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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,564 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.

2012 Kia Optima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Sep 202016


  • 54,450 miles


The car will not start after a short trip to market, shop for - Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #21

Aug 282016


  • 70,000 miles
The care staled at low speed pulled over side of road and smoke was coming from engine, opened the hood and fire had started at front top of engine under the air cleaner, some ware, has not been determined what caused it.

- Grants Pass, OR, USA

problem #20

Aug 202016


  • 47,000 miles
Stopped at red light and car shut down. Checked under hood which had smoke coming from it. Ground wire was melted. Officer was contacted and helped push car to safety. Tow company was called and car was loaded we road with the tow truck driver. Half way to destination, the car was smoking heavily. We pulled over and looked under the hood and there were flames. We used the fire extinguisher and the flames got worse. Car burned with total loss. Tow truck partially burned...updated 10/04/16

- Navarre, OH, USA

problem #19

Jul 302016


  • 75,000 miles


2012 Kia Optima caught fire while driving 45 mph & was unable to accelerate/break. Recently was taken for service with no items that would cause the issue...updated 10/04/16

- Hampton Cove, AL, USA

problem #18

Jul 202016


  • 44,935 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled and the instrument panel failed. The vehicle failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 44,935. Updated 09/30/16

- Hudson, MA, USA

problem #17

Jun 092016


  • 3,200 miles
I have sent in complaints on my Kia many of times and the one just came out about the latches, mine is not on the recall list. I have had the middle part of my glass crack the windshield that was and still under warranty and more but it seems I am being over looked on my car. I guess the only action to take is a class action lawsuit against Kia America. When you have the proof they still do not believe you.

- Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #16

Feb 172016


  • 17,987 miles


Another problem with my 2012 Kia Optima ex. I started my car two weeks ago fine and drove to the store 3.1 miles away. After getting back to my car I click push button to unlock the door on the car, nothing happen. I had to remove the key from the key switch I carry to get in. I pushed the break to start it but no start. Words came up above the mileage telling me to insert key. When I bought the car I was told that in the glove box was a key charger and that was it. I got a person from the service department to come out to check it and he said it could be the battery in the key that might be dead. He replaced the battery in which they had one and it still would not start. He then said put the key in the charger, I did so and it started. This makes the second problem at this time that seems to be a electric problem with this car. Any help or has anyone had this problem on a keyless switch?

- Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #15

Jan 142016


  • 79,000 miles
Im having intermittent electrical and suspension problems along with sudden increases of power increase and decreases. I was driving to my local mall before my evening class and noticed my car radio and instrument cluster where not operating no lights but car was running fine. I hit the brakes while coming to a stop light in a busy intersection hit a small bump the car decided to accelerate and it felt as if the suspension was loose on the left front side I heard it rattle now this bump wasn't big by any means as I hit the break I could feel the brakes fight with the engine the brake pedal also shook at my feet. I quickly put the Kia in neutral and shut the car off still at the light. Put it in park and restarted my car all light and instrument cluster came on along with Optima felt ok. But later I went to class got into my car and she wouldn't turn over I had to press on the gas to get it to start. I took it to the dealer they said they couldn't find anything besides my high temp fuel pump was giving low pressure codes. I only have 80K on this vehicle but Kia said they will not cover it. This a serious safety issue why if my kids where in the car and I did get into a serious accident with them. This needs to be addressed. Something needs to be done before there is a death no after the fact.

- Barnstable, MA, USA

problem #14

Sep 182015


  • 31,000 miles
Just bought my car this year with 26350 miles on it. When it got to 30000 needed new tires. The car check engine light keeps coming on. I have took it to the shop and they turn it off. Then when I drive it and it comes back on again. It has broke down on the road four times. Twice I called road side help the other two times someone has helped me. It runs hot because it is bubbling if I drive for more then a hour. Bought the car from power of bowser

- Mc Kees Rocks, PA, USA

problem #13

May 112013


  • 20,000 miles
At 20000 miles my fog lights would not work, the weird put the directional signal to turn right they would come on for a short time, replaced bulbs nothing they don't work. Also had to replace brakes and the tires, tire brand are junk, poorly made they were beyond the limit for safty, then at 40000 miles both front wheel bearings had to be replaced, now at 78000 miles the struts are making a horrible clanking and the ac is blowing hot air even after 2 cans of the stuff the mechanic said to add. I travel on the highway to work 36 miles one way daily hense the milage but the high way is smooth as well. Very disappointed Kia owner, when called to ask about the fog lights was told your problem so im sure the struts will be and the ac will also be my problem. Sadly thought they would back up there product

- Dalton, NH, USA

problem #12

Sep 292014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 66,000 miles


2012 Kia Optima sx car went into auxiliary mode first, but upon pushing the button the push start button a second time the engine turned over and started. The consumer had to replaced the tires, there was an issue with the turbo actuator and the radio was making a strange noise. The consumer stated the vehicle would not start. The vehicle went into auxiliary; where the ac, radio and lights were on. She turned them all off and pushed the start button again. The vehicle turned off, went out of auxiliary mode and she removed her foot from the brake. On the second attempt, she realized the pedal was still engaged, she tried pumping it, to release it, but it would not. She verified the gear was in park. Upon pushing the start button again, the vehicle went into auxiliary mode again. After five attempts, she was able to start the vehicle.

- Auburn, CA, USA

problem #11

Nov 072014


  • 80,000 miles
The interior overhead lights periodically come on and go off while operating our 2012 Optima. This occurs with the switch in both on and off position and the lightbulbs tend to become overheated.they do not respond to manual operation, but go off on their own and this malfunction repeats several times in a ten minute drive. Best-case scenario results in the bulbs burning out prematurely, but I believe there is a real chance of a more serious short-circuit and potential interior fire.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #10

Sep 142014


  • 29,680 miles
Key fob was placed on the roof of the car to enable female adult to place child into safety booster seat. Key fob was left on roof by accident, but the car was still allowed to start. The car gave no audible warning that the key was still outside the car. The car was driven 10 miles. In the intervening time, the key fob flew off the top of the car and was lost. No audible warning was given to the driver that the key left the car's proximity. Upon arriving at the destination, the female adult and her child were stranded.

- Arlington, TN, USA

problem #9

Aug 082014


  • 35,500 miles
My satellite radio has been cutting in and out ever since I bought the car. Dealer says antennae was replaced. Problem still exists. I have brought car back several times and they were not able to duplicate.

- Boca Raton , FL, USA

problem #8

May 162012


  • 53 miles
I have had this vehicle for over 2 years now and have about 30,000 miles on it. I took this car to the dealership within a week after I bought it for problems with steering and it's inability to stay straight on the road without having to continually adjust the steering wheel. I was told that there was nothing they could find wrong with it. But after finding this website, I now understand that I am not the first one to have this issue. Recently I have had an issue with the air conditioner. It works fine when the car is driving but when it is stopped or idling, the air suddenly blows warm air and doesn't start to blow cold until a few seconds after the car has started moving.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #7

Oct 112011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 32 miles
The horn is under powered. It one of those "road runner" "meep-meep" sounding horns and cannot alert other drivers effectively. The 2013 Optima sx vehicle has a regular "american" horrn sound. Why not recall to change the horn type? ## VIN passed ## Kia Optima sx 2012 ##

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #6

Apr 022012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 150 miles
Steering is very unstable. Extremely afraid of this car - I feel like I am not in control when driving, I constantly have to fight to stay straight. Veers/pulls left and right as if im bouncing in between the lines on the interstate. My stomach stays in knots in fear I will hit another vehicle, or worse a concrete barrier in the construction on the interstate. It feels as if 3-5 seconds I am not in control, my arms are exhausted by the time I arrive to my work, home, or elsewhere. Have complained several times to Kia dealer when having oil changed & I am always told nothing is wrong or cannot duplicate problem. Four mechanics have driven my car elsewhere and agree there is a safety issue and Kia should recall and fix before it cost someone/a family their lives. My dash lights also surge to maximum brightness at any random moment while driving - all on their own. I recently started having issues with starting my car, I bought my car in March 2012 and currently have 14K miles (highway for work). Recently, twice my car felt as if it was not going to start, sputtering, smell of exhaust inside car. I also have issues if I am at a red light/stopped and when I accelerate sometimes the car feels as if it dies out for a second - misfiring. I can not pass in traffic out of fear my car will not respond when I try to accelerate. My car constantly will not connect to my phone, or keeps a call display on the radio after the call has ended (freezes) until I restart my car. I feel there is something terribly wrong with the wiring/electrical/steering with my car and several others according to other complaints on here! Toyota recalled only after a death, Hyundai/Nissan/Dodge all just recalled immediately - what about us Kia? I have a family in this sedan that is going to end up costing my life or worse, my entire family's lives! please address this problem!!!!! steering is not normal or safe!!!

- Gonzales, LA, USA

problem #5

May 102012


  • 120 miles
I bought this Kia Optima sx in May 2012 because it's a beautiful car, basically with no hesitation. My first day driving it, I thought the steering felt a little different, tight, and pulled to the left and right and very hard to keep it going straight. I thought to myself, well it's a brand new car and has to be broken in a little maybe. About 500 miles in, problem didn't go away, took it to the dealer, they inspected the alignment, said alignment was ok, but the psi in tires was a little off and that it should fix the issue. Nothing has changed. Week later I took it in again. Was told everything is up to spec, and was told I am the first person to report this kind of issue with the car. I go home that night and google Optima steering problem...the search engine goes nuts!!! this is a issue with the Optima since 2011!!! I'm a truck driver and I can barely steer this car!!! how can this be safe on the roads"?" there is thousands of complaints of this exact problem!! when my wife drives it she tells me she can't even take a drink of her soda because she has to pay so much attention to holding the wheel straight!! I feel the same way!! come on Kia!!! come on D.O.T. it's only just a matter of time before this car causes a serious accident!! obviously the electronic power steering isn't safe!! so recall it!!

- New Berlin, WI, USA

problem #4

Aug 082012


  • 13,800 miles
Was sitting at light and went to take off car felt like it didn't want to shift into gear and had a loud rough grinding noise, all lights on the dashboard came one. Brake light, check engine light, coolant, etc and none of the gauges were working. I stopped at the store and went to leave the car would start up but wouldn't go into gear, it was stuck in park. I had to get it towed to the dealership to have it looked at. I had just had this same problem 1 week ago where all the lights were on and the gauges weren't working and the dealership had supposedly replaced the fuse panel box but that apparently didn't fix the problem. I think that it's a computer or engine issue.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #3

Feb 012012

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
I bought Kia Optima 2012 in month of January 2012. Since I own vehicle I notice that car is steering to it's left side. I called dealer and reported this issue. Dealer suggests issue is because of electronic control system. I noticed this problem since I own and dealer advise that it should go away after few thousand miles. In my opinion this is dangerous and must be adversely effecting to tires and other steering mechanism components.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

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