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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,230 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #8

Aug 202016

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles


My 16 year old just purchased a 2002 Kia Optima sedan on Saturday 8/20/2016 from a used car dealership. Very first car, his own earned savings. Upon finalizing the paperwork, we literally walked out the door & immediately were unable to unlock his driver's door with the key fob. The car was stationary, not running, parked in all instances in regards to this complaint. Coincidentally, it worked perfect for our test drive. I do also have signed documentation stating the car lot does nothing to the car electronically, mechanically or otherwise as well if needed. I was hopeful it was the key fob battery, but it's been replaced & still not working. We've had the same issue with all the locks since & no success to unlock when needed. He uses the driver's side the vast majority of the time, but all without warning will not lock or unlock with no rhyme or reason. He's had to crawl over from the passenger side to get in every time. My nightmare as any parents is god forbid a fire start or he accidentally goes into a body of water & is trapped. I realize it's an older car bought used, but I see there are dozens of complaints about the locks, not just on your site. Even a class action lawsuit that was mysteriously "voluntarily dismissed" by the plaintiff in 2015. Case no. [xxx] from what I can see. Where is the recall" what does it take to have one issued? we don't have the financial capability to pay for a manufacturer defect that is already been uncovered yet amazingly no one is required to repair? nor do I feel we should have to. Another point to note is every single VIN # I've seen complaints on this site, are in very close numerical succession with ours. I have to say it seems very unlikely it's sheer coincidence. I understand companies need to guard their "bottom line" but what cost" I sincerely appreciate your time & feedback. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- La Vista, NE, USA

problem #7

Oct 062008


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the actuator door locks for the front driver and passenger doors failed. The contact stated that the window was used in order to enter the vehicle. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The the front passenger actuator was repaired previously. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Canyon Lake, TX, USA

problem #6

Nov 252013


  • 137,858 miles
We have had ongoing problems with a 2002 Kia Optima, including tire wear, brake problems, electrical issues, excessive battery wear. This week we were notified by our auto shop that there is excessive rust on the subframe and that a recall exists for this condition. When I contacted both our local dealer and Kia corporate, I was told that this particular VIN is not included in the recall, although the recall clearly states that it does meet the parameters. Upon further research, it appears that many others have experienced the same problems and been given the same information. Currently, we are left with a car that is a danger to drive and enormous personal expense to resolve.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #5

Apr 012013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I have also been stated as "not included". 2002 Kia Optima V6 LX. The vehicle shakes my entire body upon braking. Radio turns on and off. Radio goes from CD1 error to fm. Lights flicker, air shuts off. Im almost not able to pump gas anymore. Pump handle continuously clicks off. Its pathetic that I am now afraid to drive to work!! I have actually called in for fear of it just deciding to completely stall.

- Jeffersonville, IN, USA

problem #4

Aug 062013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
When you turn my car on it does not want to turn off. When you are driving the car it suddenly shuts off and stops. I have read similar reports of the same thing happening and under the recalls it lists this as a complication. I have called Kia and was told that my VIN number doesn't have a recall on it and was told that any repairs would be out of pocket. I have already had to replace the top half of my motor costing me 3500 out of pocket for well know problems and recalls that were not included in this cars VIN number I do not think a car should have this many issues and or repairs in the last year alone I have put 2 grand into this car I am very unhappy about this situation everything that has been recalled already I have had to fix it out of my pocket because this model of car is not included in the recalls I don't feel like this car is safe to drive and I have 2 small children who ride in the car I can not risk my children's lives and have this car shutting off in the middle of the road. I need something done about all the problems going on in this car due to manufacturing defaults.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #3

Dec 012010


  • 0 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number 03V067000 (electrical system:starter assembly). The manufacturer informed the contact that the repairs were made prior to the contact owning the vehicle. While the vehicle was parked the contact was unable to turn the vehicle off. The contact had to disconnect the battery in order to turn the vehicle off. The vehicle would also stall while driving. The vehicle also failed to start intemittently; however, the failures became progressively worse over time and failed to start. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the technicians were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #2

Sep 132004

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,185 miles
2002 Kia Optima LX. There is an electrical problem with the vehicle. The lights will start to flicker, and then the vehicle will lose power and shut everything down. When the temperature was around 80-90 degrees and at long distances this problem will happen. The dealership changed the battery twice, the alternator twice, the main wiring harness, and the main computer for the vehicle. This still did not fix the problem. Consumer took vehicle back to the dealership when the power wentout on 7-14-05. This caused consumer's vehicle to run a stop sign, and hit another vehicle, causing both vehicles to be totaled. The brakes went out as a result of the power outage, and could not stop the vehicle. Also, there was no steering. The vehicle was not overheating. The airbags did not deploy. Everything electrical failed with the vehicle. The fire department disconnected both batteries to prevent fire from happening. When they did this it deleted all the codes that would have told dealer what the problem was. The mechanic said that there was battery acid all over the computer, they still were unable to identify the problem. The electrical problems have been happening since purchase. Consumer has contacted the Kia manufacturer at least ten times, complaint numbers for the first was 24306, on 7-18-03, and the last was on 9-13-04, complaint. 56482. When the consumer contacted the manufacture after the accident they said they wanted a copy of the police report and pictures of the vehicle after the accident.

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 312004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,800 miles
While driving, a burning smell was detected, then the air bag light came on. After pulling into a service station the vehicle would not start. It was discovered the alternator, computer and air bag module was defective. After the repair the air bag light remained on.

- Massapequa, NY, USA

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