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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
12 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
12 / 1
Average Mileage:
44,886 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.

2008 Kia Spectra seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Kia Spectra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

Oct 302014


  • 72,000 miles


The air bag warning light on passenger front seat side has not been working properly. Air bag light does not turn on when occupant in seat. Now no light working at all. Just recently the air bag warning light on driver side came on. I took to Kia dealership and they said my air bags have turned themselves off because the occupant sensor pad is bad in passenger side. They told me it would be over $2000 to repair because they have to replace the entire front seat pad. They said it was not covered under warranty. I am driving a car with no airbags and can't afford to get new seat replaced. I looked at the internet and there are hundreds of complaints of this same problem. Why have they not been recalled?

- Bowie, TX, USA

problem #25

Sep 042013


  • 85,000 miles
My vehicle began experiencing intermittent issues with the air bag "off" illuminating with a passenger sitting in the front seat. This has happened on a half dozen occasions that I have noticed and goes off when the passenger adjusts their sitting position. The vehicle surges intermittently when stopped. Additionally brake pedal has stuck on a few occasions when the engine is cool. The vehicle will also cut out on occasion when driving down the road. I put it in neutral to restart, and continue driving. These all happen intermittently with no apparent rhyme or reason to them.

- Nampa, ID, USA

problem #24

Dec 122013


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the front passenger side air bag light illuminated when the seat was occupied. The contact mentioned that the passenger side air bag light illuminated intermittently depending on the position the passenger was sitting. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the seat cushion needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 65,000.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #23

Jan 232014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • miles


My air bag light has been on since I bought the car which was maybe a year ago, I did not know what it meant until I started doing research. I do not feel comfortable knowing my air bags may not work! the car lot failed to tell me anything about this problem. I am very upset and this needs to be fixed by Kia or the car dealership.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #22

Jun 302014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 97,468 miles
The airbag light stays on, now we are being charged over $1000 to get it fixed. Is this a recall item? please reply.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

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problem #21

Jun 102014


  • miles
The air bag light has illuminated on the dash cluster and the light for the passenger side airbags will some times flash on and off like the exorcist. Even with a 200 pound adult in the passenger seat.

- Hampton, GA, USA

problem #20

May 092014


  • miles


The contact rented a 2008 Kia Spectra. The contact stated while driving approximately 35 mph, she crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy with the impact. The contact sustained contusions to the chest, right arm and left arm. There was also internal bleeding from the lungs and an injury to the right leg. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was to be repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was unavailable.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #19

Feb 262014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
The air bag light has illuminated on the dash cluster and the light for the passenger side airbags will some times come on and at other times will not, with a 200 pound adult in the passenger seat. I called Kia dealership and was told it would be $100 to check the code. The code indicates B1448 OCS failure - mat sensor. Dealership said there is only a five year 60,000 mile warranty on these parts. Problem is you can not replace just the part, you have to buy the complete seat bottom at a cost of $800 - $2,000 depending on the dealership that you speak with. This is a large cost to replace every 3 - 6 years (depending on age and mileage). Kia and Hyundai have had recalls before for the same air bag systems in other vehicles but refuse to recall the part in the Spectra.

- Bedford, IN, USA

problem #18

Oct 162013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 38,125 miles
2008 Kia Spectra ex w/ 38,125 miles on it. The air bag light stays on and after reading all the failure to deploy complaints, 1. I will sue the crap out of you rip offs if my bag does not deploy 2. I will never buy another Kia as long as I live.

- Auburn, IN, USA

problem #17

Jun 242013


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Spectra. The contact was driving 40 mph and crashed into a deer. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained neck and shoulder injuries and a police report was filed. The vehicle was not repaired or inspected for the cause of the air bag failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Fayetteville , TN, USA

problem #16

Jun 042013


  • miles


There were no accidents leading up to a failure. The airbag light in my 2008 Kia Spectra ex suddenly came on. After taking it in to a dealer, I was notified that the entire bottom portion of the seat needed to be replaced. The car could not tell if there was a person in the passenger seat. This deactivated the entire airbag system. Several other complaints are here: This does not seem to be an isolated issue, and should be addressed by Kia.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #15

May 312013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 136,137 miles
The sensor in the passenger seat was found to be defective during a state inspection. I had to replace the seat, which cost me $2,231.93. I was told by the autoshop, and by 2 different Kia dealerships that this seems to happen alot in Kia. I think that Kia should reimburse me for this but don't know how to go about that. I see that they have recalled other models for airbag malfunctions. This model should be looked into as well.

- Louisa, VA, USA

problem #14

Nov 302010

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
This vehicle does not consistently sense the front passenger, resulting in the airbag sensor being in the "off" mode even when a passenger is sitting there. The vehicle was checked by a Kia dealer, who said the computer did not note anything wrong. The service technician said "with some Kia's, the sensor does not detect a passenger in the seat unless they are sitting directly in the middle of the seat." This concerns us greatly, as, if we are in an accident, the passenger air bag will not deploy if the sensor does not register a passenger in the seat.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #13

Mar 102011

Spectra 4-cyl

  • miles
I started to have issues with my seat belt's and I called the dealer and took it in and they said they couldn't find an issue I continue to have problem's took it back several time's and they said the same thing now my seat belt's in the back of my car do not work at all I took it back and they said it was out of warranty that I would have to pay for it. Then after that I started having an issue with my passenger side seat and air bag the light on the dash next to the clock wouldn't go off or it just flickered and the air bag icon with the person on it came on and hasn't went off I told them about this issue as well and the said they couldn't find a problem but now that the light next to the clock has gone out and the person icon with the air bag on my dash just stay's on I took it to them and they said I would have to buy a passenger seat for $1,900 because my warranty for that part was up. I feel that they should fix these issues because they are a safety issue and I Transport small children in my car.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #12

Sep 042012


  • 58,000 miles
I actually own 2 Kia same year and model. Air bag light would come on and off when someone would sit in passenger seat. Then it started staying on all the time on so it was still under warranty so they replaced the sensor. Now my husbands Kia is doing the same exact thing and it is out of warranty so they refuse to fix it without charging me, so I have to ride with him at my own risk because I have no air bag protection on my side.

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #11

Dec 012012

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Vehicle hit from rear at high rate of speed and pushed into vehicle to drivers side and vehicle in front. Fire dept at scene said the vehicle was impacted where airbag sensor is and should have gone off. No airbags went off. Driver with serious injuries. Children in back seat very minor injuries.

- Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA

problem #10

Mar 082012

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
The contact owned a 2008 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that while traveling in rainy weather, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a pole. The front driver frontal and side curtain air bags failed to deploy. The driver sustained severe injuries from the impact and was killed. The failure and the current mileage was 41,000. Updated 04/23/12 updated 05/08/12 spoke with consumer, there was one death and no injuries. Updated 05/151/2

- Jacksonville, AR, USA

problem #9

May 052008


  • 0 miles
My son has a 2008 Kia Spectra and I have a 2009 Kia Spectra. Both cars have difficulty turning on the front passenger air bag when the car is/has been cold and my wife sits in the front passenger seat. She weighs approx 105 pounds and when the cars have been sitting in the cold, the sensors in the seat do not register that she's there. Consequently the passenger air bag is automatically turned off and would not deploy if we were in an accident. I have spoken with the Kia dealer about it and they say that if functions normally. But it doesn't. if the weather's warm, neither car seems to have the problem as often.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #8

Feb 022012

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 103,207 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Spectra. While traveling 40 mph, the contact crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The contact stated that the air bags did not deploy and the seat belt failed. As a result, the contact sustained two fractured collar bones. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence and had not been inspected for the failure nor repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 103,207. Updated 03/05/12 updated 03/08/12

- Pleasant Garden, NC, USA

problem #7

Aug 082011


  • 14,800 miles
The contact owned a 2008 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the steering wheel suddenly pulled to the right and the driver crashed into a pole. Upon impact, the airbags did not deploy. The driver suffered major injuries to his chest and later went to the hospital own his own for treatment. The police were not notified and a report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and they informed the contact that there was nothing wrong with airbags. The vehicle was deemed destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and inspected the vehicle. The failure mileage was approximately 14,800.

- Buluth, MN, USA

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