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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 1
Average Mileage:
65,069 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.

2008 Kia Optima seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Aug 122009


  • 15,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the air bag indicator did not register when the passenger seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 15,000.

- Orange, CT, USA

problem #32

Mar 232016


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. When the ignition was turned to the on position, the air bag warning indicator illuminated continuously. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the seat track failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 97,000.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #31

Feb 112016


  • miles
Takata recall airbag light for front passenger was illuminated. Took it to dealer who put it on diagnostic unit for $95 & got light to go off for now but stated that the seat would need to be replaced to repair it at a cost of $1700. Apparently this particular vehicle was not listed on the recall. Owner has the bill for this dianostic service & estimate.

- Avon Park, FL, USA

problem #30

Jul 112015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 85 mph, the driver lost control of the vehicle. As a result, the contact went into an embankment and crashed into a telephone pole. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed. The driver sustained minor injuries and the front passenger was killed. The vehicle was towed to a police impound lot. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was unavailable.....updated 12/30/15

- Orcutt, CA, USA

problem #29

Oct 222015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator illuminated. The dealer stated that the clock spring assembly for the air bag was damaged and needed replacement. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 93,000. Updated 02/05/16 the consumer was informed, the vehicle was one month out of the covered date. Updated 03/01/16.

- Whigham, GA, USA

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problem #28

Sep 012015


  • 84,000 miles
Airbag light remains on. Took the vehicle to a repair shop which diagnosed passenger seat sensor is bad. Must replace complete seat bottom and track at a cost of about $1700 usd. The airbag light was reset, but I was informed that if anyone sits on the passenger seat the system will trip again and not be active. I investigated online and found this is a common problem, and this was confirmed by the Kia dealer parts department counter person. This should be a safety recall and not a repair for the customer to finance.

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #27

Aug 122015


  • 71,233 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. When the vehicle was started, the air bag warning light illuminated. The contact stated that the air bag warning light remained illuminated even with an occupant seated in the seat. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V014000 (air bags), but the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 71,233.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #26

Jul 062015


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. Upon starting the vehicle, the air bag warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the occupancy sensor was defective and the front passenger seat needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Beth Paige, NY, USA

problem #25

May 182015

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles
Wife was coming back from walking the dogs in the park, at the park she was feeling dizzy, when she sat down in the car she was feeling better. As she was driving home, she passed a school and saw the sign to slow down. After that, she blacked out and she woke up after the accident, in a ditch on the other side of the street. She had hit a fence then head-on into a tree. The whole time all the air bags didn't deploy. The air bags not deploying is the reason for this complaint updated 05-27-15.....updated 06-12-15 updated 06/23/15

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #24

Mar 192015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. While the vehicle was parked, the contact was unable to change gears without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for further inspection. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V014000 (air bags); however, the clock spring assembly failed. The mechanic indicated that the part was on backorder and that the clock spring needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Tahlequah, OK, USA

problem #23

Aug 282014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles


I noticed that there was a recall for 05 thru 08 on the clock spring in the front airbag. My airbag light came on and I guess mine is not covered. I took it in and they said mine was not covered under the recall but it was the same problem. Why if this is the same problem isn't it covered. I guess there needs to be an injury or death before its covered.

- Spokane Valley, WA, USA

problem #22

Jun 202013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 51,887 miles
My husband and daughter were involved in an accident where they struck a tree. The car was totaled and their was extensive damage to the front of the vehicle. The impact was more on the passenger front of vehicle. My daughter was the passenger and she is full grown so she should of been detected in the seat. The driver side airbag did deploy the passenger side did not. I am very grateful that she did not suffer serious injuries (just lacerations from seatbelt). I notified Kia motors and was given a case number. Somebody did follow up with me and asked that I send photos and told me someone else would be calling. I sent the photos. I did receive the second call from Kia and was told that the engineers incharge of the airbags would be on vacation for a couple of weeks and as soon as they came back and examined the photos, I would receive a call back. That was five weeks ago. No follow-up as of today Aug. 6, 2014. I was also told they do not have any other complaints. I told them they should go on and start reading. I do hope that this car gets recalled. My husband and daughter were very fortunate with no serious injuries, but someone may not be as lucky next time.

- West Haven, CT, USA

problem #21

Jul 302014


  • 95,085 miles
TL * the contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, but was not repaired. The VIN was excluded in NHTSA campaign number: 12V014000 (air bags). The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 95,085.

- Norristown, PA, USA

problem #20

Jun 202014

Optima 6-cyl

  • 39,700 miles
Driver on opposite side if road crossed center lane and crashed into the drivers side of my car, damaging the entire drivers side from the headlights to the taillights. It is within $1000 of being totaled, but the low mileage is what saved us by bringing the value up. The driver was going approximately 25-30mph when her car struck mine and she did not apply the brakes at all. She hit my car and the car behind me as well. My side airbags did not deploy during the impact, as I feel they should have. There were no other passengers in the car, and there have not been any issues with the air bag system that I am aware of.

- Woonsocket, RI, USA

problem #19

Mar 042009

Optima 4-cyl

  • 6,492 miles
Passenger air bag light comes on and reads, air bag off and stays O with an adult passenger in front seat. This is an intermittent problem which has been in different dealerships a number of times (ten) and has never been resolved. Kia said that they are not interested in making repairs because of the age and mileage on the vehicle. The light was on at one time when at the dealership and a diagnosis was performed. I was told that there was no problem found. The problem with this statement is that if the light is on and there a person in the seat, and an accident was to take place, the air bag would not deploy. I feel that this a real safety problem, one that should be address by Kia and repaired or replace the vehicle because of the danger to the passenger in the front seat. I know I could just trade the vehicle in to get rid of my problem, but that will not solve the problem with the vehicle and the next owner will have the same safety issue. This condition can happen at any speed both or residential and expressways, it stays on until I turn the ignition off and stop the car. How do I know, if this system is ever working properly?..updated 04-16-14

- Crossville, TN, USA

problem #18

Mar 182014


  • 83,000 miles
The air bag light came on in dash. The car dealer said it came from the passenger side seat and that the air bag is defective and will not deploy in a crash. He said that it would be $1600 to $1700 to fix if I wanted it fixed. My wife just pulled into her mother's driveway when the light came on and it will not go out and right now is scared that the bag will go off with her mother who is 92 in the seat. I think the price is steep and if anyone should pay to have it fixed that it should be Kia to fix it.

- Susquehanna, PA, USA

problem #17

Jul 232012

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
The Kia 2008 Optima's had a recall on their air bags. We took the car to Kia to have the clock spring replaced. A short time after we got the car back I was driving to an appt. When my air bag deployed on it's own. This caused me to crash into a parked van, totaling both vehicles. I was taken to the hosp. By ambulance. The police officer came to give back my cards and papers he needed for the report. I was not charged he said because of the recall on our car, it was not my fault. We informed Kia of what happened. They said they needed the blackbox info, but they never checked it out. Kia kept ignoring our calls and emails. They said they needed a special team to look at the black box, but they kept telling us the team wasn't together and it would take time for them to get together. When my 2008 Kia Optima got towed to a Ford dealership garage my brother went to get pictures of the damage and to retrieve my belongings. 3 mechanics stood by my brother watching and asking what happened. 2 of the workers said the clock spring didn't look how it should have if my air bag went off. They said either the clock spring was a faulty one that Kia replaced or that the mechanic did not replace it right. A guy named [xxx] at Kia that we talked to wanted me to make a $63,000 settlement. I said no because I didn't know how bad my injuries would get. Telling [xxx] this, is when he started to ignore me and my insurance comp. Calls. I went a year before a doctor (150 miles away) removed a herniated disk in my back because of the accident (it took that long because they tried everything else before they would do surgery). My back is better but my shoulder isn't. doctor's in my city want me to go 150 miles away to see a doctor there and that is hard to schedule and keep going there. Today 3/23/2014 Kia will not do a settlement or talk to us. Car was under warranty still. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #16

Jun 012012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Air bag warning light came on and stayed on. Fuses are good. Kia dealer wants 95$ to locate problem and much more to fix whatever may be wrong.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #15

Jun 092013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 689,000 miles
While traveling at the posted speed limit of 55 mph a deer ran into the side of my 2008 Kia Optima which is equipped with side air bags in which the drivers side door was pushed in on the driver and the drivers side widow was destroyed inflicting cuts on the driver and with the entire drivers side of the vehicle received extensive damage including the hood of the vehicle. The side air bags never deployed to ensure the safety of the driver even with the severity of the impact of which Kia national headquarters was contacted and the explanation was that the vehicle was not moving sideways at impact and this is why the air bags did not deploy! this is not a valid excuse to me or I would think an consumer purchasing this vehicle with the assumption that they have side air bag protection!

- Kewaunee, WI, USA

problem #14

Dec 162012


  • 69,000 miles
My car was hit in the side by another car going approx.40 mph. None of the airbags deployed. This model had a recall on the airbags 6 months previous. We took it in, they said a sensor needed to be replaced. They gave us a paper saying it was repaired and returned our car to us.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

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