really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,159 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.

2004 Kia Optima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #40

May 062015


  • 80,000 miles


On several occasions, when manually unlocking the power door locks, they will immediately lock again and will go into a loop of unlock-relock, whether using the manual door lock or the power lock switch (the relay clicks but nothing happens when using the switch). This happens about 10% of the time.

- Tigard, OR, USA

problem #39

Jun 152016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle locked and unlocked without using the keys, and the alarm activated on its own. The failure prevented the driver from entering or exiting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the anti-theft system failed. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Menphis, TN, USA

problem #38

Feb 012015


  • 47,000 miles
First my passenger side door would not unlock (cannot get the door open at all) - my passengers have to crawl in through the window to sit in passenger seat and my 78 year old grandma can't do that so she has to sit in the back. Now 7 months later, my driver side door will not unlock with the key and when I got off the exit last night doing about 20 or 25 miles an hour, my entire car failed (lcheck engine, brake, oil, etc. Lights all came on and then my car died - total system failure). Towed the car to get checked - nothing wrong with alternator or battery per mechanic. He said Kia knows they have this electrical issue and faulty locks but the cheapskates won't conduct a recall like responsible auto companies do, so he tells all his clients to never buy a Kia. For me, this is a serious safety issue. I saved my money to buy my first car and I have obviously made a poor choice. What needs to be done to force Kia to recall this serious safety issue" if my car goes on fire from their faulty electrical system, how do I get out of the car to save my life? where do I take my car to get repaired since I can't afford to buy a more reliable car? does anyone know how to fix this issue" I can't keep going back, so I want it fixed once and fixed right.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #37

Aug 272015


  • 87,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the keyless entry ability failed to work for the past three years. The contact mentioned that the rear doors failed to unlock when utilizing a key or manually. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 87,000.

- Napa, CA, USA

problem #36

Mar 192015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 146,680 miles
Power door lock locks when unlocking from outside with key. Replaced the door latch. But it still does it. Also the headlights stay on when turning off the car. Have to manually turn off headlight switch.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #35

Apr 172015


  • miles
All doors lock and won't unlock, have to climb out window then play with key in locks. Cannot get in or out of car. Not good in emergency especially since my three grandchildren are with me in the car 90% of the time, we do not feel safe. Looked the problem up and seen numerous complaints on it plus the dealer won't fix free of charge and the parts are plastic. I'm not a mechanic and do not believe I should pay for repairs since my warranty is up.

- Mattydale, NY, USA

problem #34

Apr 012015


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure recurred four times and failed to restart on two separate occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who replaced the fuel pump. The failure persisted after the repair was performed. There was a recall according to NHTSA campaign number: 03V067000 (electrical system) however, the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Culver City, CA, USA

problem #33

Mar 282015

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles
Almost died in an accident tate Kia did not allow me to leave the through my door. I was hit one my passenger side not allowing my escape through that side of the vehicle and I needed to crawl through to the back of the vehicle to escape. My drivers side door lock malfunctioned because of wear on a commonly know part. This should not be considered normal wear and tear considering my 1967 camero still has functioning locks and 50 yrs older. I see not reason as to why a 11 yr old vehicle has non functioning locking equipment and I have owned various other cars without a problem like this malfunction that seems only too obvious of an american safety concern. This seems like a mandatory recall for such an important function of a vehicle to be able to even "get in" or "get out" of the car. Simple concept! won't even be able to operate the vehicle if I can't get in it or sleep in my apartment if I can't get out of it. Huh" the web is full of these complaints and near life disasters because of this malfunction. Seems like this is a problem that people want resolution including myself! if there are so many people aware of this problem online and they have regular jobs no slated to the task of highway safety. How is it that your Agency slated with the task of this important job has not done anything to fix this problem. This issue has now span several years of these vehicles and various models. Seems to me that someone, referring to your Agency is not doing their job very well at all and needs to wake up concerning this issue with the Kia manufacturer to fix this very dangerous problem. Get to its boys and girls and get this done, because families depend on you to do the right thing for our well being. Scenario: Car starts on fire.......can't open door....dead.......a duh!!!!!!!! make sense" yeah! good! they have created a death trap. Fix it!!!!!!

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #32

Nov 062013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
When trying to exit my Kia, the door locks would not unlock. I tried the manual and electrical switches on the door and all I could get was a click, and then an immediate re-lock of the doors, as soon as I pulled on the door handle. I then rolled the window down and tried the key, several times, from the outside with the same results. I managed to work my 79 year old 210 lb. Body over to the passenger seat and tried the same thing and got the same results. I was ready to call 911 when I tried the key on the outside again for the 5th or 6th time and the locks worked. This is a dangerous situation and I understand is quite common on the Kia's at about 100,000 miles, I know I was frightened. I don't know what would happen in a wreck with a fire and the doors would not unlock from the inside or outside. This has happened 4 times, twice while locked inside and twice from the outside tying to get in.

- Albemarle, NC, USA

problem #31

Mar 312014

Optima 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Accelerated to get out of snow embankment and engine light came on then car locks went out of whack and locked doors. Could not exit, continued to relock and time you touched locks or door to get out! very unsafe!!! locked in vehicle only exit rear doors, electrical not ok after reset battery. I ordered new part, not even sure it will fix it. Driver door will not open at all!!!!!!!!!

- Fountain, CO, USA

problem #30

Mar 012013


  • miles


Drivers side locking and not releasing. Numerous incidents where the drivers side door locks and will not release. (using the key on the outside or the pad on the inside door) I have repeatedly had to climb out the back door because the plastic pieces that were used when making the car are worn out and not allowing the lock to unlock. If there was an accident I would not be able to get out on the drivers side. I believe this is a manufactures defect. I am hoping that a recall or a silent recall will be issued for this since I am not able to open the door to get the door panel off to fix it.

- Mendon, MI, USA

problem #29

Nov 262014

Optima 6-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
The driver side door will not open. It shows that it's unlocked. I can use the key and continuously pull the handle from the outside and it was opening. Now it doesn't work at all. Took it to Kia in holland they quoted me a minimum of $300 to fix the problem but told me they had no clue what it could be. I will not allow an ignorant person to touch my vehicle. I can at least tell you that it is the latch. I live in Michigan. If I am hit on my passenger side and am in need of help I might as well close my eyes and die. No one would be able to get me out without having to drag me out of the window which they would have to break. This could easily be an issue that could result in death.

- Fennville, MI, USA

problem #28

Jan 232015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 89,400 miles
My car completely turns off while im driving it, most of the time when I used it the first time of the day and try to used it again it turns of and loose power, I can't turn it on again in that moment I need to wait and then it works again but if happens really frequently and its really dangerous because im on the freeway and cars are behind me and I can cause an accident or anything worse. I went to the dealership so they could inspect my car but they couldn't find anything at that moment.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #27

Dec 012014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the driver side door failed to unlock from outside and inside the vehicle. The contact could not unlock the door manually or with by using the key fob. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the door actuator switch failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Bluffdale, UT, USA

problem #26

May 012007


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Kia Optima. Upon entering the vehicle, the doors independently locked. In addition, the front driver and rear passenger side doors failed to unlock in order to exit the vehicle on numerous occasions. The contact stated that the front passenger side window failed to open. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000.

- River Edge , NJ, USA

problem #25

Oct 152013


  • 123,000 miles
Driver's door does not unlock when trying to enter the car and it does not unlock from the inside manually either.

- Holland, PA, USA

problem #24

Jul 122014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
When I was getting off of work on the night of 7/12/2014, I went to my car to unlock my door with the key. My driver side door will not open. I had to get into the passenger seat, climb over the center counsel and into my driver seat. Once I got home, I could not open the drive side door from the inside. Therefore, I did the reverse above. This is the second time this incident had happen to me. I've taken this to the dealership on 9/25/12 and they had to replace the front door latch, which cost about $200. Reading the information on here this is a common problem on these cars. Kia must place a recall on this issue because this is a requiring problem that needs to be address asap!

- Crown Point , IN, USA

problem #23

Jun 132014


  • 107,000 miles
Driver side door does not open from inside, even when in 'unlock' position. I drove to work, having no problems opening the door to get into the car, nothing unusual happened during my 15 minute commute. I arrived at work, and was forced to exit the car through the passenger side door. The driver side door will now only open if you use the key and can randomly find the perfect timing of turning the key and pulling the door handle. It is nearly impossible to perform this maneuver from inside the vehicle. Having no ease of access from the driver side front seat of the vehicle poses an extreme safety concern to all those driving similar vehicles. Having performed just cursory research over the past two days, I have come across hundreds of similar accounts from other Kia owners. This is obviously a manufacturing defect, and should be handled as a recall.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #22

Jul 252013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 121,931 miles
When I started to leave for work this morning; I could not get into the car from the drivers side; the door would not unlock; I could not get it to open. This has never happen before so I looked carefully and saw no damage was done to my car so I tried again to unlock and open my door. I put the key in the keyhole as usual but I notice that it felt like it was not fitting correctly and as I turned the key and it was harder to turn but I could hear the sound of the doors unlocking so I pulled the handle to open the drivers door again and it still would not open. The other three car doors works fine; locking and unlocking like they should. I was then forced to get into the car from the front passenger door. There I attempted to open the drivers door from the inside but my efforts there also failed; which was very alarming. I could feel my anxiety building (feeling trapped & not able to open my car door at anytime) I was running out of time and have to go to work. I tried to open my door from the inside several times but nothing worked. I was able to start the car and let down all the windows. I could breathe some fresh air. All day I had to get in and out of my car form the front passenger door. I tried to open the drivers door several time throughout the day but nothing would work. My door being stuck shut is a horrible feeling to have when driving knowing that one of my ways to escape from the car gone almost helpless at first so I hope this problem is not a small matter to you because it is putting our life in a serious situation; so please treated this as such. Think of this: If there were fire marshalls for cars, would they ever tolerate a front door that can't be open when people are inside? no.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #21

Jun 022008


  • 80,000 miles
The driver side door will not unlock with the key or inside switch. All the other doors will unlock except the driver door. After turning the key for about 10 mins up to a day or a week it will sometimes unlock, but only using the key. This is a very bad safety hazard. It looks as if the plastic part inside the door that controls the locking is broken. There were no accidents that made this occur. I have talked to Kia on several occasions about the matter and this is one feature that the customer does not need to pay for. This is a defective part and can trap someone in a car. You have to crawl through passenger door to even to get in and drive. Shameful on Kia. Seems like its going to take some one burning or have a fatality for Kia to do a recall on this, but all about money when they pride on safety.

- Big Stone Gap, VA, USA

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