really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
80,496 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #9

May 192015


  • 127,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle's speed decelerated. The contact pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road. She exited the vehicle and noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment. The fire was extinguished by other drivers on the scene. The police and fire departments were notified. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who stated that the engine caused the fire. The contact was waiting for the insurance company to inspect the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 127,000.

- James Creek, PA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Jul 142014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
2008 Kia Optima. I had been driving around town for about 20 minutes. It was 93 degrees outside air was running. Came to a stop at red light and the engine shut off the radio still worked the check engine light. And the other lights that come on when you start the car. There was no warning to this the before it happened. I put my car back in park and turned the ignition off and then tried to start it up. It started and didn't have any problems for the rest of the day. Happened before noon drove until 430 off and on and it was fine. Has 78000 miles on it. When I turned it back on the check engine light did not come back on so when I went to auto zone to check it no alerts cam up but they said it was strange and the light should have stayed on. Have read many similar problems.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #6

Apr 052014


  • 171,001 miles


My 2008 Kia Optima was a good car wiith no problems at all so when my car cut off on I 95 during rush hr. I was scared to death. As I was entering the ramp for I-95 my check engine light came on. I had a clickin noise in engine but within less then 2 min. As I merged into traffic my engine shut off and would not turn back on. After getting it towed to dealer, everyone including dealer thought it was the starter or alternator because oil was fine and nothin was wrong.. the dealer said he couldnt find anything that should have caused engine to lock. He also was confused.still to this day no body can tell me why this happened. I could have been killed or seriously injured on the highway.now my only option is to buy a engine when my old one should have still had a lot more miles left.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #5

Jan 172014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 86,464 miles
Engine started making a clicking sound when the car was accelerating. Took my car in to Kia and found out that one of the rods in the short engine block was failing. My engine only has 86464 miles on it and its an 2008. Bought the car with 69000 miles on it, only had the car for 7 months before the engine began to fail. I took this problem up with the dealership and Kia headquarters. Was told they would not honor the 100,000 mile warranty because the car was not certified. I was not offered a warranty/ did not obtain an extended warranty, was not disclosed to that the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty did not extend to the next owner, nor was I told that they could not certify it. Was not offered a car fax, buyers guide or told about any type of warranty information. Kia dealerships do not certify cars after 60,000 miles even though there is still 40,000 miles on the original warranty. There way of getting around having to honor the original warranty and offer this to the next owner(s). Very angry with Kia, they are deceitful, liars, and do not stand behind their product. They should not be able to sell any cars with out the original warranty being offered! with a history of there engines failing and having major mechanical problems I find it very disgraceful how they operate and enforce policy. If my engine actually fails while I am driving, I could easily get into a major accident and be critically injured. I drive a major freeway every single day, and to me this is very dangerous. If my engine failed and stalled going 70 miles an hour, I could easily be killed or get into a major accident. Please recall 2008 Optimas or complain to Kia regarding there policy. They should have to offer and stand behind the original warranty or be required to disclose there policy to customers up front. Commercials and parking lot advertise per owned certified cars and 100000 warranty.

- Woodburn, OR, USA

problem #4

Oct 302013


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated while traveling approximately 35 mph, smoke emitted from under the hood and the vehicle stalled. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle failed to restart. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 96,000.

- Milwauke, WI, USA

problem #3

Aug 072012


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated while driving various speeds and idling, the vehicle made a loud puffing sound. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and was not repaired but diagnosed as a resignator failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 66,800.

- St. Augustine , FL, USA

problem #2

Feb 132013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
My 17 year old daughter was driving my 2008 Kia Optima when she noticed a loud clattering noise coming from under hood. She pulled over at a gas station. A gentleman there checked the oil and said that it was low, he added 2 quarts, I change the oil in this vehicle personally and know that it doesn't use any oil. She drove home 3 miles with the engine still clattering. I checked the oil and the stick showed 1 quart low. I immediately drained the oil and put on a new filter and poured 4.5 quarts in the engine. I started up the car, it clattered and ran in the driveway for 10 minutes and the engine locked up. The Kia roadside picked up the car and towed it to the dealer. He informed me that the engine was 2 quarts low on oil. There was no oil leaking from the car, where did the oil go"?" the dealer says that I need to come up with receipts before they will honor the warranty. If my daughter would have been driving the car when the motor locked up, she would have not been able to control it with all power gone. I have read many cases just like this one. Someone will get seriously hurt from this kind of engine failure. Will Kia step up and recognize that maybe the oil control valve is the weak link. My dealer said that was what sent the code to the computer and over-retarded the timing.

- Conover, NC, USA

problem #1

Jun 042010

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated while driving 70 mph the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. The air bags did not deploy. A police report was filed and a fatality was reported. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was unknown. Updated 06/12/12 the consumer stated a recall came in the mail on April 12. 2012. Prior to the accident, there was a loud noise coming from under the hood. Updated 06/13/12

- Saugus, MA, USA

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