really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
107,949 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #6

Apr 112016


  • 149,000 miles


Kia has issued a recall (09V183000) however it does not include the state in which I reside, but all bordering states to the East, West, and North. I'm in ky and states like oh, in, il, wv, are included. I'm having the exact issue listed in the recall however as they have selected to cover only specific states I'm left with a vehicle that is now inoperable. The sub-frame on the passenger side has rusted through and caused the tire and suspension to break free.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #5

Nov 222015


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving at 20 mph, the vehicle began to swerve and drove into a ditch. A police report was not filed and no injuries were sustained. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Kingwood, WV, USA

problem #4

Jan 292015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the front driver side wheel separated for the frame of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the failure was caused due to rusting and corrosion of the front ball joint. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Wyoming, MN, USA

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

Dec 312013

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while the driver attempted to complete a right turn, the front passenger's side axle fractured. The vehicle was inspected by a local mechanic, who discovered that the axle had become separated due to severe corrosion of the sub frame. The manufacturer was contacted and advised that the vehicle was not in included in NHTSA campaign number 09V183000 (suspension). The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileage was 114,000. Updated 02/11/2014 this complaint is also associated with ODI#10559087 updated 03/18/2014

- Philport , KY, USA

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problem #1

Jan 172013


  • 169,700 miles
I was leaving my driveway and drove approximately 2 car lengths, my car stopped and started shaking, it wouldn't go forward or backwards. Turned the emergency flashers on as I placed the car in park. I got out and went around to the passenger side of my car; the wheel was against the firewall. I found a recall 2-15-13, called Kia customer service, they sent a towing company; in which, towed my car to mike smith Kia in paducah, ky. They found that my lower control arm had separated from the sub-frame due massive corrosion. Replaced the sub-frame & drive axle,2 new tires. Picked my Optima 3-20-2013. 3-27-2013, noticed power steering leak, called set-up an appointment to have it checked out for 4-4-2013. April 3, 2013 my brakes go out! jesse hodges (mike smith Kia) has my car towed to their facility; in which, the brake line cracked my the gas tank. I paid to replace the brake & gas lines, they repaired the power steering leak! the problem now is: Abnormal wear of the tires they replaced from the recall. Mike smith Kia will replace my tires but wants me to pay for the front-end alignment; in which, was to be done when replacing the sub-frame. I feel this is their responsibility because they failed to properly repair my car. I have been in contact with Kia corporation, they seem to be having problems in receiving copies of my file from mike smith Kia to resolve this. Please help me resolve this!! (recall case number: [xxx] with Kia corporation) information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Benton, KY, USA

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