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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,200 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Aug 042016


  • 173,000 miles


Driver door would not open from inside or out. Power door lock would automatically re-lock all doors when attempting to open or unlock with key or inside lock lever. Had to crawl over console to get in or out when finally able to get passenger front door to open. Finally able to get door open by holding key cylinder in unlock position and forcing handle to open. Unhooked door lock actuator. As long as locked or unlocked door with key only, door would open. If locked door with inside lock lever, door would not open again. Mechanic replacing the driver front door latch assembly repaired vehicle. Very dangerous situation if in accident or vehicle fire.

- Council Bluffs, IA, USA

problem #21

Feb 232016


  • miles
Both driver and passenger doors won't open, even though they are unlocked. The car could be on or off with this problem.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #20

Nov 292015


  • 64,200 miles
Out of nowhere my daughter's car door would not open, trapping her inside. It won't open with the key or remote. I called Kia and they said my warranty ran out and there is no recall despite this being a common issue-- a very dangerous safety issue I must say, since the driver and passengers could possibly be trapped and die in an emergency.

- Edwards, CA, USA

problem #19

Nov 012015


  • miles


The driver side door will not open from the inside or outside, with or without the key. I've tried everything and can't get it to open. I had to crawl to the passenger side after getting home to get out.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #18

Oct 182015


  • 124,000 miles
Sub frame rot leading to poor handling, tire wear, bad engine performance. The rotted supframe is separating from body, causing poor performance. The car is performing poorly at all speeds. Not safe...

- Pembroke, MA, USA

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problem #17

Mar 192015


  • 146,680 miles
Power door lock locks when unlocking from outside with key. Replaced the door latch. But it still does it. Also the headlights stay on when turning off the car. Have to manually turn off headlight switch.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #16

Jan 262015

Optima 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


I was driving on I-10 westbound, katy tx freeway, travelling about 65 miles per hour. The passenger's side front tire blew out causing the car to go back and fourth between two lanes of traffic. In the process, I was hitting the rubber dividers, damaging the hood of the car and the windshield. The blown tire caused damage to the oil pan, the radiator, and eventually the transmission. I got the car to the emergency lane. The car was towed off the freeway and eventually picked up and transported to a car repair shop. A few days later, the insurance adjuster and the repair shop owner both agreed the car was a total loss. I had to buy a new car.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #15

Apr 012014


  • 150,000 miles
Driver's door locks and cannot be opened with a key and does not open once inside of the car. The operator essentially is locked in the car. In the event of a crash or fire, the occupant may not be able to easily vacate the vehicle; the only way would be to climb over the console to the passenger compartment or the rear to exit the passenger doors. There have been numerous complaints with no action taken by the manufacturer to remedy the defect and affects multiple manufacturing years. In my opinion it clearly is a safety issue.

- Holland, PA, USA

problem #14

Jun 012014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
Driver door will not open even though it indicates the door is unlocked. Despite multiple tries the door will not unlock or open trapping the driver in the car.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #13

Feb 272012


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the front driver's side door would not unlock. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or an independent mechanic for diagnosis or repairs. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Elyria, OH, USA

problem #12

Aug 302013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 100,529 miles


I was on a weekend trip and when I got to my destination I was unable to unlock or open the driver's side door. I had to crawl out the passenger side door. I am back home now. I have tried spraying some lubricant on door latch but I still can not get it to open.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #11

Jul 302012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 102,800 miles
The passenger wheel came off the car as my son was backing out of a parking space at a grocery store. I bought this car new. That part of the car had never been worked on. The car had to be towed to a garage for repair. Kia used glue on life a support nut on a ball joint, where they should have used a cotter pin. I have bought four (4) Kia. These cars are still in the family. The Kia I drive daily is identical (except being automatic) to the one that the wheel came off.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #10

Jul 292013


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 5 mph, the vehicle emitted a loud pop. Upon inspection, it was found that the sub frame had failed. The contact was informed by the dealer that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number 09V183000 (suspension). The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 110,000.

- Waite Park, MN, USA

problem #9

Oct 282011


  • 160,000 miles
On my 2004 Kia Optima when I unlock the doors with the key all doors unlock except the drivers door real big safety concern, if I get stuck in my car during an accident an cannot get out I will sue Kia motor company for not issuing a safety recall, I have also notice a lot of postings based upon this issue on for the 2003-2006 Kia Optima need attention asap.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #8

Mar 262012


  • 110,000 miles
The drivers door will not open either from the inside or the outside. The door remains locked as the button and key do not fully unlock it. Using both button and key at the same time, I was able to unlock the door and open it. Dissassembly of the door and latch located the problem to be the door latch mechanism. The door latch is designed to fail as evidenced by the number of complaints listing this part. The lever that is moved into place when the door is unlocked is blocked by the cam that it interfaces with because the cam has rotated beyond the point that it should. This has the potential to trap someone in the car if it should fail at the wrong time.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #7

Aug 262011


  • miles
Drivers side door will not open with the power lock or by key, I have been getting in and out of my car by using the passenger front door. My husband found a way to unlock my driver side door, now I can not lock my car again.

- Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 142011


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the front driver's side door failed to unlock, which prevented access in entering or exiting the vehicle. The contact would have to access the front passenger side door to enter or exit the vehicle. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer had not been notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Laanchester, OH, USA

problem #5

Jul 142010


  • miles
Driver door refused to open. I have a disability so this created a huge problem for me. When I put gas in my car (regardless of grade or gas station) my car refuses to start. When I make a U-turn, my car makes loud clicking sound. I had it axle and every thing else looks fine. No one can establish where the noise comes from. My car has less than 60,000 miles on it, and it should not have all these issues but it does.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #4

Jan 022012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 49,620 miles
Drivers door would not open from inside or out, it happened three times and the started working again.

- Newburgh Hts, OH, USA

problem #3

Feb 012011

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
Driver side door will not unlock. Neither the key nor the door lock knob on the inside works to unlock the door. Unfortunately, we have been entering and exiting the driver side by entering the car from the passenger side. There are many others who have this problem with all Kia models as you can see on the website the problem is a safety hazard since once in the driver seat, the driver can not exit the car through the driver door which can prove to be a problem in an emergency. Kia is taking advantage of owners by not addressing the issue. I am afraid for my safety, my family's safety while driving and emphatically plead with you to recall these Kia cars to fix the problem.

- Rego Park, NY, USA

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