hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,252 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.

2003 Kia Optima drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #3

Dec 302013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 114,993 miles


My wife noticed the car pulling to the right and called her brother. He looked at the vehicle that evening 12/30/2013. He drove the car pulling onto a highway, the car would not move -- neither forward nor reverse. He pushed the vehicle off the road and the front axle dropped out of the transmission. It was towed and the garage notified us that the front sub-frame had corroded. Online research reveals NHTSA recalled Kia Optima (2001-2004 model years) on May 27, 2009. I called the dealership on 12/31/13 where the car was purchased. The customer service rep said the recall did not apply to our vehicle. The kmc was contacted on 1/2/14. I was informed that the recall was based on "salt usage of 20 states and DC." This interpretation of the NHTSA recall id # 84125 needs direct clarification from the NHTSA. The original recall letter states: "kmc is recalling model year 2001 - 2004 Optima vehicles originally "sold in or" currently registered in the states of (20 + the District of Columbia)." Since I purchased the vehicle in Indiana my vehicle should be covered by the initial recall. Regardless, the safety issue of the vehicle should warrant a notification to all owners of potential problems for this vehicle. This mechanical issue could have resulted in a catastrophic event. This complaint is also associated with ODI# 10558172.

- Philpot, KY, USA

problem #2

Aug 222007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,002 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle decelerated when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact stated that the gas mileage was poor as well. The dealer was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The air filter and oil were replaced, however, the failure remained. The current mileage was 82,591 and failure mileage was 82,002. Updated 12-12-07. Updated

- Marshall, TX, USA

problem #1

Aug 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,760 miles
I just bought this car August 14. That night it would not start. I have not had this car over 4 hours and put about 60 miles on it.

- Dalton, GA, USA

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