hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,785 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.

2006 Kia Optima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2006 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #18

May 302015


  • 152,000 miles


Airbag- we started the car up and the airbag light came on and has not went off (other than when the car is shut down). After research discovered that an airbag failure was part of a recall for this model, but only for Optima's manufactured from Sept 2005 forward. This one was manufactured a few weeks prior, yet has the same problem. After a google search, the issue can be found on Optima's with a manufacture date as far back as April of 2005. The recall needs to be expanded to all 2006 models. Driver door locks- when the door is locked, it will not unlock without a lot of playing with the fob or using key and 'getting lucky' to grab the handle at the correct time while doing so, otherwise it locks back immediately upon pulling the handle. This is a safety issue on 2 levels. 1-if for whatever reason your travels take you through rough neighborhoods, the ability to lock the doors could save your life if you come across the wrong people. However, you can not lock them because if you have an accident and the car catches on fire or you need to escape the vehicle quickly, the door will not unlock so you can open it leaving you trapped in the vehicle. After performing a search on google, this issue seems to be with the lock actuator and is effecting Optima's dating back to the 2002-2003 models. Both of these issues seriously need to be dealt with by Kia. Either issue is setting up a scenario that will result in the death of the driver, if a severe accident occurs.

- Piedmont, SC, USA

problem #17

Jul 122007

Optima 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
We bought our Kia with less then 10 miles on it, right off the show room floor, we have had to replace passenger side headlamps (total to date 5/15/2015) 15 times, both rear turn signals bulbs and rear brake lights. The air bag light would appear on the dashboard when ever the passenger seat would be moved and now the air bag light on the dashboard flickered driving home from work last night and remands on.

- Cameron, MO, USA

problem #16

Aug 172011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Keyless entry on driverside only locked me in and out of the car. Lock will only open 1/2 of the way. Airbag light came on and will not go off. I can not get an inspection. They say the system is unstable. Transmission has slipped a couple of times.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #15

Sep 102013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


The drivers side door lock will not unlock with the electrical button or manually. The lock only opens half way - pull handle to open - door automatically locks. Can't open door with key from outside. Must enter in passenger side door and climb over. Big danger as driving with children in the car.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #14

Jan 242013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Front drivers side door will not unlock from inside of vehicle. You must use key and toggle lock while holding door nob out in order to unlock door, it may take a while to unlock door while doing this. I have read many responses to others having the same problem with this vehicle. This may be a serious issue if an accident occurs and the door is locked, trapping the driver inside the vehicle.

- Chalmette, LA, USA

problem #13

Jan 072013

Optima 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
I brought two new 2006.5 Kia Optimas (a red one and a black one) from our local dealer. Since I have had the cars, both of the vehicles have had electrical problems which started within a few months of the purchase. The tail lamps only last about 2-3 months before I have to replace the bulbs. First one side or the other will blow out, and then within weeks, the other side will go too. This has been happening with both cars ever since we bought the cars. When I call the dealer and ask about the problem, they just tell me I've been buying cheap bulbs. I have had to replace the head lamps on both vehicles at the rate of about one every six-months on both vehicles. I have also had to replace what they called the electronic throttle control on both vehicles. Now there is a new problem with one of them. About 52,000 miles, I started having a problem with the parking lights. The parking lights would stay on when car was turned off and no matter what I do, the parking lights will not go off. The only way to keep the battery from going dead was to disconnect the negative battery terminal. About a month ago, we took the cars to our local Kia dealer for an oil change. When we dropped them off for the service, I asked the representative ([xxx]), to also look into the parking light issue and explained the problem I had been having. To make a long story short, [xxx] said they forgot to look at the parking light issue, adding she would contact Kia directly to investigate the problem and would call me when she has an answer, it has been a month. Today she told me it will cost $400 to fix the lights problem. I find it hard to believe it is not a manufacture defect. This is not fair to the consumers who invest money into purchasing a new car. Please look into this matter as a matter of consumer rights and protection against manufactures known defects. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #12

Mar 092013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


The drivers side door lock will not unlock with the electrical button or manually. Manually opened, the lock only opens half way - pull handle to open - door automatically locks. Can't open door with key from outside. Must enter in passenger side door and climb over. Big danger as driving with children in the car.

- Phila, PA, USA

problem #11

Feb 022013


  • 61,300 miles
I was trapped inside the car when the drivers door would not open by activating the inside door handle, the inside door unlock lever or the remote key fob. When I used the door handle nothing happened. When I pressed the inside door unlock lever I could hear the power unlock mechanism activate but the door would not open. Nor would the door open when the remote key fob unlock was pressed even though I could hear the unlock mechanism activate. The door latch would not release and allow the door to open. I had to crawl across the front console to exit the car thru the passenger door. Due to the small size of the car this could easily have been impossible with an injury or for an elderly person. In case of a fire where the only exit was thru the drivers door this would be a fatal component failure. After exiting thru the passenger door I tried to unlock the door with the key but the latch would not release the door. I tried pressing and releasing the remote unlock with and without the key multiple times using multiple combinations of the door handle, door unlock lever and remote key fob, nothing worked. This is a very dangerous situation. The door handle and door key should always function to allow exit from the car.

- Satellite Beach, FL, USA

problem #10

Aug 152012


  • 90,000 miles
My daughter was driving home from work when she first noticed smoke coming from the underneath the hood area. Shortly afterward sparks began to shoot out and the car was engulfed in flames.

- San Leon, TX, USA

problem #9

Jul 032012


  • 116,039 miles
2006 Kia Optima needed a new timing belt within the next few thousand + miles (needs to be changed every 60,000 miles or sooner), but one the crankshaft pulley just came off and then the belt came off a couple pulleys because of this. The belt actually looks fine, but the pulley failure caused the belt to come off. This belt runs several things so the initial loose pulley caused the car to lose power steering, battery light to turn on, the A/C failed, etc., and then the inner part of the pulley came off and the outer ring (magnetized) fell and stuck to part of the car frame that is actually metal. My wife made it to work while the belt had to still be on but loose, and it now sits in her parking spot at her job (hospital parking ramp). I will probably have it towed tomorrow. This could have easily led to an extremely dangerous situation if it happened on the highway. I found the outer part of the lower pulley laying above the car frame close to the engine. If the car drove after this, engine damage would be most likely. I will hopefully have it towed to the nearest Kia dealership by tomorrow to see if I just need the pulley and belt or if the engine is damaged. This is unbelievable, because I found many people that had the same issue with the crankshaft pulley bolt breaking off and sometimes causing engine damage immediately afterward. As a consumer, I shouldn't have to go under the vehicle and tighten a factory tightened bolt every now and then. I hope that the newer bolts actually hold like a grade 8 american bolt, because that wouldn't fail. Rubber can't break steel, and I can't believe this obvious oversight by Kia hasn't been recalled or in a technical service bulletin!!!!

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #8

Apr 112012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 23,269 miles


A co-worker followed me home and told me my right rear brake light was out. Then my right turn signal indicator on the dash started flashing real fast. Few days later my dash lights started flashing on & off. Had a friend watch the exterior lights and he said they were flashing on & off with the dash. Said he had never seen anything like that! if my headlights are on the lights don't flash. Even though my lights come on, the brake & signal lights don't work when I apply them. I have not driven my car because of it. Every one tells me with as little mileage as I have on my car - I should not be having these type of problems. I haven't taken my car to the dealer because I don't want to get a ticket or possibly cause an accident because my light don't work! I'm single mother and can't afford to have a mechanic tear my car up to see if he can find the problem.

- Moncks Corner, SC, USA

problem #7

Nov 032011

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles
I own a 2006 Kia Optima. When I use the remote key fob to unlock the doors they unlock. Then when I pull on the handle the driver side, it automatically locks. If I am inside the car and hit the unlock button it unlocks but when I pull the handle it locks again. I can get out the passenger side. My car was bought new in 2006 so it is out of warranty. The failure and current mileage is 4400.

- Candler, NC, USA

problem #6

Mar 112011

Optima 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
My Kia Optima 2006 has had several problems: Bad oxygen sensor, an electrical short, and most recently- will not shift out of first gear. Kia says my VIN is not included in the current recall. I took the car to a Kia dealer a few weeks before the gears quit shifting, but they couldn't find a problem. I have replaced six headlights and three tail lights. This car is a lemon! please ask Kia to extend their current recall as, obviously more cars are affected than they are reporting. Please investigate!

- Wisconsin Rapids, WI, USA

problem #5

Nov 042010

Optima 6-cyl

  • 44,100 miles
The dashboard does not accurately report mileage, gas amount, speed.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 252009


  • 3,800 miles
I brought a new 2006.5 Kia opt. At less than 3000 miles parking lights would stay on when car was off, auto lights would not turn off, dash lights would flicker. Took to dealer about 4 times and they just played with the switches and said not to worry. At about 5500 miles and a day after the first year of owner ship the car was dead and needed a tow. New battery.two later same thing, then again 4 weeks later, replaced light switch and did wiring repairs, I now have 23500 miles on the car and have had over 12 tows or jump starts. Third battery, fuse box, alternator and other repairs. In 12/2009 with 23000 miles it dies again 4 times in 3 weeks and had to be towed, another new battery. Something unknown is draining the battery and they can't find it. Am worried that car will die out when driving it or the lighting will all go out causing me to crash.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #3

Mar 012008


  • miles
I have electrical problems. My same left turn signal burns out every month- month and a half. My head light keeps burning out at the same rate. My parking lights get stuck on even when the car is off and the switch is off. You have to turn the car on turn the lights on and off a couple of times to get them to go off. The alarm has just gone off with no one around it. I have taken it to the dealer twice to be fixed but they keep saying if they don't see it happen they cannot fix it.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #2

Sep 022007

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Driver's side seat electric switch does not work driver's side mirror electric switch does not work both keyless entry remotes keep losing their program.

- Yanceyville, NC, USA

problem #1

May 242007

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,616 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Kia Optima. While driving 45 mph, the TPMS illuminated, which indicated that the tire pressure was low. The dealer stated that there was a sensor malfunction for the driver side rear tire. They replaced the sensor; however, the failure continued. She took the vehicle back to the dealer and they stated that the electrical system caused the failure. The dealer installed a new TPMS indicator, but the failure still continued. The contact took the vehicle back several times and each time the dealer would replace the sensor and/or electrical system. However, the failure continued to occur. As of November 1, 2007, the dealer had not repaired the vehicle. They stated that her cell phone or radio frequencies may have caused the light to illuminate. The manufacturer inspected the vehicle and stated that the sensor caused the failure. The manufacturer replaced the sensor; however, the failure still persists. The powertrain was unknown. The failure mileage was 26,616 and current mileage was 29,413.

- Orlando, FL, USA

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