hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,284 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.

2011 Kia Optima electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Sep 122016

Optima 4-cyl

  • 45 miles


2 issues with 2011 Kia Optima @ 101,987 miles. Quick burning of oil (causing oil to burn up and having car owner deal with topping off oil levels) and gradual "ticking" sound from engine that results in engine shutdown as car is in motion prob #1: my Kia burning thru oil at high temp-I performed each and every oil change paying over $70 for top quality oil. Issue with oil gradually became worse. I had to buy my oil in between changes to keep adding oil to engine, made mistake in blaming oil change companies, wasted time and money in having oil changed sooner then 3,000 miles. Oil can henry stated that they believed Kia engine ran on high temp which was burning oil 2X faster then any car. Problem #2: "ticking" sound from engine, that gradually for louder, finally caused engine to shut down (characteristics are deceiving car owner assumes battery issues/ Kia mechanics blame bad battery) this is not the case! I have aaa witness my car issues, and car still had issues after new battery was installed, which Kia mechanics still blamed battery. Car shutdown is not battery since all inside lights, radio etc still function and when car died during driving it still allowed me to "coast" home at 3 mph. The day my car died, there was already a new battery in car. I came out to leave for doc appointment, car lights came on/radio on but engine barely start, if it did start car engine died, it was as if engine barely started and couldn't maintain itself. I missed a urgent appointment(iam disabled). Called aaa, they confirmed battery at 100%. we tried everything possible, aaa guys said horrible noise from engine, after 20 tries I was barely able to revive it enough to test drive. Drove around my block down the street and after 10 min car died, but not completely. Although I couldn't accelerate, car "drifted" at 2-3 mph. I turned on er lights, coasted home in 1 hour.

- Happy Valley, OR, USA

problem #21

Oct 012016


  • 131,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was coasted off the road and was unable to restart. The vehicle and the motor locked up with the presence of smoke from the starter when the contact made several attempts to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence and then towed to the dealer. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 131,000.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #20

Sep 072016


  • 101,500 miles
On September 7, 2016, I was driving down the highway at 70 mph in my 2011 Kia Optima when all of a sudden the engine shut off and all of the lights on the dashboard came on. I could hear the engine rev slightly when I stepped on the gas, but the car would not accelerate. The engine just shut off. It was 7:30am when this occurred so luckily there were not many cars on the road yet. I was able to get the car over, however, because the engine was off, the breaks would not work well. I was finally able to get the car to stop by continuing to hit the breaks and applying the emergency break as well. Kia recommends oil changes every 7,500 miles, however, I usually have mine done every 5,000. I had zero warning signs that something was wrong with my car. The last oil change was performed on August 31, 2016, and the mechanic that performed the change said everything looked fine. There was zero smoke coming from the engine or exhaust and no "knocking" sound in the engine. I had the car towed directly to the dealer. Once there, we tested the battery and it seemed a little low. Mind you this is a new battery purchased from costco about 2 months ago. We tried jumping the car and after trying to start the car a 3rd time, the engine started shooting out black smoke and had a foul smell to it. Several hours later, I received a call from the dealer authorizing $280 to open the top of the engine so they could take pictures and send it to Kia.. I searched on the internet and found several other 2011 Kia owners experiencing a similar issue and was just told by a friend the same thing happened to her 2011 Optima as well. Looks like Hyundai had the same issue and it is the same engine as the Kia and had a recall. My car had 101,500 miles (mostly highway miles) and the only issue I ever had was to replace a clockspring in the steering column about 6-months ago.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #19

Mar 252016


  • 98,000 miles


March 2016 while traveling on highway at 65 mph and passing a slow moving vehicle car lost power, became difficult to steer and unresponsive. We were lucky that we were right by rest area and coasted safely. Inspected the vehicle while and noticed a smell reminding an electrical short/fire. Car was towed to Kia dealer and diagnosed to be engine failure. The engine was inspected and per dealer it was pristine, Kia decided to cover under warranty @ approx 98K miles. Dealer stated that per Kia it was due possibly to non oem oil filter (nice). When we got the car back it did not want to start occasionally, where it hesitated especially as temperatures increased. Noticed dealer, dealer took it in verified battery and starter were to spec. In June on a hot day car almost did not start, set an appointment with dealer for later in the week. Next day car did not start, was towed to dealer and diagnosed to week starter. Starter was replaced and car started on for one day, the second day temperatures increased and car was dead with similar electrical meltdown, also noticed fog lights were not working after bulb replacement. Dealer diagnosed with Kia to bad engine again due to tolerances causing friction and more heat. Spoke to Kia and started a case but they just want to replace the engine again and not discuss potential issues with electrical harness compromise and ongoing issue with engine failing for no reason. This car is scarry and hope it does not start on fire when the third engine fails.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #18

May 222016


  • 89,000 miles
Car was running and sat at a red light. Went to go... my rpms shot down to 0, battery and oil light came on and car died in the middle of the street. Everything in the car worked. Lights, windows, wipers..... the car still wouldnt turn. Think its the alternator. I think you should recall them and get them fixed. Theres alot of complaints about faulty alternators on these Optimas.

- Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #17

Feb 172016


  • 1,445,400 miles
2011 Kia Optima battery died the main fuse indicator wasn┐T working. On Wednesday February 17, 2016 at about approximately 5am on RT97, I was approximately 20 miles from home on my way to work when the car stalled out. I was able to pull to the side of the road; I waited for 2 minutes I then pushed the start button on the dash board the car then started. I then put it in gear and started down the road again I went a quarter of a mile the Optima stalled out again. After waiting 2 minutes again I was able to get my car started again I decided to turn the Optima around to head back to my home. I was able to get the car home without it stalling. I then changed the battery of the Kia Optima with a new federated battery the mileage on the odometer was 144,540.0

- Gettysburg, PA, USA

problem #16

Oct 152015


  • 70,000 miles


While driving on interstate car just quit running. Had to pull to shoulder and use emergency brake to stop. Car towed, first repair shop said it was an electrical fire. Then towed to Kia dealer who wouldn't really commit on cause. Blamed sludge on motor. Have service records. Regular maintenance and oil changes.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #15

Oct 312015


  • 75,000 miles
While driving 70 mph on the highway my 2011 Kia Optima engine shut down and would not accelerate and the brakes would not function. Luckily, I safely made it to the far shoulder of the highway only to find that my car was smoking and smelled like something was burning. Had to get the car towed to the dealership and they informed the engine needs to be replaced and the starter is also fried. I have seen four complaints so far of 2011 Kia Optima's with the same issue and am sure I will find more. That seems like too much of a coincidence that it happens so frequently with these models and there isn't any sort of recall. No breaks at 70 mph is pretty dangerous. I have contacted my attorney and hope this manufacturer will do the right thing.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #14

Sep 272015


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that several unknown warning lights illuminated and the vehicle got abnormally hot. In addition, the vehicle unlocked independently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #13

May 222014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 57,456 miles
My husband and I were on our way to the coast when we passed another vehicle and as soon as we passed the other vehicle we lost all power in the car we were able to get over to the side of the road where the check engine light came on.second try car did start but was making a loud knocking noise from the engine vehicle was towed to dealer it was an internal engine malfunction car was still under warranty dealer replace engine.

- Madera, CA, USA

problem #12

Mar 312015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While traveling at approximately 50 mph and attempting to slow down for a stop light, the vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the starter burned out and that the engine seized. The dealer replaced the starter and was not able to diagnose the source of the failure. The contact was informed that a more extensive diagnosis was required and the engine needed to be taken apart. The engine failure was not repaired by the dealer. The vehicle was not able to be driven. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Sheffield, AL, USA

problem #11

Mar 202013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 40,500 miles
This Kia has a push button start option. The vehicle would not start and the brake lights were not turning on when the brake pedal was depressed. The computer looks for a signal from the brake light switch before it starts the engine. I disconnected and reconnected the brake light switch and the problem was temporarily corrected. Two days later, the vehicle would not start again and the brake lights were not turning on. We used the procedure to bypass the brake signal (hold start button for 12+ seconds) to start the engine. Vehicle was now driving down the road with no brake lights. There was also a warning light illuminated on the instrument cluster indicating an issue with the ESC system. Dealership stated they have seen a few cars with this issue.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #10

Aug 312012


  • 35,627 miles
I have a 2011 Kia Optima LX, one night while driving home from work aloud boom sound with a jerk of the car and all power was gone at once. There was nothing, lights out, in and out and no acceleration, then after about 10 seconds all power returned, before and after this there was no warning of any kind, it has happened a total of three times so far.2nd time at an intersection and the 3rd time in heavy traffic, the only way I got out of traffic the car coasted, all the while steering was very hard, had to be towed to the dealership because power did not return. While they were about to check, once again the power returned all on its own in front of them, they run diagnostics, still not showing anything, so they keep giving me no answers, and putting me back into fear. 4 other repairs was made before these last 3 recurring incidents ;vehicle would not shut off with removal of the key; horns quit working; brake light switch, because could not get car into gear; fuse to the phone charger. Back to the shut downs the service techs.said they don't know what to fix! and the Kia Corp. Stand behind the same answer. They know how to make these cars what's wrong with fixing these problems especially electrical issues like this! I suggest to anyone who's reading this don't buy a Kia of anykind!

- Pageland, SC, USA

problem #9

Dec 202012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 13,950 miles
I was leaving work @ 5:45 pm and got in my car, but it would not start. I tried for 20 minutes before I called Kia ledgen dealership for help. They told me where to put the aux key starter inside the glove box area. After several attempts the car still would not start. They told me a would have to call the 800 number to get a jump or have my car towed. I found a co-worker who gave me a jump and the car started right up. I proceeded to a Firestone station and got a new batter ($146). Started right up and had no problems until my wife and I went to the mall today (Dec 28) and my car would no start again. I thought we were going to get stranded or needed to find a jump. After 5 attempts it finally started and I took my car back to the dealership and they said they could not duplicate the problem so there was nothing they could do. After stating that I read about other Kia owners having the same problem they decided to keep it over night. Are there other owners with similar problems that can lead me in the right direction to get this problem fixed?

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #8

Jun 272012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 13,250 miles
This is update to ODI #10453907. Optima hybrid still experiencing power loss problems. Latest is at cold start, when it starts in ev mode, system indicates ready, shift into reverse or drive, car doesn't move. If we turn it off and re-start it, it operates normally. When this happens, dash icon indicates hybrid system malfunction. At re-start light goes off. Dealer can find no trouble codes stored.

- Marathon, NY, USA

problem #7

Apr 022011


  • 13 miles
The first episode was a dead battery. The car had 13 miles on the odometer. The second incident, car would not start, ignition issue, but later started (after 1hr). Taken to dealer, secondary to ignition issues. Problem resolved until today. Would not start again. Tried two different key fobs and still did not start. This is the third incident since having the vehicle. I will need to have the car towed for the second time.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #6

May 082012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 16,500 miles
The interior overhead lights periodically come on and go off while operating our 2011 Optima. This occurs with the switch in both on and off position and the lightbulbs tend to become overheated.they do not respond to manual operation, but go off on their own and this malfunction repeats several times in a ten minute drive. Best-case scenario results in the bulbs burning out prematurely, but I believe there is a real chance of a more serious short-circuit and potential interior fire.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #5

Apr 012012

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
This is the second complain regarding the same issue car fail to startŁ this time the car had to be towed to, and dropped at the Kia dealer. At the end of the day we called the dealer to see if they had found what is wrong with it. The technician that was working on it, mention that as soon as the car was uncounted from the tow truck, they try and switch the car; nevertheless, the car started without any issues. He said that they switch it off and on throughout the day, and were not able to replicate the problem. What am I to do? all I want is for the problem to be taken care of. I want to drive my car without the fear of being stranded.

- Moody, TX, USA

problem #4

Feb 132012

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
Had just finish bringing my wife home from the hospital, after surgery, and needed to stop at the pharmacy. After picking up a couple of prescriptions we got in the car, and try to switch the car on, but it would not start. I could tell that the battery had plenty of power, but the engine would not even turn. It was almost as if the ignition was disconnected from the rest of the car. I even put it on neutral to see if I would start, but nothing happened. I keep on trying for almost half hour, and when I was about to call a tow truck I attempted to start it again, and it finally turn and started. Right now I have a car with less than 20,000 thousand miles that I'm afraid to drive because I'm afraid it will leave me stranded.

- Moody, TX, USA

problem #3

Sep 062011


  • miles
Purchased my brand new Kia Optima in May 2011. From the onset the remote start never worked on the first try, eventually it didn't work at all. In Aug noticed that the horn wasn't sounding right, eventually it didn't work at all. I took the car in for the horn to be repaired and they stated that it was a bad fuse. 1 week later horn was out again. I returned to the dealer who said they would order 2 new horns as they weren't sure what was the cause. Bought the car in to have horns installed they say "we need to order a new module for your car" although the horns were working, I figured the module was the reason the horns went bad in the first place. I call to weeks later, they still haven't received the parts (strange). I mention that now the remote start is completely out they say "we know, that is why we ordered the module" (why wasn't this explained to me??). Oct 2011 I spend yet another sat morning at the dealer. An hour and a half in they say we cant figure this out we need to order the schematics on this car...you will need to drop the car off next week. I leave the car for over a week, they call to say they are ordering a whole new remote start system. When I pick up the car the remote start is still working intermittently, the alarm is going off at random and the sunroof will not close. I return the car the following week they say they are not having any problems with the remote start, alarm hasn't sounded and they just needed to replace the fuse for the roof. I am not sure what they did but they did some sort of repair, no prob with either since then. Today Dec 12, 2011 I have called to tell them that the horns are completely out again, "they say bring her in and we will take a look at her". I have no desire to spend a day at Kia dealer once a month. In fact, I no longer have a desire for Kia period. I am contacting BBB's lemon law assistance today.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

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