The Kia Optima is popular for its responsive handling and impressive ride quality. Whether you’re planning to buy a new or used Kia Optima, it’s definitely worth the price. Keep in mind the common faults of the Kia Optima , when deciding to buy a car.
It is a reliable car that will not cost you much to maintain. It also has good resale value. It depreciates around 52% after five years.
How good is the Kia Optima?
The Kia Optima scored well for reliability, receiving a 4 out of 5 rating in surveys. It also ranked eighth out of 24 vehicles in the same category. The Optima is a good choice for new and used car buyers due to its practicality and competent handling.
If you take good care of your Kia Optima, it can easily exceed 100,000 miles. If you follow its regular maintenance and service schedule correctly, it can last up to 200,000 miles.
Common failures of the Kia Optima
Despite its reliability, different model years of the Kia Optima are notorious for having their fair share of issues. Here are the common Kia Optima failures reported so far:
1. Streaming Software Issues
2001-2017 Kia Optimas may experience transmission issues due to their outdated Transmission Control Module (TCM). Affected vehicles may jerk and lurch when downshifting . They can start to act around 67,000 miles which can trigger your check engine light.
Kia has released a software update to fix the issues related to the TCM. It is also advisable to consult a mechanic, because transmission problems can also be caused by component failure, which can be common in high mileage vehicles. If your Optima receives any major transmission repairs, you should also update the software to avoid recurring problems.
2. Faults with the Throttle Position Switch (TPS)
A common problem among 2001-2017 Kia Optimas is their faulty TPS, which can cause misfiring and loss of power. Your first symptom is an illuminated check engine light . Other symptoms are engine hesitation and stumbling.
Some owners have shared that their cars eventually shut down after driving at low speeds caused by poor acceleration. This usually happens around 107,000 miles. Repair costs may vary, depending on part replacement rates. Kia is aware of this problem and has released an improved version of the TPS on it to solve this problem.
3. Drawbacks of door latch malfunction
Door problems are common on Kia Optimas. They are usually caused by a faulty door latch assembly. This issue affects a wide range of model years, including 2001-2015 Optimas . Some owners have reported that the door latch does not open from the inside and outside of their car.
The door latch assembly may appear to be frozen and not engage at all. This problem can occur around 102,000 miles, affecting the driver’s side door. A door latch replacement can easily fix this and can cost around $100 depending on various parts and labor rates.
4. Alternator problems
2001-2015 Kia Optimas have weak alternators, which can cause insufficient battery charging capacity and starting problems. This can happen after using your Optima’s electrical devices , such as lights and air conditioning.
Some owners have shared that they had to regularly jump start their batteries because they died frequently. Some changed batteries but ended up experiencing the same problem again. Fortunately, Kia is aware of the faulty alternator on it and has released a new one to fix this problem. You can purchase and install the upgraded alternator to solve this problem.
5. Low pressure fuel hose failures
One of the most annoying 2013-2014 Kia Optima problems is inadequate pressure from your fuel hose, which can develop cracks and leaks. Fuel leaks can increase the risk of vehicle fires , so Kia issued a recall for affected vehicles.
Kia said the low-pressure fuel hose will be inspected to see if it requires replacement. If not, it will be reinforced with heat shielding tape to keep it intact. Kia will make all necessary repairs free of charge as long as your Optima is covered by the recall.
6. Engine breakdowns and failures
Kia Optima engine problems are well known. The 2011-2014 Kia Optima is reported to have a serious engine manufacturing problem, which can cause its bearings to wear out prematurely. This can trigger uncontrollable engine seizure, which can increase the risk of crashes or collisions.
A recall was issued in 2017 to assist owners of affected Optima units. If your vehicle is included in the recall, Kia will contact you and replace the engine assembly free of charge.
The 2013 Kia Optima is also notorious for starting problems. Some owners have shared that their engines suddenly won’t start at all. This can be extremely annoying, especially if your engine kicks in when you need to drive to an important destination.
Some have shared that they went to their dealerships where diagnostic tests were run, but the results showed their engines were fine. There is no clear cause of engine problems, but some owners have been able to resolve them with a parking sensor or battery replacement.
The 2013 model can also develop loud knocking noises, which can lead to a blown engine . Some owners have shared that they had to stop after hearing abnormal knocking noises.
After a while, the motor stopped working. Some have reported having to change the engine to fix the problem, which can cost up to $5,000, depending on parts and labor costs. If you’re experiencing engine problems with your Kia Optima, you’re definitely not the only one.
7. Management problems
One of the most reported problems with the 2012 Kia Optima is its stiff steering, which comes with abnormal noises and other complications. Some owners have shared that they experienced a variety of steering issues, including difficult steering, loud noises during sharp turns, sudden loss of steering assist, and excessive steering wheel vibrations.
Some have complained that the 2012 Kia Optima’s loss of steering control can become extreme , making it dangerous to drive on the highway. Some drivers have shared that they had to exert extra effort to grip the steering wheel to maintain control of their vehicle. Some tried to fix it, but ended up having to replace multiple parts each time.
Before you buy a Kia Optima, take the time to learn about potential problems. Buying a car always carries some risk, regardless of the year, make or model you want to buy. Research the model year you’re interested in, and be sure to clarify everything with the seller before you decide.