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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,159 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Sep 142010

Optima 4-cyl

  • 93,700 miles


Driver side door will not open, accidentally locked door now it will not open, have to climb over from passenger side to driver side, will not open from inside or outside, I am disabled and it's very difficult to have to climb over to driver side, for a long time now I have left the car unlocked for this reason, seems I am not the only one with this problem, a lot of people have placed posts about this issue. It's not only an inconvenience but a safety issue. I feel this is a major recall that needs to be addressed and fixed. Anyone in an accident (god forbid) is trapped, more so if there disabled, people should not have to pay out of pocket for this issue. Thank-you

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #19

Oct 012012


  • 133,200 miles
Driver side door will not open, stuck in locked position. Can't get out of car unless go over to passenger side door.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #18

Aug 122012


  • 85,000 miles
Drivers side door latch failed and would not unlock from inside or out side. Had to exit the vehicle through passenger side door. Very dangerous if there were an emergency. I have seen many complaints online about this issue with the same make, model and approx. Mileage as mine. Kia needs to issue a recall before some one gets hurt.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #17

Aug 092012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles


The car was running fine until after a few hours of driving it just stopped running. This is the second time this has occurred. The engine RPM dropped to zero and the car coasted. After sitting for less than an hour the car started up again. I took it to the Kia dealer and they said, even though the car had less than 60,000 miles, they would have to diagnose the problem and charge us $200 to do so, and the electronic parts were not covered.

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 082012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
I own a 2004 Kia Optima purchased brand new. I have been unable to unlock (or open) the driver side door. The vehicle has never been in an accident. The problem accorded a few weeks ago when I attempted to unlock my car door. Once I removed my key and lifted the handle to get in all of the doors lock. I had to enter through the passenger side door. The drivers side door will also not open from the inside. This is a safety hazard as if I get into a car accident I will be trapped inside and could die!! I am not the only person with this issue for this make and model. And it appears that the 2003 model has the same issue. As you can see from the following websites:, as well as this is not an isolated incident. This is clearly a defect that needs to be addressed. Please issue a recall as I fear for my family's safety.

- Star, ID, USA

problem #15

Jul 292012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
The driver's side door will not unlock from either the inside or outside. The key won't work. I had to crawl over the passenger seat risking potential injury. This is a safety issue. I notified the dealer who said basically that it wasn't his dealership's problem and to call Kia consumer number. I did call and he also said basically that it is not Kia's problem, it is not a safety issue, and too bad for you. There are many documented instances of this door latch failing. It is a safety issue despite what the consumer rep said at Kia. $50 diagnosis cost plus, when the part finally comes in, another $230 dollars. It is unacceptable for Kia to ignore this safety issue.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #14

Nov 042011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles


I have been taking my car to Kia of orange park in jacksonville, Florida for the past several months because of issues with stalling and hestitation at start and the car has stopped on my while in gear with my foot on the brake (three or four times). Each and every time I take it to the dealership they seem to say the vehicle will not duplicate the concerns I am having. I have been afraid to go a long distance with the car because of these issues. I recently switched to southside Kia in jacksonville, Florida and they convinced me the car was fixed after replacing sparks plus, fuel pump, gas tank valve, and on one ocassion they found the tps sensor loose from the previous Kia dealership doing a throttle body service. I am very dissatisfied with Kia right about now and have not been able to get any help.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Nov 032011


  • miles
The drivers door will not open from the outside or the inside. I have to crawl in from the passenger side and then when I want to get out I have to crawl over and exit from the passenger side. Tried to unlock it with my keyless entry and now it doesn't work. Replaced batteries but still not working. My son kept turning the key in the door and finally got it opened. The next time I drove it the same thing happened. I am tired of having to crawl in and out of my car. I always enjoyed driving my Kia but not anymore.

- Montevallo, AL, USA

problem #11

Jan 122011


  • 128,000 miles
My 2004 Kia Optima ex will not start if it sits for a day or so something is killing or draining my battery I've replaced the battery, the starter, and the alternator it has to be an electrical problem also my right front door want open you have to use the key to get in something is still on while the car is off.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Nov 212010


  • miles
I have a 2004 Kia Optima and my key or fob won't open the drivers door. The key has finally stopped working at all, I have to climb over the console to get in and out of the car. I'm almost 57 years old and don't need this in my life. The dealer want $52 to check it and see if it's under warranty. I do have the extended warranty which I guess I paid for nothing. I' have found many people with this problem and I myself are very tired of this. I hate the day when I have to get out of my car in a hurry. When it first started I could use the key only when pulling hard on the handle at the same time. I believe Kia needs a recall on this problem and soon!

- Irmo, SC, USA

problem #8

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 #7

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

problem #6

Mar 152006


  • 50,000 miles
Hello I have a few issues with my 2004 Kia Optima that I have been unable to get resolved. The 1st is my air bag light is constantly on. I took the car into the shop for this while it was under warranty and was told that it was fixed. The light came back on and now the car is no longer under warranty. I was told that in order to have it fixed I have to spend a couple hundred dollars to have my passenger seat removed and some wires would have to be spliced to correct the issue. I'm not comfortable paying to have a problem fixed that should have already been fixed and the response I get as to the solution involves splicing of wires for my air bag. I have been on several websites and heard multiple complaints about the same issue with this year/model. Issue #2 involves my headlights. I have owned my car since I purchased it in 2005. I have blown at least 5 sets of headlights in the vehicle. This is sets and not just bulbs. My most recent one has blown and has not even been installed for 3 months. In order to get this fixed I will have to take it to the shop and spend almost $100 just to have somebody test the system and tell me what's wrong and then pay to get it fixed. It has been bad enough that once they both blew at the same time and left me with no headlights at all except for my high beams. I have also seen multiple complaints about this issue also with this make/model. If somebody could please take a look at these issues and assist me with getting them addressed. My car currently will not pass an inspection due to the airbag light being on.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #5

Sep 292007

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,030 miles
Purchased 2004 Kia Optima ex new. Have had fuse block replaced w/in 15000 miles. Now, the fuel pump has failed. The car ran fine and was parked. Next day car would not start. No fuses blown. The terminal connector from the fuel pump to the gas tank penetration has burned out causing an intermittent open in circuit. Fuel pump burned up in tank. Wires and connectors visibly charred. Connection that failed is inside of the gas tank. Very similar to ntsb case #10161074. Have 120,000 miles on the car. Others with less mileage are in for trouble due to poor engineering design. Defective parts available for photograph or inspection.

- Crewe, VA, USA

problem #4

Jul 222007

Optima 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 57,861 miles
On July 22, 2007, I was on my way back home from my anniversary trip when my car just shut off. We tried several times to get the car restarted with no luck. Since the car is still under warranty, we call for roadside assistance which falls under the warranty. Well 3-1/2 hours later a tow truck showed up. Unfortunately for me, it was not called by Kia. He just happened down the road at the time. So I had to pay $250 to have my car towed home to avoid storage fees at the dealership. The next day the Kia dealership had the car towed to the dealership where they changed the crank sensor and timing belt. Two weeks later the car started having idling problems. The car would shut off if left to idle. The car jerked when taking off and it sounded like the engine was bouncing around under the hood. So I had it taken back to the dealership to have it fixed. It is now 2 weeks later and my car is still at the Kia dealership. They have called me 4 times to come get the car it is ready. No it was not!!! so 4 times I drove an hour to the dealership and an hour home to go down to the dealership, crank up my car, realize it still had the same problem, give them back the keys, and drive home. I am now at the point where Kia can keep the piece of sh and either give me my money back on my supposedly new car or give me an actual new car. I have had enough!!!@!

- Register, GA, USA

problem #3

Dec 162004

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 276 miles
Purchased a brand new 2004 Kia Optima from the dealer on 12/09/2004. The cruise control has not been working since the first day it was driven out of the dealer's lot. What's more, three weeks into ownership of the vehicle, it began to exhibit intermittent, rough idling problems. The problem is not noticeable on cold starts, but after it has been driven for about 35 minutes or so and the engine has warmed up and reached a certain temperature, it will begin to make rocking-jerky-thrusting like movements. It can be felt, as if, the car is either choking or trying to accellerate while waiting at a red traffic light. As for the cruise control, the module was ordered on its first visit, the module was defective and reordered on its second visit, the module was installed on its third visit, and the dealer stated that it needed a switch for the cruise to work. Three months later, the cruise control is still inoperable. As for the idling problems, it could not be verified on its first visit. It was verified and reproduced on its second visit, and the car stayed for 2 and 1/2 weeks with the dealer to replace a mass airflow sensor. Picked up the car only to find out that it still has the same idling problems. It went back to the dealer 5 days later, and they claimed that the problem "could not be detected." Two days after its last visit on 02/02/2005, the dealer delivered the car with significant damage on the driver side front and passenger doors. The car got in an accident while it was in the dealer's care, and they promised in writing to fix it. 1 and 1/2 months later, the promised was not fulfilled, so I picked up the car and took it to another shop. My insurance paid for the cost, less $500 deductible. Where the dealer failed in 1.5 months to fix the damage, another shop succeeded in just 6 days! the doors are fixed, but the on-going problems on the car still remain. Three months of ownership of a supposedly "brand new" car, and it behaves like a clunker.

- Hicksville, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 142005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While I was driving my vehicle my passenger noticed that there was smoke coming out of the dashboard area. In an attempt to get off the road the smoke had turned into flames at which time I stopped the vehicle and I and my passenger got out of the vehicle and called 911.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 142005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, a fire started from the dashboard. The cause of fire was undetermined.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

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