Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,395 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Kia Optima body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #12

Jan 052011


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 45 mph, the sub frame separated from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The mechanic stated the sub frame, tie rod, front tire and rim needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and a complaint was filed. The manufacturer also stated there was a recall (NHTSA campaign id number: 09V183000 component: Suspension: Front) but the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Corbin, KY, USA

problem #11

Aug 152010


  • 98,650 miles
I have a 2002 Kia Optima that the VIN is not one of the vehicles that is covered by your recall NHTSA campaign id number: 09V183000 which states "internal corrosion of the front subframe. Over time, such subframe corrosion near the connection to the lower control arm can lead to wheel misalignment and/or other noticeable stress in steering...". you have it listed as states with difficult winters and the use of road salt. I live in louisville, ky. Not one of the named states. But. I guarantee you that this same corrosion can be caused by the water coming from the air conditioner running directly onto these parts. The back side of subframe has rust holes in it. This recall needs to be expanded to any and all Kia Optimas that have the ac water running there due to manufacture design. I have pictures that I can send to you showing this corrosion. I tried to get it aligned at a Kia store and they said "lower control arm bracket on pass side is rusted and broken. Pass side wheel is pushed back and tires on front are angled." How was the 36,538 vehicles determined " was it from the state that the car was sold in "

- Crestwood, KY, USA

problem #10

Nov 272009


  • 123,353 miles
My son was driving our 2002 Kia Optima and wheel assembly fell off. The whole frame rusted from inside out causing the lower control arm to fall off.

- Bridgeton, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jul 222009


  • 67,040 miles


This is concerning my 2002 Kia Optima, and the subframe recall that was issued on this car.. the sub frame was replaced due to corrosion but the garage has done something wrong because the grinding noise that is coming from under this car is just ridiculous! I took the car back to the Kia dealer who removed the rusted sub frame and replaced it with the new, to find out why its making this horrid noise, oh yes they also forgot to put a bolt in. And still don't know why the part is grinding so. So then I called the Kia corporation to let them know that my car is not right and something is wrong. And they did nothing but put it on the computer I was not satisfied. Now I have to take this car to a body shop and pay for this to be repaired out of my pocket. I know there was no problem with this before and no noise going into the shop, I don't expect this to be going on now. I have taken this to 2 body shops one body shop wont touch it because it is a recall, the other will take a look and see, he thinks they broke something removing the subframe. In either case the car needs fixing of a part that was supposed to be covered under a recall! what ever is wrong was cause by this subframe.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #8

Apr 012009


  • 85,304 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that during a routine oil inspection a mechanic discovered corrosion on the frame. As a consequence the entire frame could collapse, which increased the risk of serious injury. He notified the manufacturer and was advised by a representative that the repair was a non-warranty item, therefore they would not assume responsibility. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 85,304. Updated 05/07/09.

- Marion, IN, USA

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problem #7

Jun 242009


  • miles
There was a safety recall on my 2002 Kia Optima regarding the subframe. The corrosion under my car is devastating. NHTSA needs to know that this corrosion problem is extensive and affects more then the subframe. Kia is insisting that I pay for the damage they will cause when they have to replace the subframe. This is a safety hazard that will affect thousands.

- El Dorado Hills, CA, USA

problem #6

May 042009


  • 91,400 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the subframe on the passenger side of his vehicle was very rusty. The vehicle is unable to be driven and the contact has no control of the steering because the A-arm was separated from the subframe. The dealer acknowledged the failures, but there are no recalls available. The failure mileage was 91,400. Updated 05/19/09 updated 05/20/09.

- Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #5

Apr 012009

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,304 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. While performing a routine oil change, the mechanic discovered that the cradle, or subframe, underneath the vehicle was rusting out. The mechanic stated that any major bump could cause the drivetrain to collapse and potentially cause dangerous driving conditions. He also stated that the entire frame could collapse and separate the engine compartment from the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that the frame would not be covered under warranty and they could not assist with the repairs. The failure and current mileages were 85,304. Updated 05/06/09. Updated 05/07/09.

- Marion, IN, USA

problem #4

Jan 232008


  • 89,000 miles
2002 Kia Optima sub frame is all rusted out dealer says total suspension is about to fail need to be replaced this is the only thing on the car that is rusted out.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #3

Jan 092009


  • 70,685 miles
Our 2002 Kia Optima experienced steering problems which I thought could be corrected with a basic front end alignment. Repair facility informed us that the vehicle could not be aligned because the sub-frame had rust damage. The sub-frame on the passenger side had a "golf size" hole in it and the welding joints were completely rotted through. The vehicle only had 70,000 miles and was always well maintained. Oil changes and inspections were performed at Kia dealerships and the defect was either not detected or never reported to us prior to the expiration of the warranty. The dealer and Kia motors were contacted about the issue; Kia did replace the sub-frame unit (est cost $1,500) but would not cover the cost for labor ($655). I believe a bigger problem exist with this defect and a recall should be considered to prevent injury to drivers. Reviewing previous complaints, this same defect has been reported on three VIN #'s.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #2

Aug 152008


  • 104,000 miles
2002 Kia Optima, we have only had the car less than 2 years and it has 2 fist size rust holes in frame one each side by A-arms, due to these defects tires wearing quickly and needs air continually to be put in them. Handling worsening and making thumping noise in front end, can not drive over 35-40 mph. Called Kia and they said they would not do anything about this problem. Read where Hyundai and Kia are made by same company and this has been a problem with the 1999 to 2002 models. Feel this is their responsibility to make right before something happens and there is an accident. Need information on who to contact and how to get this taken care of.

- Barnesville, OH, USA

problem #1

Jul 272007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Kia Optima sub frame is rusting out. Customer states that the dealer told her there was a spot on the sub frame where the control arm mounts to the engine cradle had rusted out and it looked as if it had been in an accident, and would not help with the repairs. The mechanic concluded that due to the design of the vehicle, the condensation from the air condition running down the frame is what caused the rust to occur. The speed sensor for the automatic transmission was replaced.

- Washington, PA, USA

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