really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,500 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.

2001 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 012009

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle surged forward while it was stopped. The contact applied excessive pressure to the brake pedal to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact also stated that the rear brakes intermittently seized. The manufacturer was made aware of the failures and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 175,000....updated 07/19/12 the consumer stated one of the rear brake had jammed and only applied brake pressure from one side, causing the brake pad on one side to wear metal to metal, while the brake on the other side of the disk had little wear. Updated 07/23/12

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #5

Mar 162006


  • 14,000 miles
Since purchasing my 2001 Kia Optima, I have had nothing but difficulty. I purchased an extended warranty at the dealership I purchased it from in case I needed repairs. I got my money's worth. But the problems I had are common problems with the vehicle, locks not working, windows not rolling up, paint peeling off, transmission problems, check engine light constantly on, decreased acceleration, heat surges when gas pedal released and pressed and the list goes on. It is not hard to find other Kia owners with the same problems. The repair that bothers me the most is the complete transmission it needs. There is 41,000 miles on the vehicle. Common problems that are widely known and should be repaired at an authorized dealer at Kia motor company's expense.

- Westbrook, ME, USA

problem #4

Apr 062007

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I have safety concerns regarding this vehicle. I was driving on the highway when engine dropped into 3rd gear and wouldn't get out of it. I had it diagnosed at the auto parts store and the speed sensors were shot. If I keep driving it like this I am going to blow the transmission, if it is not already blown! I called the dealership where I purchased it, only to find out that they were shut down. I called another dealer to look up my warranty information only to find that the warranty expired 1 month before this problem. The dealership from where I purchased it told me that I would be covered with a 10 year or 100,000 mile warranty. I have only had this car for 6 months. I bought it used, and it has been a nightmare! they sold me this car under false pretences, and apparently, it is going to cost me $180 to replace this defective part. I have 36,000 miles on this car, and there should be something they can do. I have had better cars that have run better than this! I will never buy another Kia again!

- New Cumberland, PA, USA

problem #3

Sep 302003


  • miles


While driving about 55 mph on the highway and without warning consumer's vehicle suddenly accelerated up to 75 mph or more, resulting in a collision with another vehicle. Driver sustained minor injuries, was not transported by ambulance nor was there any fatality.

- Moore, OK, USA

problem #2

Sep 102002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer noticed rpms changing while set on one speed. Soon after vehicle would surge. Dealer has been contacted, and technician noticed that computer chip needed to be replaced. Please provide furthr information.

- Tilden, IL, USA

problem #1

Jul 012002


  • miles
During spring/2002 noticed hesitation of car during attempts to pass other cars on the highway. Hesitation/delay worsened over the next few weeks. It then developed hesitation after starting the car and would at times stall or suddenly "lunge" as accelerator depressed. This became a fairly common problem when starting the engine when cold. After a few minutes with the engine warmed-up it seems to run fairly well with exception of the hesitation/stalling sensation when passing. The car was returned to the dealer to fix the problem on July 18. Initially, they believed it was the computer, an air sensor or fuel delivery problem. However, Kia now states the problem is a software problem linked to spring/summer gas formulation. Their solution is to make sure the car warms up several minutes before driving and that the problem will go away in the fall. Obviously, it will recur next spring. The dealership has provided us a rental car at no charge D/T the warranty. They have been exceptionally polite. Kia has been somewhat slow on their end communicating with us but polite and cordial. However, the concern remains with the problem of knowing how long to wait to warm the engine and then when you depress the accelerator adapting to the speed that is somewhat erratic. The car is often parked in parking garage and this erratic behavior represents some concern with pedestrians and other vehicles moving in a confined space.

- Huntingburg, IN, USA

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