the face by this company. Sixteen months without a car and still having to pay the monthly payments, rental cars, insurance, registration fees. I heard there's a class action lawsuit. If this is true I would love to join. Kia now wants to offer me a small and I mean small Goodwill reimbursement only if I sign an agreement. 1 part of me wants to and just move on. The other part wants to stand up to their wrong doing to so many of us. I do know one thing for sure. I will never buy a Kia product again!!!

- stroup, Manteca, US

problem #3

Sep 072018

Optima Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,583 miles

Daughter was out of state driving the car and then said it sounded really weird. She took it to the an auto store and they said there was a recall with the engine. She immediately took it to a KIA dealer. Warranty dept said we had to prove we changed the oil. I had many records, but too long gaps of recorded changes. I know that is when my husband drove it and changed the oil himself. When I drove it, I took to dealer or drive through oil change place. Never would I thought we had to save receipts of when he changed the oil at home. KIA says we did not maintain it. Ironically, the gaps of non recorded oil change were in years 4-5 of having the car. It is recorded before and after that of regular oil changes. If it was due to lack of maintenance, wouldn't the problem have been during years of 2014 and 2015 when I don't have the receipts, and not now? Not happy at all.

- mmarie, Ashland, US

problem #2

May 222018

Optima Hybrid 3.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

click to see larger images

engine died

I took the car to Carson Kia and Jose told me that the engine locked up. I asked why. He said that they did not and but they would call Kia in Korea. The next day Jose said that it is the engine and that it is not under warranty. He also said that Kia would give my $1,000.00 towards repairing the car. (FUNNY, IF THEY ARE NOT AT FAULT, WHY GIVE THE MONEY). Jose said that it would cost around $8000.00. I asked for the breakdown. he said $6450 for parts and $1650 for labor that they would wave. I said thank you and I am a wholesaler. My license is in your system so how much would the parts cost me. He stutter and said O let me look that up for you. He called me back and said he made a mistake. He said that he left off the price for the head so the parts by itself would be $9000.00. I asked him to send it in writing. This is what he sent.


I am not sure what is going on but something is not right.

- feliciafk, Los Angeles, US

problem #1

Sep 072017

Optima Hybrid EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,147 miles

cars main bearing went and needs a new short-block

Two months ago I received a recall letter and went to the dealer, they then stated my car is a hybrid and was not part of the engine recall. My car has all up to date service records and had a similar to exact issue as these recalled vehicles. Kia will not cover the vehicle as I am the second owner and it has over 60K. To have an engine blow with 69k is just beyond ridiculous.

- Joseph C., Coral Springs, US