definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,590 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #10

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 #9

Mar 102008

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles
Car hesitated once or twice upon acceleration, could not recreate problem. 1 week ago, while trying to pull out of the garage, car would not go into gear. When car finally went into gear car would not move unless accelerator pedal was pushed to the floor, and even then barely any movement. Took car to Kia dealership, three days later dealership called, the transmission needs to be replaced. Dealership said it had to "fight" with the factory rep to have the transmission covered under the warranty, even though I provided proof of maintenance. Dealership ordered new transmission, when prepping car for the new transmission a "hole was found in the subframe", that is not covered under warranty and the transmission cannot be put in the car with the hole in the subframe at a cost of $1,800. Dealership cannot explain how a garage kept 7 year old car has a hole in the subframe.

- Ingleside, IL, USA

problem #8

Oct 182007

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,900 miles
Purchased Oct,15,07. Within 3 day we had it up to dealer were purchases 1) for windows not going up or down all the time. 2) light on radio and heater do not work. 3) the car had no power and would go from 1st gear to 3rd gear and would stay that way until car turned off. 4)had to replace speed shift sensor. 5) brakes. Got looked in car several times and could not get out. Sometimes they work most of the time they don't. 6). Antenna broke off for no reason. Went out on day barely touched it and it feel off. 7) on Feb 9th car would not start for 4 days for no reason had towed from own house to garage were they know believe it has a cracked head or blown head gasket. This car only has 89,000 miles and should not have all these problems already. There needs to be something done I have a 3yr old and a 7 yr old. I fear for there lives and mine.. I don't even want this car anymore and have had it for only 4 months. Please help if U have any advice. Don't buy a Kia. Also this car came with a 90 day warranty from harry's auto sales and they kept telling me for 3 month there was nothing wrong and only would reset computer until I took it to another garage and they found out differt. They told us head gasket. Harry said noooooo. When warranty ran out then they informed me I need a head gasket. They said I would have to pay for it cause warranty out. That sounds like a lemon. Please help me find legal advice.

- Titusville, PA, USA

problem #7

Apr 212007

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles


Input and output speed sensor failure. Failure of sensors cause transmission to drop from 4th gear to 3rd gear. From there transmission can only shift between 2nd and 3rd gear using "sport shift-stick". on a good day without problems engine is sluggish. Very scary to drive.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

Aug 032006

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles
When I first brought the car and drove it, the lights became dim in the inside and the headlights. The radio turned off and on, took it to dealer 4-5 times for problem and they could find nothing wrong. The car doesn't pick up spend when going over hills not even little ones. The gas needle does not read full even when the tank is practically overflowing with gas. Reading a full tank of gas happens every once in a while. Check engine light comes on. Have taken to shop and was told that my spend sensor is going out and that is why the car is going from 1st to 3rd gear and skips 2nd altogether I've only had the car for one year the warrinty is gone and I was never offered the extended warrinty and really didn't think of it since the car was only 4 yr old. Back brakes have also gone out at least I think so they started grinding with no warning 2 days ago I'm going to have them checked this weekend. Air (never used befoe this summer)doesn't get cold like it should. Door lock making a crazy sound on drivers side, believe the motor is going out on power locks they also tend to not want to unlock sometimes. Atenna broke.air bag light came on and won't turn off. Also how can I find out if any recall items have been fixed on my car or not or if they still need to be replaced.

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 012001

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
The front passenger side door will not unlock from the inside or the outside. The key does not always work. Also the remote is not able to unlock the doors. This problem first started in 7-2001. The consumer took the vehicle to a dealership to be repaired and they were still waiting for the part. There also was a problem with the transmission. The consumer was unable to get the gears to shift smoothly. The dealership replaced the front sensor for the transmission the first time. The dealership recently replaced the rear sensor because the problem recurred.

- Freeport , NY, USA

problem #4

Jun 012001

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles


Vehicle transmission slips while driving. The air condition, auto check light and automatic door locks do not remain unlocked trapping the driver.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #3

Oct 292001

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,905 miles
My vehicle has spent more than 35 days in a Kia authorized dealership including transmission repairs since the date of purchase. I have carried the vehicle to two different dealerships more than six times. The problems with the vehicle have not yet been repaired. I feel that this vehicle is unsafe and a liability to others and myself while it is on the roads. Some of the other problems that the vehicle has had, but have been corrected are 1. keys would not open trunk 2. driver's side door would malfunction and lock itself. Manual release of the lock could only occur from outside the vehicle, resulting in myself have to climb out the passenger's side door to exit the vehicle.

- Helena, AL, USA

problem #2

Jun 012002

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,500 miles
The vehicle would down shift, and loose power while driving, the electrical system would operate intermittently. Mr the transmission jumped out of gear.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 052002

(reported on)


  • miles
A/C condensation build up on the inside of car had at dealer 2 times before they fixed.#2 replaced right headlight 4 times IN1 1/2 yr no finger on bulbe! #3 after sitting over night on first start up transmission will not move at first #4 gas gauge from day 1 wouldn't read full after 3 trip to shop they fixed

- Holyoke, MA, USA

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