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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,289 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.

2013 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #30

Mar 152016


  • 57,000 miles


In March of 2016 my 2013 Kia Optima died at an intersection in town. There was no prior warning of any malfunction, (no lights, no abnormal behaviors), but the oil light did come on very briefly right before the engine died. I put gas and 1 quart of oil in then jumped the battery and drove the car to the nearest Kia dealership. Kia informed me that I needed a new battery and that my oil was too thick, dirty, and viscous and that I needed to have an oil change and have a special treatment put in the car, (seafoam), to help clean the engine out. We were instructed to bring the car back in 500 to 1000 miles (against manufacturers recommendations), to flush the treatment out of the engine and change the oil again. We returned with the car a little over 500 miles later and Kia informed us that it needed another special treatment because the oil reremained dirty so they put another treatment in the car and then instructed us to bring it back again in 500 to 1000 miles but after 4 days the car started making a very loud tapping noise coming from the engine and soon after the engine was ruined all together due to a faulty connecting rod bearing in the crankshaft. When we drained the oil 4 days after Kia changed it, it was black, thin like water and full of dirt and sediment. After the loud engine noises began I brought the car back to Kia who then informs me it would cost another $350 to diagnose what was wrong with the engine. Feeling like they had treated the engine improperly already I had the car towed to a private mechanic and declined any more of their services. I had completed my oil changes on time despite not having my record at the time of my service however Kia refused to honor my expensive extended warranty stating that I could not have possibly done the oil changes at regular intervals due to the high amount of sludge in the engine.

- Prescott Valley, AZ, USA

problem #29

Sep 302016


  • 40,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle used in May 2016. I have only had one oil change and the car has 40,000 miles. I was driving the car at 55 mph. The vehicle cut off and I coasted to the edge of the road. Vehicle was towed to Kia dealership. They dealership advised that the engine is blown and no oil was inside. No warning lights, no oil leaks but they won't pay

- Clinton, MS, USA

problem #28

Sep 232016


  • 70,000 miles
Gdi engine burns oil, connecting rod failed. White smoke, and makes weird noise under hood when gets to 60mph

- Yukon, OK, USA

problem #27

Jun 012015


  • 32,000 miles


After purchasing the vehicle brand new we noticed a problem with the steering. When you turned the steering wheel while stopped you would get a loud knocking noise. The power steering rack was replaced twice already and the vehicle just now has 43,000 miles. Our biggest concern has been an engine knocking noise that started to occur at just over 35,000 miles when you start vehicle. We had brought our vehicle to libertyville Kia in libertyville, il for our problem and they said they could not duplicate what we are hearing. The service manager verbally told me to wait for it to get worse that it is hard to get Kia to cover this known engine problem. After reaching out to Kia with this engine problem and getting no help except them blaming us for lack of oil changes and maintenance. Which was absurd when we only took the vehicle to Kia for service since purchasing new. Filed a formal complaint with Illinois attorney generals office lisa madigan to get help with this and Kia has botched their records and still sdays we have not maintained the vehicle properly. Buyers of Kia and Hyundai I strongly urge to think again. I hope everyone that has had problems like this get the honest help they deserve.

- Vernon Hills, IL, USA

problem #26

Sep 222016


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Kia Optima. While driving 55 mph, the vehicle vibrated abnormally and stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle, but was concerned about driving the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that there was a connector rod in the engine that was fractured. The contact was also informed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 79,000.

- Prince Frederick, MD, USA

problem #25

Sep 222016


  • 57,000 miles
Same issue as everyone else. Showed receipts of consistent oil changes and they refused to honor the warranty due to sludge. The dealer said they called Consumer Affairs but the regional manager refused to honor the work.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #24

Sep 092016


  • 83,314 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 20 mph, on an incline with the accelerator pedal depressed, the vehicle rolled back. In addition, the vehicle lost power. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 83,314. The VIN was not available.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #23

Jul 222016


  • 65,929 miles
When ideling the engine would start sputtering. Mechanics said it need an oil control value and it may fix it, but they couldn't do that because the warranty would not cover it, because I couldn't produce all the service records. I took the car because they said the engine light was off, but as soon as I got in the car the light was on. They said the couldn't do anything. Once I got the car home and drove it for one day the car would be running and just shut off.when turning or ideling. I took it to another Kia mechanic they put in the oil control value (some how it was covered under the warranty). The mechanics said it might fix the problem. It did not fix the problem and now Kia is saying it needs a new engine and Kia will not replace it even though I have an extended warranty. They said since I could not produce all the maintenance service records they would not cover it. I call Kia Corp, and esp warranty and they would not do anything. At this time I filled a compliant with the state of Maryland consumer protection division. I have gotten a hold of a non-Kia mechanic and he said that he has heard the Kia was having problems with their engines.

- Fort Meade, MD, USA

problem #22

Jul 262016


  • 33,600 miles
My 2013 Kia Optima has had difficulty remaining in a sraight line on the freeway. Tends to pull left and right. The rate of travel is aprox. 45-65mph. There is also a problem with "oversteering" when I attempt to return to the center of the lane. I had been driving my other car for 29yrs, and I assumed that newer cars may have been differnt, such as being more sensitive with steering. I have almost had a collision on the freeway because there are also blind spots in several areas of the Kia otima. This time I did end up in collision because of blindspots and oversteering in order to avoid hitting the car next to me, and instead hit the car next to me on the other lane when I attempted to move out of their way this occurred from sensetive oversteering. Our airbags did not deploy. Before this accident, I had received a letter from Kia stating they wanted to know if I would like to trade up to the knew Kia Optima. The email stated they had new features; such as cameras for blind spots. This made me aware that Kia knew there was a problem with these serious.blindspots. The car was also beginning to rumble, and I believed it was coming from the engine, in fact quite sure it was from the engine. I also had received a letter in the mail from Kia, stating they were having problems with the engines from certain years of the Kia Optima my car was within the years stated. It stated they would honor this problem if you kept this letter in your car, when bringing it in for repairs. I was going to do this, but the car is now totaled after the accident.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #21

Jul 202016


  • 65,013 miles
Car only has 65,000 miles, has had regular oil changes, had to be towed to dealer. Found sludge in engine and needs to be replaced. Kia will not honor the warranty or extended warranty.

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #20

Jul 142016

Optima 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


Car was running fine or so I thought and @ 1 week after getting my oil changed there was excessive exhaust/smoke and my son and I thought it might be bad gas or clogged injectors. We drove it to AZ and back to nv. Car seemed to run ok at that point then my daughter took it to ca and the oil light started flickering on and off and finally the engine light came on. She took it to a jiffylube where they said it had no oil. What"!?!"! the oil was just changed at 47,000 miles. Put 4 qts in and took it aaa to run an engine diagnostic. Said everything was fine according to the code they got and reset the engine light. Wrong again.. daughter drove away and same problem. Took it back to aaa where they determined it was an internal engine problem and to take it to the dealership. Sludge everywhere in the engine. My car only has 48,000 miles on it and I have the oil changed as scheduled. Waiting to hear what Kia is going to do, but from the sounds of the prior complaints, they are not going to honor their warranty. I can¿T afford $5,000+ to replace the engine in my car. This is so ridiculous. They need to honor their warranty for their sh*tty engines.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #19

Jun 282016


  • 45,000 miles
Sludge in engine 45,000 miles. Warranty wont cover and apparently service campaign means nothing

- Yukon, OK, USA

problem #18

Jun 272016


  • 103,000 miles
I was driving down the highway at 65 mph and I heard a loud noise, my car started slowing down and I could hear a clanging noise, I stopped and parked and it was knocking loudly. Still can't drive it.

- Fort Thompson, SD, USA

problem #17

May 202016


  • 52,000 miles
The Kia Optima I purchased had low mileage only 46K bought it on March 2016 with carfax service records showing up to 26K miles on 5/4/15. Apperantly my engine had sludge and Kia is voiding there manufacturer warranty due to lack of maintenance. My turbo and engine need to be replaced, I find it hard to believe that with in a year a car csnibeat developed so much sludge, seems the car had already started collecting sludge even with regular oil changes. Kia needs to take action and honor there warranty. Now I can go passed 40 miles per hour on the freeway because lack of power

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 202016


  • 41,900 miles
Blown engine

- Grafton, WI, USA

problem #15

Dec 142015


  • 56,337 miles
Purchased a used 2013 Optima with 24,952 miles on 3/13/14. Completed scheduled 7500 mile oil changes with some one other than the dealership. At 56337 miles, the car started to make a clattering noise during acceleration. Soon after the engine light came on. Immediatly brought the car into dealship as it was still under warranty. After 4 hours of waiting, service tech took me to the back and said I had sludge in my oil and needed a new engine and warranty would not cover because it looked like the oil had not been changed on schedule. I argued the point knowing I had all changes done. He gave me other oil, wrong oil, etc. Did some research...ther are quite a few of the same complaints!

- Thibodaux, LA, USA

problem #14

Sep 212015


  • 48,450 miles
I had my oil change and two days later the oil light came on so I took it back to pit stop 500 and he's said it was low so he check the car said he didn't see any oil leaks if the oil light comes on again take it to Kia. When I left there while I was driving I could see white smoke coming out my pipes. I took it to the Kia dealership and they said the oil was low put oil in it again and said drive it 500 miles and if the oil light come on bring it back. While driving it home it stalled it wouldn't go over 30 miles and white smoke was coming out the pipes so I made a appointment and took it back now the dealership says it is sludge in the oil. I had did some research and discover ten Kia with the same exact problem and six of them are Kia Optima

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #13

Sep 092015


  • 35,800 miles
I leased the Kia Optima (2013) for 3 years. With 4 months left on the lease & 35,000 miles later, everything was perfect, no issues whatsoever, up until yesterday morning while driving to work. I was approaching a 4-way stop when I heard what sounded like the screech or a short blast of a hairdryer. Directly after 'the sound' I approached the stop sign, but even as I was slowing I felt that the car was sluggish. I came to a stop. When I tried to go again I realized the engine had stopped. I tried a few times to start the engine but it was completely dead. I had to go to work, so I called a friend who is a mechanic to come look at the car. He said he would take the battery to pep boys to have it checked, which he did, they said the battery was good. He advised me to call the car pros Kia of carson where I leased the car from as it was covered under the "100,000 mile/10 year warranty". when I got to the service department they told me they needed to do a diagnostic which would cost $119 and would "probably be covered by the warranty but you need to sign this form just in case it's not" of course, when they came back, they said I was not coverered under their warrenty because the engine was "bad' and had completely blown due to "black sludge'' in the oil compartment (this is a complete lie as my mechanic friend checked the oil that morning and it was good!!!) and they needed receipts for all of the services to my car going back one year as they needed to know who had been tampering with my car! for the record, I have all of the receipts from pep-boys and my mechanic who have done all of my oil changes religiously. Now I come to find out via research on the internet that there are law suits happening between consumers who are being blamed for not doing oil changes and causing chronic engine failure because Kia don't want to honor their warrenty!!!!

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 122015


  • 22,348 miles
The evening of 8/12/15 I was driving down a 4 lane city road, 2 lanes each direction. The engine completely shut off leaving me with no power and in a very dangerous situation with sudden deceleration and vehicles coming up from behind. Fortunately, no one hit me and I was able to move the car out of traffic. No engine maintenance/warning lights came on prior to the engine failure. We have been informed the engine is locked up and will need completely replace with a new engine. Routine maintenance, including Kia's 22,500 mile recommended maintenance was performed only 16 days prior on 7/27/15. Dave green, Kia arapahoe service manager, informed today (8/17/15) that they have seen several instances of this in the past week. They believe there is a connection to the hot weather. What ever the cause this has a very high potential to cause death or extreme injury.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #11

Jul 212015


  • 32,000 miles
Was driving to work(2013 Kia Optima appx 32000 miles) as I accelerated to merge on the intestate, a large cloud of smoke came out of the exhaust, there was no indication or any warning, there is no maintenance light to indicate there is a problem with the vehicle.I took the vehicle to my Kia dealership they removed the valve cover and was told there is excessive sludge on the engine that I would need a new engine, this is not cover by Kia warrenty, after doing several day of research I have discovered that there are many Kia owner who are experiencing the same type of problems we are being told that excessive sludge is the cause but most mechanic know that sludge is a symptom not a cause, and what is excessive 1%or 5% who makes that determanition? I have done regular oil changes myself. I contacted the Kia home office and am waiting for a reply.

- Diberville, MS, USA

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