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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,662 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.

2011 Kia Optima brakes problems

brakes problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #11

May 132016


  • 87,000 miles


The engne locked up at 87K! I had no oil in

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #10

Sep 072016


  • 101,500 miles
On September 7, 2016, I was driving down the highway at 70 mph in my 2011 Kia Optima when all of a sudden the engine shut off and all of the lights on the dashboard came on. I could hear the engine rev slightly when I stepped on the gas, but the car would not accelerate. The engine just shut off. It was 7:30am when this occurred so luckily there were not many cars on the road yet. I was able to get the car over, however, because the engine was off, the breaks would not work well. I was finally able to get the car to stop by continuing to hit the breaks and applying the emergency break as well. Kia recommends oil changes every 7,500 miles, however, I usually have mine done every 5,000. I had zero warning signs that something was wrong with my car. The last oil change was performed on August 31, 2016, and the mechanic that performed the change said everything looked fine. There was zero smoke coming from the engine or exhaust and no "knocking" sound in the engine. I had the car towed directly to the dealer. Once there, we tested the battery and it seemed a little low. Mind you this is a new battery purchased from costco about 2 months ago. We tried jumping the car and after trying to start the car a 3rd time, the engine started shooting out black smoke and had a foul smell to it. Several hours later, I received a call from the dealer authorizing $280 to open the top of the engine so they could take pictures and send it to Kia.. I searched on the internet and found several other 2011 Kia owners experiencing a similar issue and was just told by a friend the same thing happened to her 2011 Optima as well. Looks like Hyundai had the same issue and it is the same engine as the Kia and had a recall. My car had 101,500 miles (mostly highway miles) and the only issue I ever had was to replace a clockspring in the steering column about 6-months ago.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #9

Aug 292015


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While driving at various speeds, the brake pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to slow down. The contact stated that the brake pedal had to be depressed with extreme pressure for the vehicle to stop. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the vehicle was operating normally. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- Northfield, MN, USA

problem #8

Jan 242016


  • 38,000 miles


Travelling at approximately 30 mph (had just turned onto road)when engine seemed to accelerate on its own. Pressed brake pedal (hard) and did not slow car at all. Continued to press brake and also pumped but nothing slowed vehicle. Although saw truck well ahead of me stopped, I could do nothing to stop or even slow down. I wrecked into back of truck stopped ahead of me waiting to turn. Approx $8000 damage to my car mostly due to truck having a sizable trailer hitch on back that busted through a lot of front end plastic, cooling system, etc and buckled hood. No injuries but if would have happened at higher speed it would have been tragic. Officer upon arrival also noticed thatbrakes seemed to fail and noted it on his police report. I have since found internet sources indicating that some 2011 Kia had in fact has a tsnb issued for unintentional acceleration problems. I never received such a bulletin and have had numerous services performed at Kia dealership. Also, have had brakes checked multiple times at dealer and delaer inspection never indicated any problems. I hav ealso found documentation online that says if you have an unintentional accelleration, pressing the brake hard is the first step to do, but once you let off the brake, you totally lose brake pressure. Who possible would know that ? this accident is totally the result of a system failure of the vehicle and I am asking for assistance in persuing my damages as a result of this failure.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #7

Nov 262015


  • 72,000 miles
If there is light wheel spin upon takeoff (especially turning and accelerating, such as pulling out of a parking lot onto a road) it causes car to lose power for a few seconds. When this happens accelerator can be depressed all the way to floor and vehicle does not have power and will not accelerate. Car also activates anti-lock brakes when lightly pressing the brake pedal while driving over a small bump at speeds greater than 25 mph. These symptoms occur with stability control engaged (default setting when car is turned on) stability control / traction control is overly sensitive, and can cause an accident.

- Ceres, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 032015


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While the vehicle was parked, the stop lamps failed which caused the brake warning light to illuminate. In addition, the transmission shifter would not move out of the park position. The vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 13V114000 (exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic), but the remedy failed to repair the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the brake warning light would illuminate intermittently. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 72,000.

- Charleston , VA, USA

problem #5

May 272015


  • 66,670 miles


I have a 2011 Kia Optima LX, 2.4 liter engine. Always keep up on the maintenance and oil changes, car is in great shape. I was not experiencing any issues, warnings, no check engine/oil lights, no noises, absolutely nothing. Then last night my car just sputtered and cut off while being driven. Apparently when the engine cuts off, so does the brakes. There was no way to push the brakes, so I had to try to safely coast to the side of the road, with no brakes and no power steering. I finally pulled over, tried to restart the car and there was such a loud knocking noise, and some squealing noises as well. The car will no longer start either. I had a mechanic look at it today and says the engine is "just gone." No explanations at all. I verified that the Kia Optima and the Hyundai sonata are the same manufacturer and use the same engines. I see there are way more complaints about the 2011 Hyundai sonata with this same issue. I will try to notify Kia and see if they are willing to step up and correct this even with the warranty expiring 7,000 miles ago, since I am the second owner. I have found many complaints about this same thing for both the 2011 Optimas and sonatas. This is so dangerous because there are no warnings, and the engine cuts off in traffic, which also causes the brakes and steering to go out. Not safe at all.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #4

Oct 012011


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 13V114000 (exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic) and stated that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The contact stated that he's experiencing problems with the vehicle when the brake pedal was depressed, it would disengage the transmission. The failure mileage was 100. The current mileage was 4,900.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 252013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 28,500 miles
On April 25th, 2013, I drove from the atlanta area to shannon, ga. Near adairsville, ga. I stopped a the gate put the car in park, set the brake. Before I could get out the car surged forward smashing the gate. I hit the brake, backed it up, put it in park, set the brake and again before I could get out it surged forward. This time when I backed up put it in park I turned off the motor. Jumping forward in my story, I called Kia and found out the car was on recall. I looked it up on the internet only to see the notices would not be sent out until May 2013. Kia. Is replacing the part but will not fix the front end damage. They told me to call my insurance company. Kia ran some test and said it showed nothing wrong with my car. I would have been run down and killed or in the hospital. All I ask is for them to fix the front end of my car and replace the gate. They still have my car so the mileage is and estimate. I did use cruse control. Case #[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Riverdale, GA, USA

problem #2

Mar 202013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 40,500 miles
This Kia has a push button start option. The vehicle would not start and the brake lights were not turning on when the brake pedal was depressed. The computer looks for a signal from the brake light switch before it starts the engine. I disconnected and reconnected the brake light switch and the problem was temporarily corrected. Two days later, the vehicle would not start again and the brake lights were not turning on. We used the procedure to bypass the brake signal (hold start button for 12+ seconds) to start the engine. Vehicle was now driving down the road with no brake lights. There was also a warning light illuminated on the instrument cluster indicating an issue with the ESC system. Dealership stated they have seen a few cars with this issue.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #1

Feb 012011


  • 15 miles
If the vehicle is parked pointed slightly down hill or slightly to the right and sits for 15-20 minutes there is valve clatter when started as if there is no oil. Happens every time parked as above. Dealer says a fix is not available.

- Lexington, KY, USA

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