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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

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2004 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Jul 222010


  • 98,000 miles


The driver's side door of my 2004 Kia Optima locks back everytime I unlock it and try to get out. This is an issue for me and a safety defect and I am afraid of not being able to get out of my car. All of a sudden one day I stopped at the service station to get gas and tried to open the door as fast as it unlock it would lock back trapping me inside the vehicle I had to beg someone to help me out on the passenger side. I have researched the internet as there are other consumers just like myself having the same problem and we are asking Kia to do a recall on this problem because we believe it to be a malfunction within the door itself. I tried to override it by turning the key and pulling the latch at the same time until I got it to unlock and I left it unlock and then riding in the car on the next day it automatically locked and I freaked out thank god my husband was there because I had to pull over and get out of the car and this is the third day and it won't open. I cannot stand the feeling of being closed in. I cannot afford to get it fixed and I need to be able to use my car please investigate and see if it should be a recall issue. Thank you

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #11

Jun 242010


  • 48,015 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated the front driver side door was permanently locked and could not be opened from the inside or outside of the vehicle. The contact would have to enter the vehicle from the front, passenger side door and crawl over the middle console to get into the driver's seat. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility where he was advised that the failure was mechanical. The manufacturer would not provide any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 48,015. Updated 10/27/10.

- Black Mountain , NC, USA

problem #10

Jun 102010


  • 140,000 miles
2004 Kia Optima 140,000 miles. This failure happened without warning. I first noticed when I tried to unlock the driver's side door. The key was hard to turn and the unlock button moved slightly. Upon pulling the handle to open the door the lock automatically moved to the locked position and the door would not open. This happened repeatedly. From inside the car, if you manually lock the car or if the automatic locks engage while driving you can not open the driver's side door by any means. The locking mechanism failure causes 3 serious safety issues. 1) prevents the operator from entering the vehicle in an emergency situation 2) the driver can not lock the door for personal security while operating the vehicle because this will permanently lock the occupant inside. 3) the potential that an occupant would be locked inside the vehicle during an emergency and prevented from escaping the vehicle. From the number of complaints about this for Kia vehicles this will eventually lead to a serious injury or a fatality if this issue is not escalated to a full recall of the locking mechanism. This should be an immediate recall for models including but not limited to 2001-2005.

- Terrell, NC, USA

problem #9

Jun 092010


  • 94,000 miles


Driver door will not unlock with the key, using the inside handle or electric lock control. The door constantly relocks when you try to unlock with the key or the toggle lever inside the car. It will not open in case of an accident. Even tried to disable the electric lock by removing the fuse. The electric doors did not work but the door did relock when I tried to open with a key (must be on another circuit - maybe security). Large number of identical complaints on the internet. This is a safety issue.

- Columbus, GA, USA

problem #8

Apr 062009


  • 82 miles
The door lock to the 2004 Kia Optima have defects that the manufacturer should warranty. Hey go bad from 40 miles all the way beyond also the seat belts do not recoil when taken off the body.

- Mclean, VA, USA

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problem #7

Apr 082010

Optima 6-cyl

  • 95,267 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). To whom it may concern, drivers side car door won't unlock. Has been replaced and serviced many times. Now it is out of warranty. I've done research and found that several people have had the same problem. Obviously if you can't get in and out of the drivers door (from the inside or outside of the vehicle) it is a safety issue. Please let me know your findings. Thank you for your cooperation in looking into this matter! I look forward to working with you to resolve this issue. I understand it is the locking mechanism that needs to be replaced, but how many times does it have to be replaced before it is fixed--that is the question. [xxx]

- Carrollton, VA, USA

problem #6

Dec 152009

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles


In July 2008 the left front door latch mechanism malfunctioned on my 2004 Kia Optima. This malfunction made it unable to be unlocked. As the locking function of this mechanism works by moving the latch opening lever out of position, this malfunction makes it impossible for the occupant to open the door from inside. This presents a hazard to the occupant in case of crash or fire. The latch was replaced with a replacement unit. In Dec 2009, the replacement latch malfunctioned and has exhibited the same characteristic problems. I have not had the $ to replace it again. A quick internet search has revealed that this problem is shared by many Kia and Hyundai owners. I hope my wife and kids are never in a crash and cannot exit the car.

- Walhalla, SC, USA

problem #5

Nov 082009


  • 39,000 miles
My car doors do not open either inside or outside. This problem started with my front passenger side door and now is affecting my drivers side door. The problem appears to be electrical and will happens randomly. The pass. Door is now 100% affected and the drivers side just started today. So the end result is I am locked inside my car unless I crawl through the window. I googled this problem online and apparently this problem is rampant. I called Kia customer service and they said that there is not a recall and because my car is a 2004 (with only 39,000 miles) they will not cover it. I told him how dangerous this type of problem was and he really didnt seem to care. II asked him who issues recalls and he said it was your organization, when I said that I would call you to try and get a recall he then said "well you could bring it into Kia and see what they find, although no gaurantee I would get it paid for by them even though it has happened to many Kia cars. I then told him I would be contacting your organization and he didnt seem to happy. * when my passenger door started with this problem approx. 2 months ago I called the local dealer and they said that there was nothing they could do for me. I should add that the nearest Kia dealer is approx. 2.5 hours one way away from me.

- Kailua Kona, HI, USA

problem #4

Nov 142009


  • 64,125 miles
The driver door failed to open by using the keyless entry or manually. You have to climb over the passenger seat to get into or out of the driver's seat. The driver's door will not even open using the handle from the inside of the car. There is not a choice of not having it fixed or not. You don't have the option of not using the keyless entry since the door will not work manually. Kia does not have this under warranty so you are forced to replaced both the latch and the actuator. The car had to taken to a Kia dealer to be serviced unless climbing over the passenger seat was the way you would choose to enter and exit the car.

- Senoia, GA, USA

problem #3

Sep 282009


  • 152,000 miles
The front door lock on our 2004 Kia Optima will not unlock, you cannot unlock it from inside or outside of the car, and the door will not open; therefore, you must climb to the otherside of the car to exit or climb out through the window, which I believe creates a safety hazard in the event of an accident. Noone would be able to remove you from the car in the event of serious injury, fire or a water rescue. The local Kia dealership shop told us that it was a faulty door lock actuator and a common problem, but did not open the door for us. They estimated the cost to repair at $200 plus labor. If this is a common problem, then there should be a recall on this car, especially due to the unsafe nature in the event of an accident.

- Lawrenceburg, IN, USA

problem #2

Jan 312009


  • miles
Driver side door won't unlock. Went through a period when it would lock/unlock normally, then periodically we had to unlock with key and pulling door handle at same time, now the door will not unlock at all.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 112004

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,195 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. In June of 2004, the exterior lighting failed while driving at an unknown speed. In addition, the driver's side door would not lock and the check engine light consistently illuminated. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and the exterior lighting was repaired; however, the door was not because it was not under warranty. After the repair was made, the exterior lighting continued to fail as well as the other issues. She took the vehicle back to the dealer approximately four times to repair the same failures, but the issues kept persisting. The vehicle has not been repaired since. The current mileage was 93,000 and failure mileage was 19,195. Updated 10/05/08 the headlights and brake lights were replaced several times. The dimmre switch also failed. Updated 11/06/08.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

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