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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,693 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #58

Jul 022016


  • miles


I purchased this car for my fiance in April July 2016 we noticed a clicking noise in the steering wheel. This noise is unbearable. Theread is a lot of loose play in the stearing wheel and the car swerves from side to side as if you need an alignment. I took it to different mechanics but they really didn't know what it was.Kia said it wasn't a problem.yea it gots to be a problem if it's making a loud noise like that.this is a problem and I hope it doesn't cause anyone to get killed.they vehicle makes the noise when turning and it's so bad now it does it when you hit bumps in the road.

- York, SC, USA

problem #57

Feb 292016


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While driving various speeds, the steering wheel moved independently. The contact heard an abnormal noise coming from the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering column needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 112,000.

- Gray, LA, USA

problem #56

Jul 082016


  • miles
Steering column has gone out and I haven't had the vehicle a good five months yet!

- De Kalb, MS, USA

problem #55

Jul 252016


  • miles


My tires have had issues with extremely quick ware on the outside tread since about a year after purchase of the vehicle brand new in 2011. I have been told multiple times that it was just time to change the tires or have them rotates/balanced. The dealership wanted me to pay for an alignment and I took it somewhere else for a 2nd opinion - got an alignment done (which helped for about a month) took it back to the dealership, had it reset to factory settings - and the problem continues.. I have gone through so many tires... in addition, I now recently have an issue with a very loud clanking noise in the steering column, very intense steering wheel vibration in addition to a click noise when I turn hard right or left, it almost feels like the steering wheel is loose somewhere.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #54

Jan 012016


  • 62,000 miles
My steering started making a clunking noise at 62,000 miles it was intermittent at that time while driving the car. I now have 83,000 miles and it is a constant clunking sound whenever the wheel is turned to any position when driving the care and also stationary and while the care is in park. It also clunks when I am driving on uneven surfaces.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #53

Mar 252016


  • 98,000 miles
March 2016 while traveling on highway at 65 mph and passing a slow moving vehicle car lost power, became difficult to steer and unresponsive. We were lucky that we were right by rest area and coasted safely. Inspected the vehicle while and noticed a smell reminding an electrical short/fire. Car was towed to Kia dealer and diagnosed to be engine failure. The engine was inspected and per dealer it was pristine, Kia decided to cover under warranty @ approx 98K miles. Dealer stated that per Kia it was due possibly to non oem oil filter (nice). When we got the car back it did not want to start occasionally, where it hesitated especially as temperatures increased. Noticed dealer, dealer took it in verified battery and starter were to spec. In June on a hot day car almost did not start, set an appointment with dealer for later in the week. Next day car did not start, was towed to dealer and diagnosed to week starter. Starter was replaced and car started on for one day, the second day temperatures increased and car was dead with similar electrical meltdown, also noticed fog lights were not working after bulb replacement. Dealer diagnosed with Kia to bad engine again due to tolerances causing friction and more heat. Spoke to Kia and started a case but they just want to replace the engine again and not discuss potential issues with electrical harness compromise and ongoing issue with engine failing for no reason. This car is scarry and hope it does not start on fire when the third engine fails.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #52

Jun 012016


  • 50,000 miles


Clicking in the steering wheel with vibration. The only time it doesn't click is when going completely straight. It occurs the whole time I'm driving.

- Marysville, WA, USA

problem #51

May 132016


  • 119,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While driving 55 mph, the steering column became difficult to turn when changing lanes. In addition, a loud knocking noise disrupted the contact's steering capability. It was diagnosed that the steering column coupler in the steering linkage malfunctioned. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 119,000.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #50

Feb 232016


  • 72,000 miles
The steering making knocking sound while still and driving and while braking the steering starts shaking and makes the knocking sound. Most people said its a plastic coupling that gets replaced for $400 and I can't keep paying that much money each time it gets messed up this is the second time I've gotten fix three months the noise came back

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #49

May 032016


  • 70,000 miles
A flexible coupling had to be replaced in the steering wheel. The cost of the part was $1.35. The labor to replace the coupling was $250. I paid a total of $287.17 to replace a part that cost $1.35. The steering was loose causing the issue to be imperative to replace.

- Broussard, LA, USA

problem #48

Apr 282016


  • 84,000 miles


Unable to drive straight. Pulls to left and right. I'm driving all over the lane. Wears me out just trying to drive it. And all this clicking noise going on...why doesn't Kia fix these problems" why is it such a mystery?? why isn't this a recall? an automobile that won't drive straight? are you kidding me"

- Georgetown, SC, USA

problem #47

Mar 122016


  • 90,700 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While making a left or right turn at approximately 35 mph or when the vehicle was idling, an abnormal sound emitted from the steering wheel without warning. In addition, the failure occurred after rolling over a bump in the road. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the steering coupler assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 90,700. The VIN was unavailable.

- Colquitt, GA, USA

problem #46

Apr 082016


  • miles
While sitting with the car running the steering wheel has play and makes a knocking sound while moving the when back and forth.

- Ftort Myers, FL, USA

problem #45

Apr 022016


  • 69 miles
Hearing a knocking noise in the steering wheel while sitting still or moving when the steering wheel is moved from side to side, alot of freeplay in the steering wheel. When you hit a bump there is a loud clanking noise from the steering column and the noise is progressing. This has been on going but it is now getting worse. I've always taken my car to Kia for my oil changes and have inquired about the noise and they have assured me there was nothing worng, when I took it to get my oil change on Saturday 4/2 they said the warranty expired at 100,000 miles and I told them I mentioned it to them when my car had less then 100,000 and he then said it doesn't cover the steering wheel.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #44

Mar 252016


  • 76,250 miles
While taking the car in to the service department for a transmission problem, they did a 360 check and noticed the steering column had play in it and made a clicking noise about a quarter turn each direction. It is a plastic gear piece that is smaller than a quarter, picture will be attached. They said if I didn't get it fixed it would get eventually worse by wearing out the tires or alignment so I had it replaced. They had to take apart the steering wheel to replace it. It was 20 for the piece but with labor my bill was 181.

- Va Beach, VA, USA

problem #43

Mar 012016


  • 78,000 miles
Hearing a knocking noise in the steering wheel while sitting still or moving when the steering wheel is moved from side to side, alot of freeplay in the steering wheel. When you hit a bump there is a loud clanking noise from the steering column. I was told by my friend who has a 2012 Optima that he has the same problem and he was told by the dealership that it was a plastic gear in the steering column and would cost roughly $300 to fix. Upon research with this issue I have come across several owners that seem to have the same problem which Kia knows about. I feel that Kia should correct this problem at their expense before this issue kills someone.

- La Porte, TX, USA

problem #42

Jan 032016


  • 64,000 miles
Hard to steer, along with a noise inside the car that sounded like a loose piece in the steering column. Car has 64,000 miles on it. Dealer said part is a steering column coupler and not covered by warranty. Cost was $332.

- Milford, MI, USA

problem #41

Dec 162015


  • 85,000 miles
The steering wheel is very loose and thumps when I move it back and forth. I also hear a thumb under the car on the passenger side when I back up and when I come to a stop.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #40

Aug 012015


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the steering wheel started violently shaking without warning. In addition, the contact stated that there was an abnormal noise emitting from the steering wheel. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #39

Feb 142014


  • 73,000 miles
Low beams are not illuminating.. the refelective paint inside has burned off and I cannot drive at night with out my high beams due to the fact that I can't see more than 2 feet in front of my car. The steering on my car started this clicking noise when turning and the steering wheel rattles when I go over the smallest bump on the road. It is also wearing out my tires and causing my car to pull slightly to the left or right.

- Orlando, FL, USA

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