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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
25,908 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.

2014 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2014 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #20

Sep 242016


  • 48,000 miles


While driving with my family of 4 on the freeway in a desolate area of santa clarita on 9/24/16 at 3:15pm my vehicle shut off without any warning. We were going 65 mph, all lights on the dash flashed and the car shut off. We were in the 2nd lane and had to use the momentum of speed to make it to the shoulder, we were almost hit. Once we made it to the shoulder of this busy freeway, we were unable to start the car, put windows up or down, open the trunk etc. The car was completely dead. We sat waiting for aaa and hoping not to get hit. It was 85 degrees out and my 74 year old mother and disabled sister sat in the car for 30 mins until the tow truck arrived. If we weren't so lucky or if we were in the righter lanes of traffic 4 lives could have been lost that day. I am very anxious and nervous to drive the vehicle again however; I have no choice it is our families primary vehicle. The service rep at the dealership told be prematurely that it is the motor however; the diagnosis is not finalized. I fear for the safely of my family and friends in the car now, and really do not want to drive it again. It gives me major anxiety especially since I drive from ca to AZ 4 times a year and now fear this happening in the middle of the desert. I don't understand how a car 19 month old with 48K miles can have this type of issue. Actually I don't know how any car any age and miles can have the issue of just shutting off without warning, it is a major safety concern.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #19

Sep 242016


  • 40,379 miles
I was driving on the interstate this past weekend when I heard this knocking sound at about 70 pulled to the side of the road pressed the accelerator and the noise became louder. I then called road side assistant and attempted to make to the closet gas station when the car jerked heard a loud noise and the car shut completely off and would not start, I was able to coast to the shoulder. Long story short car has been serviced by Kia since I purchased it in November 2015 with 16,725 miles used, it currently has less than 41,000 miles (not knowing that the power train warranty is only 5 years 60000 miles if you aren't the original owner until the claim was filed). When the Kia service manager called me he said the engine had seized up and the engine needed to be replaced. However he has to wait on authorization. I was 166 miles away from home they could not provide a rental I had to pay out of pocket but will be reimbursed. It will take a week to replace which means paying for a rental and I have to go pick up my car once it is repaired so I will be taking off work. A defective motor although its covered by the warranty is costing me. I was ensured that the new motors have been changed so that I will not have the same problem 40,000 miles later. I wonder if the warranty is going to be extended with the new motor. A recall need to be issued. The connecting rod in the engine becomes too hot either it siezes or breaks. My Optima is a turbo I am not sure about the others.

- Jaksonville, FL, USA

problem #18

Aug 042016


  • 66,000 miles
Car stalling when accelerating from a stopped position making turns. This is very dangerous to public safety and could cause major collisions. My car did it a few times before engine began knocking and had towed. The Kia dealership service department said it was a connector rod bearing defect and ultimately caused total engine failure. Kia is putting the burden on the consumers to prove the defect wasn't caused by poor maintenance even though they have extended warranty to dealerships. This problem will not go away until Kia repairs the defect in the engine and human life will be at stake.

- Conway, AR, USA

problem #17

Apr 182016


  • 51,000 miles


The contact owns a 2014 Kia Optima. While driving 70 mph, the vehicle made a loud noise from the engine bay. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that there was sludge build up in the engine. The engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 51,000.

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #16

Jun 202016


  • 53,000 miles
I was driving home from work and stopped at a red light. My car stalled and I had to restart vehicle. There were no lights on before or after the car turned off. White smoke appeared. So much smoke I could not tell if it was from back or front of car. I drove the car a couple more blocks and heard an extremely loud knocking noise, car started jerking and trying to die/stall and again a ton of smoke. I parked the car and had it towed to dealership. Someone from service dept called and said it was a bad battery and would be 350+ to replace the battery. He lied and told me he put a new battery in it and drove it around the block and it was fine. I spoke to service manager to properly diagnose my vehicle. I has ot pay diagnostic fee and was told 5 days later that it was engine failure and I needed to provide maintenance receipts. I told them I had just moved and the only receipts I could get were the ones in the car until I could get through the boxes in storage and garage. They said to provide what I could find. I was able to easily locate 4 receipts (they wanted 10, vehicle has 53,000 miles) I explained again that I knew the car had a defective engine and expected it be covered under warranty. I was notified 10 days later that the vehicle would not be covered by warranty and I escalated my claim to Kia customer care. In the meantime, I have been told that they will file vehicle abandonment on my car if I do not remove or repair. I have yet to be given an exact amount of cost to repair. I provided the extended warranty that Kia mailed out on June 10, 2016. It was pushed back at me and I was told "they know about it, but it's not covered" I was not injured, but I was not on major highway and only on side residential street when it occurred and was able to safely get to side of road. Kia knows of the defect and danger it poses & refuses to recall this vehicle.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #15

Jul 142016


  • 39,000 miles
Car completely shut down doing 40 miles per hour--- -was told engine seized --engine being replaced no power steering no brakes barely avoided an accident on a highway heavy traffic due to construction

- Chicopee, MA, USA

problem #14

Jun 132016


  • 22,000 miles


While driving on the highway at 70mph the vehicle experienced a complete loss of power. The engine turned off, loss of power steering, loss of power braking, and immediate deceleration of the vehicle. This incident posed a hazardous condition for both this vehicle and other vehicles on the road. The vehicle was pulled to the side of the road and was restarted. There was no accident or injuries related to this incident. The key was in the on position, no check engine light was triggered. Based on other complaints, it appears that this is a manufacturer engine issue for which the manufacturer is not issuing a recall or honoring the manufacturer warranty. The vehicle has ~22,000 miles and all manufacturer suggested maintenance has been performed on time per the manufacturer's specifications.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #13

May 092016


  • 36,200 miles
May 9th 2016, driving to work on I-44 heading to work, my vehicle without warning shuts off and dies, I start to see white smoke come from the engine compartment, I safely pull the car over to shoulder because it was still rolling. Exit the vehicle and open the hood, and the engine catches fire on the driver side of the engine. I have spoken to many certified mechanics all with the same answer that it was an electrical fire. I have since completed the total loss process with my insurance. I have contacted Kia Consumer Affairs who were absolutely zero help. The vehicle was still under warranty as it only had just over 36000 miles.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #12

May 052016


  • 33,550 miles
The contact owns a 2014 Kia Optima. While driving 40 mph, the engine oil warning light illuminated and black smoke emitted from the exhaust. The vehicle was taken to a dealer on multiple occasions where it was diagnosed that the engine oil needed to be replenished. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 33,550.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 052016


  • miles
One morning I turned the car on and saw bunch of white light blue smoke coming out of the tail pipe after running the engine for few minutes smoke went away drove it around nothing drove good so Monday I called West covina Kia told about the smoke and said it was a bad batch of gas so they said put ejector cleaner in the tank and that should help it out so I did ran good for a while and the smoke started up again but now the engine made a rattling sound so called Kia of West covina and said bring it in so left it there they did a diagnostic test and said I had sludge in my engine and that the engine was starving for oil so the bad news is no receipt no warranty it wouldn't be covered so this has to come out of my pocket and I need a new engine which it's going to cost me $6500 I did my oil changes but can't show proof of it so I'm stuck with the bill I don't think it's right they know they have defective engines.I'm not the only one with this issue, many people are having the same problem and I only have 19.000 miles on it have it for 2 years there shouldn't be problems on this new cars but this guy's found a loop hole and now they are screwing with consumers they should man up about their faulty engines they should recall the engines

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #10

Feb 152016


  • 28,000 miles


Less than 30,000 and my engine is shot! I took my car for service in January 2016, told them I was seeing black smoke and I was told it was nothing. I actually was told to put fuel injector cleaner in with every fill-up. I continued to have the problem and took it back in February 15, 2016. Now they say I have sludge in my engine and warranty won't cover, because we used the wrong oil doing our own oil changes. I provided copies of the pages from the owner's manual showing that we used the correct oil, but no luck. After a week I was told the engine would be replaced via a "goodwill gesture", but a rental will not be covered. I was also told my car would be out within 7 days....ffwd 35 days...still no car and when I get someone on the phone from the service dept, I'm given the run-around and promised that I will be called back within a few hours with an update. Well, it's been 96 hours this time and I'm still waiting. Not only do you not have calls returned, emails are not responded to either. This has been the worst experience with a service department ever. Thankfully I only kept the rental that they made me pay for 15 days. (I still believe I deserve reimbursement for it.)

- Orange Park, FL, USA

problem #9

Dec 152015


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2014 Kia Optima. While the vehicle was in motion, black smoke appeared from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but they were unable to provide a permanent remedy for the repair due to excessive sludge. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Statesville, NC, USA

problem #8

Nov 022015


  • 34,000 miles
Car cuts off while driving, doesn't matter if going 40 mph or 80 mph.......engine tach drops to "0"........foot feed doesn't keep trying to give gas up and down.......finally will buck as trying to cutting in and cutting out.....finally will then drive as may coast down to from 80 to 20 mph before it goes again. No dash lights indicated, do not have to turn key to start, does not......cause a check engine light, no codes indicated...........daughter almost got rear end on the interstate......someone is going to get killed!!!! without a doubt a major "safety issue"..................reading numerous complaints of other Kia models having the same issue.................this needs to be looked into, how many lives have been lost from Kia's cutting off while driving"????"

- Winterville, GA, USA

problem #7

Dec 012015


  • 9,000 miles
Vehicle experiences the same issues that are also happening on Hyundai sonatas with their engine recalls. While traveling at highway speeds of 50-60 mph and then accelerating, the engine may sometimes jerk/sputter as if about to stall. This may be due to the fact that the engines were not cleaned properly while being manufactured, leaving mechanical debris within, as stated by the Hyundai engine recall investigation.this can become a major concern as the car could potentially become unresponsive on the highway or even slow down/ stop suddenly in the case that the engine may stall.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #6

Feb 112015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
I was in a parking structure, stopped at a stop sign. I continued a few feet to my designated parking stall and when I turned the wheel the car accelerated at what felt and sounded like full throttle on it's own. The surge of the vehicle forced the car to crash into a concrete wall causing extensive damage to the vehicle and bodily injury to myself. The vehicle is only a few months old. This car has some very serious safety issues. Someone could have been killed. Now I am terrified to ever drive it again.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #5

Nov 132014


  • 6,200 miles
I pulled off a frontage road on to the highway into a construction zone. While driving about 25-30 mph my hazard lights clicked on when my blinker went off, I realized my power steering was gone and I was loosing control. I coasted to the side of the road and realized my engine had shut off on its own. Scared me to death! if I would have been driving faster or going around a turn I would have been in serious danger! I gathered my thoughts as to what happened, called my husband and he said to try and simply restart the car. It started on the first turn w/ no hesitation. I took the car to the dealer the following day and was told that there were no codes showing and it was probably just a glitch and they tried to send me home in it! that is a major problem to me! I believe I deserve an explanation and a fix for the problem rather than told it probably wont happen again, so don't worry about it! after spending 4 hours at the dealership they decided to keep the car for another few days and put me in a rental. I pray they find the cause since I don't feel safe until they do.

- Carterville, IL, USA

problem #4

Mar 252014


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2014 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle would hesitate to accelerate and would attempt to stall. The contact mentioned that the failure would accelerate independently. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who could not duplicate the problem. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #3

Apr 242014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Purchased my new Optima on 4/14/2014 (Monday) and later that same week and first of the following week heard a noise best described as a diesel engine idle sound at startup. Took it into my dealership on 4/24/2014 to find out it was in need of a new engine. After looking on a forum for these cars, this site and others, this seems to be an issue with the turbo model of this car and year. I believe that Kia needs to address this issue due to it's severity.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #2

Jan 162014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 829 miles
I had my car kid Optima 2014 2 weeks (800 miles on my new ).the engine was making a knocking noises took it back to dealership it was the piston not working fully they said I was going to have to have engine replaced.I don't want the car ! I'm not happy.

- Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 062014


  • 5,000 miles
My Kia Optima 2014 started a noise near the engine that sounds like a clapping noise. The first Kia dealer I took it to said that it is not to worry and is part of the Kia engineering design. The second Kia dealer I took it to said that the noise is bad news and after further diagnostics, they determined that the entire engine needed to be replaced. Just 5,000 miles into the life of my brand new Kia Optima 2014. I want people to be aware that if you hear a clapping noise near the top of the engine than please take it into a Kia dealer immediately while it is still under warranty. It is not currently a Kia recall but I feel it should be since this can lead to replacing the entire engine. Thank you.

- Victorville, CA, USA

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