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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,606 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.

2004 Kia Optima accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Kia Optima:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

May 242011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated the driver side door lock failed and could not be opened automatically or manually. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to be diagnosed or repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 94,000. Updated 07/08/11 updated 07/18/11

- Kalamazoo , MI, USA

problem #31

May 202011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Driver side door lock will not open from inside or outside. Have to crawl over center console, gear shift and parking brake handle to get out the passenger side door. If there is an accident on the passenger side, will be trapped inside the car. Very dangerous situation to be in. There are 23 complaints on this website plus numerous complaints online when you do a search. What does it take for a recall to be done? Kia should step up to the plate and fix this serious problem.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #30

Feb 032011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the driver side door was unable to be locked from the inside or outside. The dealer was contacted who advised that the repair would cost $200 at the contacts expense. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 67,000. Updated 06/01/11 the consumer was informed that since the vehicle was over five years old, he would have to pay for the diagnosis. Updated 06/10/11

- Braintree, MA, USA

problem #29

Apr 222011


  • 68,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the driver side door would not unlock whether using the keyless entry fob or using the key to manually unlock the door. In order to enter the vehicle, the contact would have to climb through the passenger side door. The contact had not taken the vehicle to the dealer for diagnosis or repairs. The manufacturer was contacted but provided no assistance for the repair. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Joplin, MO, USA

problem #28

Apr 022011


  • 72,000 miles
TL * the contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that he was unable to unlock the passenger side doors and the lock would not release. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was contacted and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 72,000.

- Richmond , VA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #27

Mar 212011


  • 151,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that once the vehicle was in motion, all of the doors would lock independently. The contact was able to unlock all doors except the drivers door when the failure occurred. The contact stated that the failure recurred when unlocking the door with the keyless entry fob or manually with the keys. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was told that the actuator and the latch for the door would need to be replaced. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 151,000.

- Newark, OH, USA

problem #26

Mar 072011


  • 71,000 miles


The contact owns 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated the front door lock failed on the driver's side, and once inside the vehicle, the contact was unable to open the door from the interior or exterior of the vehicle. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was informed that the lock actuator had failed. The dealer advised that becasue the lock was manufacturered from plastic, it was designed to wear. The failure and current mileage was 71,000.

- North Richland Hills, TX, USA

problem #25

Dec 102010


  • 46,000 miles
The drivers door can't be unlocked in any way. I believe this is a serious safety hazard. The driver cannot easily exit the vehicle.

- West Portsmouth, OH, USA

problem #24

Nov 222010

Optima 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The vehicle was parked and locked when the contact attempted to exit through the drivers side door but the door would not open. In order to exit the vehicle, the contact was forced to climb over the center console to exit through the front passenger side door. The failure would recur whenever the vehicle was locked. The failure also intermittently occurred when trying to enter the locked vehicle from the front driver side door. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed and was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was unknown. Updated 02/17/11 updated 04/28/11

- Walton Hills, OH, USA

problem #23

Oct 102010

Optima 4-cyl

  • 80 miles
I was commuting. I gave my car regular oil changes and tune ups. Then the engine coils went out. The car would not go over forty. Replaced that. Heard funny noises coming from the engine. The car was at 70K at this point. The manufacturers warranty said to replace the timing belt at 110K. So I decided to hold off as that probably wasn't the problem and a manufacturer wouldn't lie to me as they are regulated by the government. Then I am driving and the car dies in the middle of a busy intersection. I get the car towed. The timing belt is changed and there are half the teeth left on the timing belt. How is the car still running you may ask? it is a magical car and is like the little train that could. Then I am driving on a busy scary mountainous highway and the car dies again at a blind corner. No check engine light but there are plenty of cars that want to hit me. The car turns back on. The fear for my life and those around me has subsided for a moment. The car is able to turn back on... somehow. The check engine light stays on. The crank sensor is the problem. The crank sensor was then fixed. This car is a hazard to have on the road. The air bag light has also been on for a year and won't go off. I have had to replace engine coils, door locks, trunk alignments and probably some other things that made me fear for my life. The speedometer also broke and said I was going 0 mph when it was really 80 mph. As of right now the car is running okay. I expect by next October that something will go wrong as that is the month that everything does with this car.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #22

Nov 272010


  • 116,000 miles


The driver's side door on my 2004 Kia Optima locks itself back when I open it. I can't get in or out the car because the door will not open. I went to get in the car and it would not open. I've had to climb across the center console to get in the car. This is a safety issue for me because it hurts my back everytime I have to do this. This is my only form of transportation so I need to have this fixed. Did an online search to see what the problem could possibly be and found out that I wasn't the only one with this issue. I feel there needs to be a recall on this vehicle to remedy this issue with so many people complaining about the same thing on the same year, make, and model car. Will check back to see what is being done to resolve these issues. If nothing is being done then will seek other avenues to handle this matter.

- Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #21

Nov 192010


  • 180,060 miles
The driver side door will not open. It will not unlock from the outside, nor from the inside. I am forced to get into and out of my vehicle through the passenger side and climb over the console. This is the second time this has happened. The first time, in 2006, the dealership in greer, South Carolina, said that part of the car was out of warranty. They charged me a little over $300 and kept my car for 2 weeks! I had to rent a car and pay for it myself. Now, I have this same problem. I have a 5 speed Optima. In addition to climbing over the console, I have the stick shift and the emergency brake to climb over as well. This is a safety issue!! should I have an accident, on the passenger side, I will be trapped in my car. I see from the other posts on here, I am not the only one having this problem. I am also sure there are others that are having this safety issue, that have not reported it. When is the NHTSA going to investigate this matter and have a recall issued"?? how many of us are going to have to be injured and/or killed because we are trapped in our vehicle due to this" as I mentioned, this is the second time this has happened to my car. Perhaps, a class action lawsuit against Kia for this safety issue is in order since a recall apparently is not going to happen. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Wellford, SC, USA

problem #20

Aug 282010

Optima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I own a 2004 Kia Optima and I am recently experiencing problems with my drivers side door I am not the only one experiencing these problems because I have done much research on the topic. The drivers side door will not unlock from inside or outside of the vehicle there is something wrong with the locking mechanism. Resulting in many people having to crawl through there window or passenger door. If there was ever an emergency where somebody needed to get out of the car immediately they would not be able to which could be incredibly unsafe if the vehicle was ever on fire, submerged in water, or if in a bad accident it would take longer to get the medical attention needed.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #19

May 052010

Optima 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The event that lead to the failure was me simply locking the door to my 04 Kia Optima to go into the store. The failure was when I attempted to unlock the door and was forced to climb over the console from the drivers seat. It most often occurs when the doors are locked from inside the vehicle, (power locks). Can only unlock vehicle to get in or out through the passenger or rear doors. It's consequences where described above. Please keep in mind this is not a new issue with this car. My wife did research on what was wrong. It is a lock mechanism that can only be purchased from the dealer. I have contacted the manufacturer who could only tell me I would be reimbursed if the ever is a recall. The problem is not yet fixed because of my recent neck surgery. To fix the issue you have to remove the door panel. The problem has yet to be fixed because it seems like a safety issue. The vehicle has 40,000 miles on it. How am I suppose to get out of me vehicle in an emergency"????????? or even worse my wife????????????" please help and do some research.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #18

Apr 152008

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,500 miles
The contact owns 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the door locks would not function properly. The contact was locked in the vehicle and had to climb through the window to get out. The contact had been leaving the doors open but after a minor accident, the doors locked again and would not unlock. The mechanic at the local repair shop stated that they could not fix the door locks because it was a manufacturer's defect. The failure mileage was approximately 60,500 and the current mileage was approximately 130,000. Updated 12/29/10 updated 01/03/11

- Bonham, TX, USA

problem #17

Aug 252010


  • 18,700 miles
Hi there, 2 weeks ago my Kia Optima LX 2004 driver door got locked out and it is not unlock any more. I called dealer and was told it is not under the warranty and they need to order the parts and I have to pay for it. I understand this. But I found lot of similar complaints about the same make and model and all of those consumer got the similar kind of response when the contact their dealer. The question is since lot of consumers having the same issues with same make and model why there is no official re-call. Since this is known issue with Kia Optima 2004 why consumer needs to pay if they did not create a good part or model. Please advise.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #16

Aug 102010


  • 80,000 miles
The driver side door on my 2004 Kia Optima will not unlock from the inside or from the outside. The power lock system re-locks the door when I attempt to unlock the door. To enter or exit the vehicle, I must climb over the console to the passenger side and use that door. The problem began about 80,000 miles on the car. So far there has been no crisis, but in the event of a fire or submersion in water, it could lead to more harm since exit through the driver side door isn't possible.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #15

Aug 212010


  • 63,497 miles
Kia Optima 2004. Driver-door locked up. Wouldn't open. Can't open the door either from inside or outside. I had to get out of the car from passenger door. Windows can't be opened!

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #14

Sep 302009


  • 100,000 miles
2004 Kia Optima (although all models and years are affected) - front door latch defective (research shows both sides affected; this complaint is specific to passenger-side); door will not open. Costly to fix; manufacturer aware of defect. Safety hazard; in the event accident involving drivers' side, no way to exit vehicle; would inhibit successful rescue attempts. There is no reason for the consumer to have to shoulder the cost of repair due to poor quality parts or workmanship. This is not only a safety issue, but also a widespread defect, as evidenced by numerous internet blogs on this subject, and dealer acknowledgment.

- Lawrenceburg, IN, USA

problem #13

Jul 302010


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated she used the keyless entry switch to unlock the automatic power doors. When she reached for the door handle to enter the vehicle, the doors independently locked. After repeated attempts, she was able to unlock the door and enter the vehicle. The contact stated the failure only occurred on the driver's door. The contact stated the only way to enter the vehicle through the driver's door was to pull on the door handle while unlocking it manually. The vehicle was not taken to be examined for the cause of the failure. The failure persisted. The failure and current mileages were 76,000.

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

Read the next 12 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?