really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
122,405 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.

2002 Kia Optima body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #8

Jan 222016


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. While the vehicle was being serviced, the mechanic noticed that the subframe was rusted out and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #7

Feb 052015

Optima 6-cyl

  • 217,000 miles
Driving down the road, stepped on brakes and front frame broke into two pieces, in the middle of the road, nearly caused a pile up on the road.

- Jenison, MI, USA

problem #6

Jun 192014


  • 62,200 miles
A fire started inside the drivers side door panel filling the car with heavy black smoke my wife opened the drivers side electric window to ge rid of the smoke out of the car. She drove the car into her back yard and started screaming for help since the drivers side door would not open. Her husband ran to the back yard and was able to open the passenger side door and she had to climb over the gear shift and the emergency brake to get out of the car. She was on oxygen at the time. Her husband got a water hose and put out the fire. The investigation led to the fire starting in a electrical actuator Kia number act " R assy kmc 9530-3C000. The door had to be replaced. I notified Kia Corp headquarters at 1-877-220-3189 and sent pictures my case # [xxx]. as of this date 07/24/2014 Kia has not got back with me. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Linden , TN, USA

problem #5

May 052014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 278,000 miles


My tire had started bending inward at the top, and outward at the bottom. My car started going out of alignment. I took it to a shop, and they found out my sub frame was rusted and worn out. They also found out that the sub frame had been recalled in 2009, but apparently not on my exact vehicle.

- Council Bluffs, IA, USA

problem #4

Feb 152014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Front door fails to unlock after multiple attempts. Door must be unlocked with a key, using the power locks or manually flipping the door lock doesn't do it, and the key only unlocks it approximately 1 out of every 20 tries. There are multiple complaints about this online, see for instance: www.Kia-forums.com/1G-2G-2001-2006-magentis-Optima/47179-2004-Optima-door-lock-fault.html.

- Fall River, MA, USA

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problem #3

Oct 032012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving she heard an unfamiliar sound coming from the under carriage. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was confirmed that the sub frame was severely rusted which caused it to fail. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the issue. The failure and current mileage was not available.

- Wittensville, KY, USA

problem #2

Feb 132012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
My 2002 Kia Optima, veered of the side of the interstate due to a flat tire. The tires had been replaced that morning and within 130 miles on the highway the right front tire popped. As I took a closer look I noticed my wheel was slanted in. I then had it towed to the nearest repair shop who informed me the engine cradle was rusted and corroded. When I contacted Kia about the issue they basically said sorry about your luck. There is a recall for this problem but my VIN is not included. No action has been taken by Kia in any of my attempts to have them resolve this problem. I am, and have been, stranded out of town for 3 weeks now waiting on them to make some kind of decision. They have overlooked every word I have said to them about the salt in my location and the cars previous locations which causes such corrosion to a poorly make vehicle. The car originates from southern California where salt is presently in the air. It then was registered in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, both having harsh snowy winters. The car clearly has been exposed to enough salt to have been included in the recall. This is Kia's responsibility, yet they are doing nothing about it. When I crashed my car into the ditch on the side of the highway, my life was put at risk. There very easily could have been a car to my left or right or a pole in that ditch. Kia should have fixed this problem in all Optima's put out during the year of the recall. It is a serious danger to any unaware driver of a 2001-2004 Kia Optima. Legal action needs to be taken against Kia.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 222009


  • 67,040 miles
This is concerning my 2002 Kia Optima, and the subframe recall that was issued on this car.. the sub frame was replaced due to corrosion but the garage has done something wrong because the grinding noise that is coming from under this car is just ridiculous! I took the car back to the Kia dealer who removed the rusted sub frame and replaced it with the new, to find out why its making this horrid noise, oh yes they also forgot to put a bolt in. And still don't know why the part is grinding so. So then I called the Kia corporation to let them know that my car is not right and something is wrong. And they did nothing but put it on the computer I was not satisfied. Now I have to take this car to a body shop and pay for this to be repaired out of my pocket. I know there was no problem with this before and no noise going into the shop, I don't expect this to be going on now. I have taken this to 2 body shops one body shop wont touch it because it is a recall, the other will take a look and see, he thinks they broke something removing the subframe. In either case the car needs fixing of a part that was supposed to be covered under a recall! what ever is wrong was cause by this subframe.

- Troy, NY, USA

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