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.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,031 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.

2003 Kia Optima accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Jun 082008


  • miles


2003 Kia Optima driver side door wont open from inside or out. No warranty on the car, was told by Kia dealership when I called that they have heard of the problem!! also the passenger door is doing the same thing. Lots of blogs about this problem. What happens when my daughter has to get out of her car and cant? sometimes she has to get in and out through the back seat doors!!

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #7

Jan 012010


  • miles
For the 2003 Kia Optima, the door locks fail and the doors cannot be opened from the outside or inside. This is a very common complaint about the car in the 2000-03 generation.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #6

Mar 062007


  • 67,288 miles
I bought my 2003 Kia Optima new 5/24/03. Sometime during the winter of 2004/06 noticed door locks clicked more than I was used to hearing, but they worked. I thought it might be due to cold weather as antenna doesn't go all the way done in cold weather (antenna noted to dealer 12/20/04). I thought I mentioned this to dealer prior to 60K miles while getting another service done and was told the problem could not be duplicated, but there is no record of it per dealer. In any case I brought the car to dealer 3/6/07 for oil change and asked they check door locks which were only working intermittently - per the invoice they checked lock relays, disconnected and checked switch, checked ground at jb-07, 0 ohms, etcs module all ok. The mileage at that point was 67288. I was told the electrical warranty expired at 60K. I did not have the money to get it repaired. By 10/24/07, the front passenger door could no longer be opened with driver door switch or remote, and key entry took several minutes while turning the key while the door unlocked then locked as I pulled up the handle. I was charged $35.55 to diagnose that there was a possible wiring etac or relay problem not covered by warranty - cost of repair would be over $1000. Now the cover to the passenger door key hole just came off probably due to the excessive key play needed to open the door. I am concerned for safety of passengers getting stuck if the driver is incapacitated in an accident and can't run around the other side of the car with key in hand to let them out. Right now car is in the dealership getting the recalled rusted subframe replaced. It will take 1 week to get the part. Meanwhile, I am with out car, the dealer won't pay for rental and I drive 72 miles round trip to work. Car lurches forward occasionally with high way driving, noted to dealer at 89346 miles - dealer can't duplicate problem.

- Lockport, IL, USA

problem #5

May 152009


  • 41,000 miles


Everytime I try to open the front passenger side door, from inside the car or outside, the entire car locks down. I can only open this door from the outside, with the key, while catching the locking mechanism between cycles. This takes a lot of timing and several attempts. No one can get in or out on the passenger side. This has been going on for about a year now. I bought the car used 2 years ago and it only has 41,000 miles. The 10 year 100,000 mile warranty only applies to the 1st owner.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #4

Apr 042009


  • 100,000 miles
Locking system failure causing all doors to lock on the vehicle with no means to get out of the vehicle. Can not get out by the windows and the motor will not shut down for quit some time. We believe it also triggered or malfunctioned the anti-theft causing it to ingage which would prevent you exiting the vehicle as well.

- Englewood, OH, USA

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problem #3

Jun 042007


  • 97,000 miles
2003 Kia Optima power door locks stick & won't release, necessitating driver to crawl over console in order to exit and/or passengers cannot get out without crawling through window. In the event of a fire or other emergency serious injury could result.

- Abilene, TX, USA

problem #2

Jul 312008


  • 57,000 miles
Re:2003 Kia Optima power door locks stick & won't release, necessitating driver to crawl over console in order to exit. In the event of a fire or other emergency serious injury could result.

- S.Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #1

May 022005

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Periodically the doors on the consumer's 2003 Kia Optima lock on there own. The consumer stated he never locks the doors. The vehicle has been taken to the dealership and they are currently waiting for parts. The dealership has not offered information as to why this happens. The consumer stated he bought the vehicle used and it started approximately two months ago. He also stated that this does not always happen. If the driver side door locked, the passenger side also locked. He has to work the key over and over. When he turns the key it feels like it is opening and the locks will start to go up inside and then it locks back. 8nm

- Montgomery City, MO, USA

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