definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,250 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #2

Apr 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,500 miles


After stopping at a stop sign I tried to accelerate and turn left. My car would not "go". so I pressed the accelerator harder and it finally and slowly moved forward. I have an automatic transmission, but it was like I was driving a manual and had tried to start in 3rd gear instead of 1st. It's almost like my car had to catch up for a minute before it would go. It has happened several times since that to different degrees. It is a 2003 with only 41,000 miles and no longer under warranty since I bought it used. I am afraid it will do this on the interstate or when I am trying to merge and could be dangerous.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #1

Dec 272004

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles
I was driving my 2003 Kia Optima on I85 at 65 mph when the vehicle suddenly lost power and slowed quickly to less than 10 mph. The vehicle continued to sputter and backfire until I was forced to pull over and wait approximately. 15 minutes before proceeding normally. My wife has also experienced the same problems and is afraid of being involved in an accident. The vehicle has been in the shop for this issue 4 times. The last repair involved paramount Kia in hickory where the mechanic replaced many of the assumed problem parts such as faulty wiring harness, ECM, maf sensor and fuel pump without resolve. The service department stated that they had no idea on how to fix the problem.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

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