really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 1
Average Mileage:
65,069 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

Sep 052012


  • 59,800 miles


After 50,000+ miles on our 2008 Kia Optima the passenger "air bag" light would come on (meaning the air bag was automatically turned off by the car's computer system) while driving with a passenger in the front seat. It would intermittently happen...sometimes it would and sometimes it wouldn't. we had it checked by a dealer and even though they saw the problem (passenger sitting in front seat and air bag was "off") it did not register a code in the car's computer system. This was reported to Kia by the dealer but as of this date (09/11/12) Kia has refused to repair the issue under warranty because it did not register a code. This poses a safety risk to passengers in the event of an accident. Failure to repair this issue could result in serious injury and even death. Kia has had this problem in other models and has even issued recalls but at this point has refused to fix our vehicle under the warrant contract we received when buying this car new in 2008.

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #12

Jul 232012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 43,040 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 25 mph, the air bag inadvertently deployed with substantial force and struck the contact in the face. The impact of the air bag deployment knocked the contact unconscious for several minutes, which resulted in the vehicle crashing into an unoccupied parked vehicle. The contact sustained injuries to the head, neck and shoulder. The vehicle was completely destroyed and towed to an authorized dealer. A police report was filed of the incident. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 43,040. Updated08-30-12 updated 09/07/2012

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #11

Aug 012008

Optima 4-cyl

  • 2,800 miles
As the driver's side air bag assembly is under a recall, the passenger side system should also be investigated. About 10-15% of the time the passenger side air bag will indicate that it is off after an adult sits in the seat. This requires that the person will need to get out then back in, or the car needs to be shut off and restarted and that doesn't guarantee that the system will operate properly. Last week the passenger side air bag off light has now been coming on while the car is in motion. It will appear for a few seconds, then go off, reappear then go off.

- Stockton, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jun 222012


  • 79,333 miles


After clockspring recall/ and repair the cars air bag signal now come on with a code of B1378 in which Kia has told me that there is S high resistance dsab. I have been informed that this code is for a bad or faulty airbag. The car has never been in an accident and the airbag has never been deployed.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #9

Jun 022012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
We were hit in the passenger side and the entire side of the car was crushed and none of the air bags ever deployed and the passenger side seat belt did not lock. I had reported the fact that when someone was sitting in the passenger seat that the airbag light was not coming on to the car dealership that I purchased the car from but they just made excuses that the person sitting in the seat was not heavy enough even though they weighed over 150lbs.

- Blountsviille, AL, USA

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problem #8

Dec 072011

Optima 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated the air bag warning light illuminated only when someone was sitting in the passenger seat. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic who stated when the light was on it indicated that the air bag may not deploy in a crash or it may deploy without a crash occurring. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The failure mileage was 69,000 and the current mileage was 75,000. Updated 06/26/12 a diagnostic revealer the oc passenger sensor mat was defective. The problem was corrected. However, three days later when a passenger sat in the seat, the air bag light illuminated on the dashboard again. The consumer returned to the repair shop again. The mechanic stated it seemed that if someone sat in the passenger seat, did a lot of moving around, or was slightly heavy in weight, it triggered the air bag light. The consumer stated the light is currently on. Updated 06/27/12.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #7

Mar 262009

Optima 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


Summary: The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the passenger side airbag sensor would not identify that a passenger was sitting in the vehicle, causing the airbag to indicate that the air bags were off. Complained to the dealer 4 times. The dealer and the manufacturer were notified of the failure, but denied any wrong.. the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was first reported 30,000 now has 49,000. They should recall these Kia. Last time at the dealer was February, 2012.

- North Providence, RI, USA

problem #6

Jul 012011


  • 10 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the passenger side airbag sensor would not identify that a passenger was sitting in the vehicle, causing the airbag to indicate that the air bags were off. The dealer and the manufacturer were notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 10 and the current mileage was 36,000.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 282011

Optima 6-cyl

  • miles
December 28, 2011, I noticed that my airbag light located on the dashboard continuously stays illuminated. I have taken it to the dealer to get it checked out. I was told that the airbag sensors are located in the driver/ passenger seats. The mechanic at Kia dealer tried to fix the problem, but was unsuccessful. The service representative informed me that they would have to replace the sensors. I've viewed the complaints of people that own Kia Optima 2008. It states that these cars were recalled because of significant amount of defects. (I only have 43,000 miles) in addition, a week ago I've started hearing a ticking noise coming from the engine area when I accelerate going up in a roller coaster climbing position. Thank you for your expeditious response.

- District Heights, MD, USA

problem #4

Jan 302011


  • miles
2008 Kia Optima. Passenger air bag light stays off even when 175 pound person is sitting in seat. Taken car in 4 times to be fixed. Kia says we are probably sitting in the seat wrong. Finally they replace seat. Still didnt solve problem. Doesent matter what speed.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #3

Jan 152010

Optima 4-cyl

  • 0 miles


When front seat passenger sits in the passenger seat of the 2008 Kia Optima, the airbag "off" indicator doesn't switch to on. I was told by dealer that the steps is that the car needs to be off, passenger sits, then turn the car on. This automatic feature is going to get someone killed... not turning on the passenger restraint. Unless the car is off. True situation - my wife gets discharged from hospital from having a baby, I pull car around, get out, load items in the car. My wife gets in the car. Half way home, we realize the front passenger airbag is "off."

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #2

Dec 072010


  • 11,900 miles
The passenger side airbag malfunctions. It may or may not engage when one sits in the seat. After moving around; getting out of car and/or refastening seat belt it will most of the time engages. The size of the person, the movement of the car (or not), and sitting position do not appear to matter. One knows that the airbag is not employed properly because the light indicating the functioning of the passenger side airbag will read "off."

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #1

May 212010


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Optima. While driving with an occupant in the passenger's seat, the contact noticed the passenger's air bag indicator light was not illuminated, indicating the air bag was not on. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The contact was also informed that the vehicle must be started prior to having an occupant in the passenger's seat in order for the passenger air bag to function correctly. There were no repairs made to the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were 32,000.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

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