hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,306 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #20

Apr 152010


  • 60,000 miles


After 60,000 miles, while driving or with the engine running, the engine light came on and stayed on. This has been repaired three times by replacing a main fuse. Each time it has been repaired, the problem has reoccurred. In connection with this problem, the door will lock after the driver exits the car. Sometimes, the keys have been locked in the car.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #19

Mar 152015


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while parked, the door lock failed. The contact attempted to use the fobik and could lock the doors, but they failed to unlock. The contact had to unlock and lock the doors manually. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 98,000. Updated 02/12/16

- Dayton, TN, USA

problem #18

Jun 072012


  • 93,400 miles
Doors (all) will lock after unlocking when you're trying to get in. I unlock the door, either manually or with the key fob, when you pull the handle to open the door the doors lock. You can play with it and finally get in but I've heard alot of problems with the same thing on the same model.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #17

Dec 082014


  • 97,055 miles


Drivers door is jammed locked. The remote works the locks move with remote and key. The door does not open. Multiple complaints on Kia forum regarding door locks.

- Riverdale, GA, USA

problem #16

Sep 222014


  • 75,126 miles
The engine light came on. The doors would lock without any prompts. The horn would honk while parked in the garage. The car was checked out on the computer and the driver's air bag needs replaced and there is an electrical problem.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #15

May 012014


  • 69,000 miles
The door will not unlock with a key fob, key or manually. You are literally locked in the car and cannot open the door to get out. This is horribly dangerous and if you were in an accident you could not get out of the car. Please help get a recall on this part. This car is not safe.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #14

Apr 142014


  • 100,000 miles


First: In the affect parts section of this complaint there is no where to mark defective locks. I have 2003 Kia Optima SE four-door. It will continuously lock and unlock automatically. Will only stop clicking on and off when engine is turned off. This poses a safety issue by being locked in an auto with electronic locks that cannot be unlocked either manually or with the key fob. When will there be a recall, either involuntarily or voluntarily. I bought this auto new and still have it.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #13

Dec 232010

Optima 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the drivers side door locked and she was unable to unlock it manually or by using the key fob. She was forced to climb into the back seat in order to exit the vehicle. When the failure recently recurred all of the doors failed to unlock. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the technician replaced the locks; however, the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 90,000. Updated 2/11/14 the consumer stated the trunk and ignition would not unlock. The ignition and trunk lock was replaced. Also, the alternator, fuel tank sensor and timing belt were replaced. The high beam lights would come on, when she made turns.

- Lancaster , CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 012013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the driver's side door failed to unlock and could not be unlocked from the outside or inside of the vehicle. The contact mentioned that she had to enter the vehicle through the passenger's side door. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the mechanic stated that the latch was not working properly. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 85,000. The current mileage was 86,500. Updated 12/20/13 the dealer stated the lock problem was electrical. Updated 12/26/13

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #11

Apr 262013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 77,538 miles
Passenger door locks and will not unlock without pushing the unlock button and pulling the door handle at the same time. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get door open using this method. This is a serious safety issue which could trap a person in their car.

- Hanford, CA, USA

problem #10

Feb 132013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles


Door lock for the drivers side does not work and also does not unlock. This presents a huge safety concern, driver cannot exit the drivers' door! we have been able to unlock the drivers' door but it will not open! I reviewed the issue online and found hundreds of the same complaint. Kia needs to address the drivers door issue asap as it is a huge liability since it is an extremely common problem.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #9

May 152006


  • 45,000 miles
Power door locks re-lock after you unlock them and pull on the door handle to open the door. This can either trap you in your car, or trap you out. You have to go around to the other side, but crawling over the center console to the driver's side is almost impossible. Had the switch and actuator replaced on the driver's side. About a year later, the same thing happened with the passenger side door. Kia doesn't seem to care since it gets them over $300 worth of business each time.

- Columbia, PA, USA

problem #8

Jan 012008


  • 97,000 miles
Power locks instantly lock after unlocking, (over and over) prohibiting me and my passengers to enter or exit the vehicle. It sometimes takes 5-10 minutes of trying to unlock that they will finally stay unlocked allowing access. I have a toddler and a baby on the way. If there were to be an accident or a fire, I could only imagine being trapped inside.

- Wickliffe , OH, USA

problem #7

Jul 182008


  • 90,000 miles
***safety issue*** 1) under normal operating conditions without abuse or consumer modification. 2) door locks frequently fail to unlock or will automatically re-lock when attempting to unlock either manually or electronically. This could cause an inability to escape the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time or may result in being unable to access children trapped inside. Thus, leading to heat stroke, death, or other physical harm. 3) had to pay to replace door latch assembly, but still intermittently fails to unlock as of the date of this report. There is no manual override to unlock the doors with this mechanical/electrical failure.

- Worthing, SD, USA

problem #6

Apr 042009


  • 100,000 miles
Locking system failure causing all doors to lock on the vehicle with no means to get out of the vehicle. Can not get out by the windows and the motor will not shut down for quit some time. We believe it also triggered or malfunctioned the anti-theft causing it to ingage which would prevent you exiting the vehicle as well.

- Englewood, OH, USA

problem #5

Sep 012006

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
- the contact stated that the 2003 Kia Optima's with 50000 failure mileage lights, locks, radio did not work. The vehicle would not start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer multiple times. The dealer installed a new engine. The vehicle did not work properly. The current mileage was 56,000.

- Winchester, MA, USA

problem #4

Dec 012004


  • miles
Brake failure, front rotors grooved, pads heat glazed, rear rotors also. Plus rear calipers were bounded up. The doors locked by themselves, and there was squealing when the consumer placed the vehicle in reverse. It was found that the doors harness connection was poor and shorted out.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #3

Jan 012004


  • miles
The engine and air bag light would come on and off. The engine oxygen sensors were replaced. The air bag assembly needed to be replaced. There were several other problems. The consumer was informed that he gas cap was the problem. Reference to recall#04V180000. The door on the driver side continued to lock without pressing.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #2

Jul 202004


  • miles
The consumer noticed while driving, that the doors locks unlocked and locked without pressing the lock button which was followed by the dash board lights flashing. Problem.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 232003


  • miles
Consumer turned on the ignition switch and heard a clicking noise, and then lights/radio, and air conditioner went off. A burning smell came from the air conditioner vents. Vehicle was towed to the dealer. Dealer stated nothing could be found wrong with the car.

- Hernando, FL, USA

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