definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,750 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.

2008 Kia Optima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #8

Mar 042014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles


February 2013 started experiencing electrical issues. Example: Rear window brake light stopped working (had to have replaced), then trouble with turn signal light would at times not work. The air conditioner started blowing hot air: Added coolant and fr( July 2013) but still isn't working right. Then cd player had issues where it would not eject cd or fail to read the disk at all. Then the radio stopped working too. June 2014 car wouldn't start had to replace battery but still wouldn't charge. January 2015 installed new alternator, still didn't fix the issue. Had the charging system inspected February 2015. Turned out to be a short or failure due to electrical issue has to get it fixed. February 2015 electrical repairs (switch, plug, fuse). March 2015 car is making grinding noise when pressing down on the break, it is very hard to bring the car to a full stop and makes a grinding sound when making turns as well.

- Bay City , MI, USA

problem #7

Feb 212015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
On February 21 2015 I drove the car to the store when I turned the car off the key would not come out of the ignition. I called Kia dealer and they had no solution. The Kia dealer gave me an appointment for Tuesday February 24 2015. I was able to drive the car home and put it in the garage. On Sunday February 22 2015 I went into the garage and could smell something burning. I decided to back the car out of the garage and couldn't because the battery was dead. On Tuesday February 24 2015 I had the car towed to the Kia dealer. They told me that the shifter release mechanism inoperative not allowing the key to be release in switch. They replaced shifter assembly and the battery. The cost for the repairs which I paid was $870. I picked up the car on February 25 2015.

- Coram, NY, USA

problem #6

Oct 222014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Today, the key would not turn in my 2008 Kia, I had to have it towed to my home. This is a recurring issue and but usually I can turn the steering wheel or move around the gearshift to solve the problem. Although today my key will not turn and I can move the steering wheel around and push the gearshift over and it does nothing. I called Kia and they said I would have to come in to get a diagnostic test for $107, although I told them it seems to be the key ignition. I feel this is a safety issue which I am shocked there has not been a recall for it and also my car will completely shut off at random times when I start to drive and turn a corner.I also feel this is a safety issue. I have read many complaints online about the same issues.

- St Clair Shores, MI, USA

problem #5

Sep 052012


  • 62,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle immediately restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, but the cause of the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 62,000.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 212012

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
The rear passenger seat belt was jammed. I pulled it a few times and it became unjammed and I fastened the safety belt around my 4 year old child. Approximately 3-5 minutes later as I was driving I smelled smoke. I started checking the control panel and turned off the A/C and radio and rolled down the windows. The smoke stopped so I continued to drive about a mile and stopped the car in a parking lot. I was there approximately 4 minutes when I smelled smoke and turned my head to the rear of the vehicle towards my child. My child screamed for me the same moment I was turning my head and there were flames melting the plastic casing around the seat belt cover. The flames almost reached her head. I frantically got in the back seat and removed the safety belt and pulled her from the car to safety. The entire interior of the car was burned from the fire. There were no burn injuries due to the fact that I was stopped and able to remove myself and my child before the flames engulfed my car.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #3

Sep 182008


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima ls. The contact stated that the horn was inoperable. The sun visors would not remain in the closed, upright position and the driver side child door lock would not unlatch. In addition, the safety lock for the trunk would detach and cause the trunk to occasionally fly open while driving. The contact stated that the vehicle would constantly break down and the dealer would not repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was contacted who sent her to a second dealer for the repairs. The failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 54,800.

- Irvington, AL, USA

problem #2

Mar 192010


  • miles
I called Kia roadside assistance when locked my keys in the truck of my 2008 Kia Optima accidently. When he used his instrument to open the driver's door, the anti-theft alarm sounded. He waited until it stopped and attempted to open the trunk with the release but it would not operate due to the car shuuting down. When I got in the vehicle and closed the door it locked again and I was not able to get out. I was literally trapped inside my car. There is no way to access the trunk from the inside. You can only fold the back seat down by using a release found only inside of the trunk. If I had been alone or the driver had left, I would have been trapped inside of my vehicle with no means of exit. The anti-theft devicce may protect the car from being stolen but it sure does nothing to protect the consumer. What would have happened if I had a baby inside with me or it was 100 degrees outside and I could not unlock the doors to get out? I contacted the dealership where I purchased the car and was promptly told that it was really my fault for locking my keys in the trunk in the first place. The also explained that the 'no access to the trunk from the inside' is to protect against thieves breaking into my car and entering the trunk through the backseat and steal something such as my suitcase. Well, I think it would be easier to replace a suitcase than my life or the life of a child. Needless to say, I definitely don't feel safe driving this car!

- Zion, IL, USA

problem #1

Dec 042008

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states that the vehicle headlights dim at low speeds and when applying the brakes or just slowing down. The consumer was informed it was the design of the vehicle.

- Tonasket, WA, USA

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