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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
107,359 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

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 #11

May 222014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 57,456 miles
My husband and I were on our way to the coast when we passed another vehicle and as soon as we passed the other vehicle we lost all power in the car we were able to get over to the side of the road where the check engine light came on.second try car did start but was making a loud knocking noise from the engine vehicle was towed to dealer it was an internal engine malfunction car was still under warranty dealer replace engine.

- Madera, CA, USA

problem #10

Mar 312015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While traveling at approximately 50 mph and attempting to slow down for a stop light, the vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the starter burned out and that the engine seized. The dealer replaced the starter and was not able to diagnose the source of the failure. The contact was informed that a more extensive diagnosis was required and the engine needed to be taken apart. The engine failure was not repaired by the dealer. The vehicle was not able to be driven. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Sheffield, AL, USA

problem #9

Apr 042015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 63,400 miles


While at a red light my car stalled without warning. Once off major street we thought it was the battery and after charging for a bit the car did start but made a horrible sound. Had it towed to dealership and they said there was no oil in engine and was due to faulty maintenance which is untrue. My last oil change was 2/2/15 and was due again 4/11/15. My car never gave a check engine or check oil light, I had no oil spills in my garage or where I park at work. There was no signs of trouble. When I asked what caused this to by all standards a new car all they want to say is that is faulty maintenance because Kia didn't do the work. My car went from functioning perfectly well to needing a new engine to the tune of Kia's price of $6400 they will not honor warranty unless I can produce receipts dating back three years. My car needs a new engine at 63,400 miles? really...

- Spring , TX, USA

problem #8

Jan 282015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 48,269 miles
The spark plugs in the car were replaced at 44,298 miles (just prior to the 45,000 recommendation in the owner's manual). At 48,269 miles my car was idling slightly off. I gave the car part throttle in the parking lot of my work and the car misfires and cel comes on. Giving it more gas, it goes away. I made an appointment at the dealership (Kia of cherry hill, NJ) to have it looked at. At this point the car was idling really bad. I got a call from the service manager asking about the spark plugs and how I noted they were done at 44K miles. He says all 4 are fouled. I then get a call back saying that the plugs in my car were never done at 45K like they should have been and that they need to be changed. I explained to him they were done, his response was, "I don't buy it." I then said that I have the receipt from the parts department from his dealership for the plugs, and that I have pictures of them being changed and that I even have the old plugs in the new boxes. No response to that except quiet. I said if the plugs were done 4K miles ago, then why do they need to be done again" why would they all go bad" no response except that he can't do anything unless the spark plugs are replaced because they are fouled. All 4 plugs were bad due to lean condition in the motor (possible fueling problem). One of the plugs was missing the porcelain from cylinder #2, which was also missing on the original from cylinder #2 pulled at 44,298 miles. Dealership and Kia corporate was not willing to look at the fueling or the car further unless the plugs went bad again. Also wouldn't offer any reimbursement for the bad plugs.

- Shamong, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jan 162015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 62,887 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While at a stop light, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the engine failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 62,887. Updated 04/13/15 updated 11/5/2015

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #6

Oct 122014


  • 51,500 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving 75 mph at night with the cruise control activated, there was smoke coming from under the hood and the vehicle engulfed into flames. The fire department extinguished the fire. A police/fire report was filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was destroyed and the cause of the fire was not determined. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 51,500.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #5

Oct 022014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 5,200 miles
Just weeks after purchasing my Kia, it had to be brought back to replace cracked dash, heated steering wheel peeling, tires wearing on the outside, wiper blades sucked & you could not see out of them when it rain, cracked outside of sunroof seal, pulling to left side and surges. They put new tires, steering wheel & fixed the dash. The service manager stated the specs were within normal limits for the alignment & transmission. The outside of the sunroof is normal wear & tear & it will crack again, stated the sun cracks it! it has been in the service department 5 times! even though my car is still under warranty! I have had 4 set of tires & they wear on the outside, it stills pulls to the left & I was told the alignment is normal. 6 sets of new wiper blades & they say that's not a problem. My car surges & it has not even been addressed! in late September my check engine light came on the day after I had my oil changed, I took my car to my dealership service, they kept it, fixed the 'oil control valve" within 5 miles from my dealership, check engine light came back on. After a week & a half, my 'intake cvvt timing & my 'exhaust cvvt timing! my warranty will be up in the next few months & I am worried about what is going to happen next & then there's no warranty! there should be a recall on Optima's steering to the left & on the tires either, alignment! I have went as far as contacting the Georgia consumer protection, Kia consumer hotline, us department of transportation, traffic safety, the attorney general's office. I have also contacted my local & national news station & will be meeting with them next week. If this does not raise a few questions, I will hire an attorney!! this is not about money, verses what is right!

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 022014


  • 82,273 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle made a squealing and an unusual popping sound that emitted from the front of the vehicle. The contact was able to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road. The front tires had seized. The vehicle was towed to dealer. The technician diagnosed that the engine block bracket fractured. As a result, the technician recommended an engine replacement. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified about the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 82,273.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 062014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 29,500 miles
This is the second time I report this unintended acceleration, last month happened on May 4, I documented in my previous complaint, they returned the car 5-21-14 they didn't find anything, on June 6 again the car accelerated when I was stepped on the brake and ready to put it in park, they told me to take the car to another dealer until now don't hear from them, called Kia in California left messages no call back, today a got a hold with another person jenny, and she repeat like a broken record we cannot duplicate the problem but they still keep the car for a long time, I have a case # [xxx] the NHTSA should investigate this, like I explained to this lady engineers should look at this situation not the mechanic, is something to do with the computer, they just follow instructions and their machine tell them nothing is wrong, like I mentioned before in my other complaint this one is the fourth time that happened, what are we waiting that some people got kill to investigate, look at the problems that Toyota and general motor had, they wait until people died then start doing something, thank you to this site that we could voice our concerns. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) updated 1/6/2015

- Harwood Hts, IL, USA

problem #2

Mar 042014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Vehicle was driven a mile to a commuter rail station for a drop off and back home. Nothing unusual was noted during the short trip nor had any problems been observed in the days leading up to the incident. Shortly after parking the vehicle on the 5th floor of the parking garage and entering the residence, the complex fire alarms actuated and all residents were advised to evacuate without entering the community parking garage. Shortly thereafter, I was notified by the complex manager via my cell phone that my car was on fire in the garage. The entire front of the vehicle was burned and was declared a total loss by the insurance company. (allstate). The entire car would have burned if it hadn't been parked directly under a sprinkler head in the garage plus a speedy response from the fire department. An independent fire origin investigator was hired by the insurance company. His professional opinion was the fire started at the radiator fan assembly.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #1

May 102013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
Sudden acceleration! happened approximately 6 months ago and again on May 10th. Going slowly towards a stop sign while braking to stop, the car suddenly accelerates and lunges forward. Stepped on the brake but car keeps going. Put shift lever in neutral with engine racing and after about 2 seconds the engine slowly drops to idle. No accidents caused because no one was in front of me. Very dangerous situation! took car to the dealer on May 15th and they could find no codes present and said the vehicle was operating as designed.

- Ft Myers , FL, USA

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