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2.1

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,500 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 1 of 3)

problem #49

Oct 102012

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My main issue is the door lock on the drivers side. I can not open my drivers side door from inside or outside the vehicle. This is a major issue and the problem has been all over the internet for years. Everyone that I know that has a 2003 and 2004 Kia Optima has the same problem. I bet every vehicle Kia sold for these years has this problem. My other issue is I am unable to fill my fuel tank as I normally could do. I have to trickle the fuel in the tank because if I pump it too fast the pump will cut off. I've even had the fuel spill out of the tank before the tank was even full (it was at about 3/4 full). Please demand that Kia recall these problems. I can't believe it's taking this long for this recall to be issued. I just found out about this form and that is why I have taken so long to process this form. Thanks and I hope that you can help asap. [xxx] ps. As of today my vehicle has approximately 53,000 miles. I've driven it in one winter so far (last winter) and it started having the door lock problem at around 33,000. The fuel issue started around 2 years ago. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #48

Apr 132016

Optima

  • 147,433 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the passenger side door failed to unlock from either side of the vehicle. The failure was persistent. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The contact also mentioned that the same failure occurred on the driver side door prior to the failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was approximately 147,433.

- Hanson, KY, USA

problem #47

Jun 072012

Optima

  • 93,400 miles
Doors (all) will lock after unlocking when you're trying to get in. I unlock the door, either manually or with the key fob, when you pull the handle to open the door the doors lock. You can play with it and finally get in but I've heard alot of problems with the same thing on the same model.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #46

Dec 012014

Optima

  • 115,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The auto door lock would snap shut from inside or out. My daughter have to crawl through the passenger side.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #45

Sep 112012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
The door(s) have locked and will not unlock without many attempts to pull on the handle while turning the key. When it first happened to the passenger side, attempts at unlocking with the key resulted in all doors locking when the inner or outer handle was pulled, potentially trapping someone in the car. Then it happened to the driver door a few months later. Replacing the latch fixed the problem.

- Idaho Falls, ID, USA

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problem #44

Apr 142014

Optima

  • 100,000 miles
First: In the affect parts section of this complaint there is no where to mark defective locks. I have 2003 Kia Optima SE four-door. It will continuously lock and unlock automatically. Will only stop clicking on and off when engine is turned off. This poses a safety issue by being locked in an auto with electronic locks that cannot be unlocked either manually or with the key fob. When will there be a recall, either involuntarily or voluntarily. I bought this auto new and still have it.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #43

Dec 232010

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the drivers side door locked and she was unable to unlock it manually or by using the key fob. She was forced to climb into the back seat in order to exit the vehicle. When the failure recently recurred all of the doors failed to unlock. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the technician replaced the locks; however, the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 90,000. Updated 2/11/14 the consumer stated the trunk and ignition would not unlock. The ignition and trunk lock was replaced. Also, the alternator, fuel tank sensor and timing belt were replaced. The high beam lights would come on, when she made turns.

- Lancaster , CA, USA

problem #42

Jul 012013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the driver's side door failed to unlock and could not be unlocked from the outside or inside of the vehicle. The contact mentioned that she had to enter the vehicle through the passenger's side door. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the mechanic stated that the latch was not working properly. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 85,000. The current mileage was 86,500. Updated 12/20/13 the dealer stated the lock problem was electrical. Updated 12/26/13

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #41

Apr 262013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I parked my car for the day to go to work. At that point in time there were no issues with the car. Upon returning that night I found that the driver's side door would no longer unlock. I must now enter and exit my vehicle through the passenger door. The door will not unlock with a key, the unlock-all button, remote entry, interior unlock button, or by turning the car off.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #40

Apr 262013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 77,538 miles
Passenger door locks and will not unlock without pushing the unlock button and pulling the door handle at the same time. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get door open using this method. This is a serious safety issue which could trap a person in their car.

- Hanford, CA, USA

problem #39

Feb 132013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Door lock for the drivers side does not work and also does not unlock. This presents a huge safety concern, driver cannot exit the drivers' door! we have been able to unlock the drivers' door but it will not open! I reviewed the issue online and found hundreds of the same complaint. Kia needs to address the drivers door issue asap as it is a huge liability since it is an extremely common problem.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #38

Nov 302012

Optima

  • 175,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that he was trying to exit the vehicle but the doors would not unlock. The contact stated that he would have to climb out of another door in order to exit the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 175,000.

- Hopkins, SC, USA

problem #37

Dec 012010

Optima

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that she was unable to unlock the doors manually or by using the key fob. The contact mentioned that once she finally open the door and enter the vehicle the doors would lock automatically locking her in. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnose that the key fob was defective and needed to be replaced. The remedy failed to repair the problem. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who referred her to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 58,000.

- Lexington , KY, USA

problem #36

Aug 132012

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the doors could not be unlocked and he had to exit the vehicle by climbing through a window. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection or repairs. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 106,000 and the current mileage was 106,300. Updated 10/11/12 updated 10/11/2012

- Lawrenceville , GA, USA

problem #35

Aug 072012

Optima

  • 77,000 miles
Kia Optima 2003. Can not open driver door. Lock does not disengage with key or power lock button. Lots of complaints and I am sure there lots more unreported. Does 15 or twenty of us have to die before Kia is forced to fix this issue. No injury, crash or fatally yet........

- Winnsboro , SC, USA

problem #34

Jul 072012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 135,001 miles
I own a 2003 Kia Optima. I have been unable to unlock the driver side door. I have had to either climb out the window or the one of the other doors in order to exit the vehicle. When I lift the outside handle to enter the car all of the doors lock. When I unlock the door from the inside you can push and push on the door and it will not open. I see that several others have had this issue it needs to be corrected as if I get in an accident I will not be able to exit the car.

- Star, ID, USA

problem #33

Mar 252012

Optima

  • 175,000 miles
Drivers side door lock locks unattended, traps driver inside car. Can not open with key or switch. Safety issue. Also; air bag sensor light activated for the second time, has to be a defect.

- Stephens City, VA, USA

problem #32

Nov 012011

Optima

  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that she was unable to unlock the driver side door. The contact stated that she had to either climb out the window or the one of the other doors in order to exit the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who diagnosed that the locking solenoid was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 102,000 and the current mileage was 106,000.

- Springville, UT, USA

problem #31

Oct 272011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 124,230 miles
Passenger side door did not unlock. This forced passenger to come out from the driver side door.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #30

Jun 012011

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles
Passenger side door locks started having problems opening aprox 6 mo. Ago. It takes about 3 or 4 tries to get the door to open if you are using the key. If you are just the passenger and the driver opens the door for you with the driver side door lock it may take several tries as the door will automaticly relock by itself and you will be locked out. On 10/29/11 the driver side door started to have issues. I went to get into the car and it took about 20 tries to open the door. The lock felt very tight and was hard to turn. I had to fight to get the door to open. I have never had a problem with the driver side locking system. Once I get into the car, I was confused but didn't think anything of it after that and drove to my destination, when I tried to get out of the car I couldn't. I was locked in the car. It took ten minutes to with me fighting witht the locks to get out of the car. I only got out by my daughter getting out through the passenger door and taking the keys to fight with the driver side lock. I have my car now scheduled to be fixed at the Kia dealership on 11/7/11.

- Meridian, ID, USA

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