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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,219 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.

2009 Kia Spectra seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2009 Kia Spectra Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

May 202014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles


Air bag light came on. Took to dealer, folsom Kia in folsom ca. Was informed it was the passenger seat mat and it needed to be replaced. Part # 88202-2F7031931. Cost with discount approximately $1750. Informed this is a hazardous situation. Upon doing a search on the internet I have found quite a few complaints on this same issue. Those are from people who know about complaint forums. I suspect a flaw in the system. Since this is a safety situation, this should be investigated further.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #20

Mar 312014


  • 80,000 miles
My air bag light on my dashboard has been on for several weeks now. When I took my vehicle to be looked at they said that it would cost over a grand to repair it. They also said that if I don't repair it the air bags could deploy while driving or they may not even deploy if in an accident. I do not feel like my vehicle is safe to drive. I see a lot of people with this make and model having the same problems and that leads me to believe that it is an error on the manufactures part. I feel that a recall should be issued for this problem! if this does not get fixed I will never buy another Kia. Why would I buy a vehicle if I won't feel safe driving it?

- Union, MO, USA

problem #19

Jan 032013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The driver and passenger side airbag lights a staying on. I was told this could have them deploy while driving or not deploy at all if there in a accident. I have read many post about this issue with Kia's and there should be a recall on such safety components.

- Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #18

Feb 112014

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 85,250 miles


While driving my car to work, I noticed the air bag warning light illuminate on the dashboard. As I continued to drive my car, the warning light disappeared and then reappeared. After several days with the same problem, I took my car to an authorized Kia dealership for diagnostic testing. The technician discovered it to be the passenger side seat occupant mat failure. The final diagnosis was to replace the entire passenger seat at a cost of $1,900 including parts, labor, and tax. After doing some research into this matter, I discovered this to be an ongoing problem with this year, make and model. I'm surprised this has not been a recall on behalf of Kia motor corporation. This leaves many people with a decision to replace the entire seat at an exorbitant price or to do nothing and drive an unsafe car. The price of one car seat is nearly half the value of the entire resale value of the car. Kia needs to address this issue if they want repeat customers in the future.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 152013


  • 95,000 miles
My daughter owns a 2009 Kia Spectra a friend getting in the rear seat tried to open the door and the outside handle broke-off. About 6 months later the front inside driver-side door handle stop working. About 1 year later on Jan-31-2014 the front out-side drivers-side handle broke-off. Now no way to with no way to open the drivers door, this is very dangerous. With three handles broken there must be a recall on these handle. If there is not a recall, there should be one. Other problems with this, cam-shaft sensor had to be replaced, also the air-bag light is on. This car is junk, Kia should be ashamed of building it and selling it for $16,000 to $17,000.

- Lanett, AL, USA

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problem #16

Jan 282014


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated while driving 25 mph he was involved in a head on collision and the air bags did not deploy. There was a strong burning odor coming from the air bags. The vehicle was destroyed. Both the manufacture and the dealer have not been notified. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000 miles.

- Waynesville, NC, USA

problem #15

Oct 262013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 75,217 miles


Recently, in October 2013 at 75,217 miles, I had it serviced due to an airbag warning light on the console. The light was diagnosed as a problem with the passenger side seat occupant mat cushion. In other words, the passenger air bag sensor was faulty and needed to be replaced. I discovered that this is an extensive repair involving the replacement of the passenger seat itself. The cost of which was $1,717.11 for parts and labor. Both my mechanic and I were shocked that the seat itself cost $1,330.80 and was only manufactured by Kia, thus eliminating the option to shop around to seek the best price. My Spectra was outside warranty due to its mileage so the expense would fall to me. I've been surprised to learn that many other complaints have been filed noting this exact same safety problem, yet no recall was issued leaving many Spectra owners with the choice I had to make: Drive an unsafe vehicle or pay a very large repair bill.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 112013


  • 64,000 miles
I'm having problem with my passenger airbags. The airbag warning light on my dash will not go off and the on/off for the passenger airbag on the center console will no longer show if it is on or off, whether someone is sitting there or not. I took my car to a Kia dealership and they told me that Kia stops the warranty's on safety features at 60,000 miles. Then told me that I would have to purchase a new passenger seat for $1, 700 to fix the problem.

- Hinesville, GA, USA

problem #13

Feb 132013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electrical air bag system needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 80,000...updated 07-08-15 update (July 9, 2015): The light is illuminated at all times, regardless of the weight of the person sitting in the front. When the system worked, the light would turn off when someone sits in the passenger seat. At the end of 2012, however the light stayed on while driving one day. I immediately called the Kia car dealership to report the problem. I was told by the automative department that it meant that the air bag was no longer working and we should bring it in. When we brought the car in for repair, we were told the electrical system that operates the air bag was no longer working, however it was not an item under warranty and it would cost almost $2,000. The car was only 3 years old at the time.

- Corpus Christi , TX, USA

problem #12

Feb 232013


  • 78,000 miles
I was visiting my fiance in Utah when a tan car hit my driver's side front end. We both were put into a spin and he hit me a secondary time. My car has since been totaled out and labeled as beyond salvage. The entire front end is missing and there is sever engine damage. The auto body shop and my insurance company said I needed to contact Kia and let them know about the airbag failure to deploy. Kia said my car is built to collapse a certain amount before airbags will deploy. They also said since I was put into a spin my car did not decelerate fast enough to trigger the airbags, but since I had decelerated while spinning that's what prevented them from deploying upon the second impact. They only investigated my car via photographs and my verbal statement to them. They also told me this was not a problem in my car, but according to this website there are multiple airbag deployment failures with my make and model car. I asked Kia if they would put what they had concluded in writing and at first they said yes but now they are saying it will take a while. I am concerned.

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #11

Feb 012013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


I own a Kia Spectra 2009 at the beginning of the month the airbag light on the dash came on and stays on. The airbag light that is in the center console for the passenger seat (which indicates if on/off) is not working at all. Called Kia and spoke with a representative and was told because of the mileage the warranty not cover this. Took it to the dealer and the cost of the seat replacement is going to $1637.31. By the looks of this it is an ongoing problem with certain models for Kia. I can not justify this amount for the passenger seat replacement. Was also told by the representative that it would be forwarded to a manager to see if any assistance could be offered for the replacement of the seat. In the state that I live in this vehicle will not pass state inspection.

- Plattsburgh, NY, USA

problem #10

Jan 162013

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
I purchased my Kia Spectra new in 2009. Since then I have had various times when the passenger's side airbag light would be "off" suggesting that no one/ thing over 45 pounds was located in the passenger seat. Despite having other people accompany me in my car, the airbag light only went off when I had a 6'1" 190 lb teenager in my car. More recently (and frequently) I have had a 165 lb 6' male friend riding with me. He always sits in the passenger seat. The passenger air bag light has showed "off" despite frequent attempts by my friend to change his positioning in the passenger seat. Even after getting out of the car, and later getting back in, the light continued to show as if the passenger seat was empty.. it doesn't matter how fast, or slow I was driving, the results were still the same. I bought my Kia due to it's high safety rating.

- Crossville, TN, USA

problem #9

Mar 152012

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. While driving approximately 45 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the technician advised that the electrical air bag system on the front passenger side would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 65,000.

- Reidsville, NC, USA

problem #8

Apr 102012


  • 68,000 miles
My vehicle has had multiple problems over a 4 to 5 month period to start around the start my passenger side door handle broke, next my seat belt sensor shorted out, after that my air bag light came on after taking it in to the dealer I was informed I had not only faulty wiring in my vehicle but that my passenger side air bag was defective when it was installed and took four years to be caught unfortunately this all didn't occur in my first year of ownership and I couldn't claim the lemon law. Because now the company expects me to replace all of the faulty equipment they installed into a vehicle they told me was "safe and reliable" and now I'm riding in vehicle that I had someone who works for Kia tell was "slapped together and I was lucky my car hadn't fallen apart yet". after leaving the dealership the cd player in my vehicle decided that it to was going to short out and now this is another repair I'm sure ill be expected to pay for.

- Reidsville, NC, USA

problem #7

Dec 132011


  • miles
On 12-13-11, at 6:15pm my wife (driver) and daughter (passenger) were involved in a mva in which they were "T" boned by a 2002 Chevy Suburban. At no time did the supplemental side air bags deploy, and this subsequently caused glass to implode on my wife in her scalp and hair. Contacted Kia usa ([xxx]) who stated that the accident was not a near fatal accident, therefore the air bags acted accordingly. I find this to be ridiculous! and I'm being nice here. Requesting a full investigation into this failure or false sense of security we are led to believe. I have photos of the damaged caused. Subsequently, the other driver was charged and repairs have been made, but I feel that this matter needs attention. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mount Morris, NY, USA

problem #6

Sep 012010

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the front passenger air bag warning light would illuminate when the seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised her that she was under the required weight for the seat to detect occupancy and activate. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 43,000. Updated 11/29/11 the consumer stated she has been to the dealer on five occasions for the same air bag problem. Updated 12/07/11

- Long View, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 092011


  • 64,800 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. The contact stated the passenger side air bag sensor on the passenger side seat malfunctioned. The sensor does not recognize that there was a passenger in the seat; therefore, it did not activate the passenger side air bag. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who stated the OCS mat which activated the passenger air bag needed to be replaced. The contact did not have the OCS mat replaced. The contact called the manufacturer regarding the OCS mat and they stated there was nothing they could do since the warranty expired. The contact stated if the vehicle was involved in a crash the passenger side air bag would not deploy increasing the risk of an injury to the passenger. The failure mileage was 64,800.

- Hamburg, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 242009


  • 142 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) we talked with the salesman [xxx] at martin swanty Kia on 07/24/2009 about the passenger airbag light not functioning properly, he said they would fix it! so we bought it. We went to the service department on 08/12/2009 and talked with service personnel and we were told to return when someone was sitting in the passenger seat and the passenger airbag light was off so they could verify it! we went to service department on 09/10/09 when I was sitting in the passenger seat and showed them that it was not working properly.they returned the car that afternoon without repairing it and handed us an internal service bulletin that said the passenger air bag would not function unless a person of appropriate size was sitting in the seat. I argued with the service person since I am 5' 8" and weigh 210 pounds, but he still refused to repair it. I checked the internet and found that the Kia Spectra had a long history several years of recalls and problems with the passenger side airbag called Kia at 1 800 333-4542 on 09/10/09 and talked with a customer service representative. She opened a case number [xxx]and told us to call her next time we had a passenger in the seat and the passenger airbag malfunctioned. She said she would call the dealer and we could go there and have it repaired! I called the number on 12/22/2010 and talked to the service person and told her my wife was on the way to the dealer with our 24 year daughter [xxx] in the seat and the airbag was off. The representative called the dealer! the dealer refused to fix it and said that it required a larger person in the front seat and my wife should return when she had a larger person in the front seat. My daughter [xxx] is 24 years old; she is 5, 9 and weighs 125 pounds! my wife went again to the dealer on 01/05 /2010 with our daughter [xxx] in the front seat, she is 5'8" 22 years old and she weighs 140 pounds and the air bag was off! they refused to do anything.

- Kingman, AZ, USA

problem #3

Jan 082010


  • miles
Friday evening before last, my daughter (17 yrs old and a senior in high school) was riding with her friend and was hit by a car in the right front bumper area. The car my daughter was riding in, a 2009 Kia Spectra, was totaled. Yet, despite the massive amount of damage to the car, the passenger airbag did not deploy nor did the seat belt lock. Hence, my daughter was knocked unconscious for about 45 minutes, her nose was broke, she received blood in the ventricles of the brain and she is extremely sore, to say the least. Funny thing is that the driver's dad took the brand new car (5,000 miles and 3 months old) to the dealer over the passenger air bag about two weeks before the accident. He was told that a passenger had to be 100 lbs and be seated just right in the passenger seat in order for the airbags to engage. The emt/firemen who rescued by daughter can all vouch for this. How is it that Kia can advertise 'airbags' as a safety feature when they only deploy randomly?

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #2

Oct 232009


  • 22,059 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Spectra. While driving 25 mph she reached in the rear of the vehicle to grab a baby cup, which caused her to accidentally hit the infant. Subsequently she rear-ended another vehicle. The vehicle was completely destroyed and none of the air bags deployed. She sustained injuries police report was filed. The current and failure mileage was 22,059.

- Greenwell Springs, LA, USA

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