2011 Kia Optima engine NHTSA complaints: Engine

NHTSA — Engine Problems

2011 Kia Optima (Page 3 of 4)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
105,010 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Feb 172016


  • 71,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 25 mph, the contact heard a knocking sound emerging from the engine compartment. The vehicle was driven home and the contact immediately checked the oil. She noticed that the oil was very dark and had a burnt smell. The vehicle was driven to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the engine had to be rebuilt or replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #22

Jan 302016


  • 106,421 miles
My 2011 Optima had 106,214 miles and was almost due for another 3000 mile oil change (which was done regularly) and without any warning lights, sounds, smells etc. It stalled out while driving I was able to pull in a parking lot. I tried to start it and it would not start. I called the Kia dealer that was not even a mile away and they said they were closed and could not look at it. So I had it towed to another garage, they looked at it and said the engine was "shot" it did not have oil in the top (?) they also said that the only replacement engine they could find would be close to $3000 and was out of state, so I would have to pay shipping as well as labor. I since have had it towed to my home and have looked online for engines and have found hundreds of complaints about this happening to others with the same year and model of car. I also found that the same exact engine was put in the 2011 Hyundai sonata, and that it was recalled by Hyundai. Kia knows of this problem and has had many complaints that are almost exact with vehicles with even lower mileage and still refuses to recall the engine.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #21

Jan 242016


  • 38,000 miles
Travelling at approximately 30 mph (had just turned onto road)when engine seemed to accelerate on its own. Pressed brake pedal (hard) and did not slow car at all. Continued to press brake and also pumped but nothing slowed vehicle. Although saw truck well ahead of me stopped, I could do nothing to stop or even slow down. I wrecked into back of truck stopped ahead of me waiting to turn. Approx $8000 damage to my car mostly due to truck having a sizable trailer hitch on back that busted through a lot of front end plastic, cooling system, etc and buckled hood. No injuries but if would have happened at higher speed it would have been tragic. Officer upon arrival also noticed thatbrakes seemed to fail and noted it on his police report. I have since found internet sources indicating that some 2011 Kia had in fact has a tsnb issued for unintentional acceleration problems. I never received such a bulletin and have had numerous services performed at Kia dealership. Also, have had brakes checked multiple times at dealer and delaer inspection never indicated any problems. I hav ealso found documentation online that says if you have an unintentional accelleration, pressing the brake hard is the first step to do, but once you let off the brake, you totally lose brake pressure. Who possible would know that ? this accident is totally the result of a system failure of the vehicle and I am asking for assistance in persuing my damages as a result of this failure.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #20

Oct 292015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles


My motor blew at 102K miles with no warning. There were no signs of losing power, no knocking, the oil was full.... the car stalled as I was driving down the road without warning and wouldn't restart. This occurred on October 29, 2015. I had to walk home at ten O'clock at night and have the car towed home the next day. We then had the car taken to a certified mechanic. He managed to start the car which immediately started knocking. I called back later and found out that the car had thrown a main bearing and that the motor needed to be replaced. I then purchased another motor with 48,000 miles on it for $2,000 and had it shipped from Pennsylvania. The motor was installed and ran fine. Less than two month's later (on December 25th to be exact, the car stalled while I was driving down the highway (almost causing an accident). I managed to get the car to the side of the road. When I restarted the car, it immediately began knocking. I can assume that the exact same problem has occurred with the second motor. The company who sold the second motor is currently looking for another to replace the one I purchased but I have to eat the labor costs incurred which amounted to over $1,000 alone. Hyundai has a recall on this exact motor because of the main bearing but Hyundai (who owns Kia) will not take responsibility for this junk motor even though they are replacing Hyundai's with the same motor. And Kia will not take responsibility for the bad motor either because they said that it's "not a Hyundai" and it's 2,000 miles out of warranty. I strongly feel I should be entitled to a reimbursement. Every indication is that the 2.4L gdi motor is a bad motor. I still owe $7,000 to Kia finance for this car while it has drained my finances and continues to drain my finances. Thank you.

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #19

Dec 062015


  • 85,000 miles
Was driving down the interstate and the car died after pulling off to the shoulder tried to start the car and all it would do was click. Towed the car home thinking it was an alternator or something simple. Next morning looked at then changed the battery and tried to get it started in slightly turned over but not enough to start called the dealer to drop it off and they said car was seized out of warranty and needs the engine replaced. After searching on the internet and looking at complaints found that my engine was built at the same plant as the Hyundai sonata same engine, which is recalled for this same exact problem. I am wondering why Kia acted like the cant believe this would happen when these cars should be recalled also. What can be done here ? I will not let this go it is wrong Kia's should be looked into and recalled

- Clayton, IN, USA

problem #18

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 #17

Sep 182015


  • 99,600 miles


Left a stop light and car hesitated so I gave it a little more gas. Then there was loud metal to metal noise from engine and an explosion with white smoke. Able to get into a parking lot and opened the hood to a small fire. Found that there was a hole in back of engine and cracked the front. In the oil pan was the attachment arm from the crank in many pieces. There is a recall with Hyundai but Kia says it is not related to this engine when there is an article stating the engine did get placed in the Kia Optima. I had just under 100K miles and an oil change just 2 weeks prior due to low oil pressure. This was done at a Kia dealer and they said there is nothing wrong but changed the oil at $70 dollars and sent me on my way. Where do I go from here? see picture of parts attached.

- Washington, IL, USA

problem #16

Jul 282015


  • 130,000 miles
I was driving at 40 mph when suddenly the engine shut off. I lost all brakes and steering and luckily was able to coast to a nearby safe place. When I attempted to restart, the engine would not turn over. I brought it to a nearby mechanic and after a thorough inspection starting at the starter, they determined the engine was seized I have done regular scheduled oil changes the life of the Optima. The engine only had 130,000 miles and the oil explanation was possible bad bearings from factory in the on the crankshaft. This is ridiculous and when I called Kia they gave me the run around with no explanation. Its over $4000 to replace with another used motor with no gaurantees that the used install will be any better. Kia really needs to back this with a recall. I refuse to pay for factory defective components out of pocket. Nor will I continue making payments on a junk car. Not only is this costing me hardship but now possibly my credit score!!

- Braham, MN, USA

problem #15

Jun 212015


  • 71,106 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While driving at approximately 40 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated. The driver shut off the vehicle and it failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 71,106.

- Mazon, IL, USA

problem #14

Aug 242013


  • 133,077 miles
Driving down express when engine started to loose oil. Pulled over on shoulder, notice a clicking noise and smelled burning oil. Dealer found hole in side of engine block. Stated needs new engine and quoted and estimated price of $5,875.64 for a used engine with 46,000 miles installed. Had car repaired at another place for $5477.06 with 41,000 miles. This shop said the engine had a rod knock then locked up. Needs the engine replaced. This is the same 2.4 liter engine that is being recalled for the Hyundai sonatas.

- Inkster, MI, USA

problem #13

Jul 032015


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. When the ignition was turned to the on position, the engine did not start. The contact stated that the starter required excessive force in order for the vehicle to start. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could not be duplicated. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000. Updated 09/17/15

- Jefferson, GA, USA

problem #12

May 272015


  • 66,670 miles
I have a 2011 Kia Optima LX, 2.4 liter engine. Always keep up on the maintenance and oil changes, car is in great shape. I was not experiencing any issues, warnings, no check engine/oil lights, no noises, absolutely nothing. Then last night my car just sputtered and cut off while being driven. Apparently when the engine cuts off, so does the brakes. There was no way to push the brakes, so I had to try to safely coast to the side of the road, with no brakes and no power steering. I finally pulled over, tried to restart the car and there was such a loud knocking noise, and some squealing noises as well. The car will no longer start either. I had a mechanic look at it today and says the engine is "just gone." No explanations at all. I verified that the Kia Optima and the Hyundai sonata are the same manufacturer and use the same engines. I see there are way more complaints about the 2011 Hyundai sonata with this same issue. I will try to notify Kia and see if they are willing to step up and correct this even with the warranty expiring 7,000 miles ago, since I am the second owner. I have found many complaints about this same thing for both the 2011 Optimas and sonatas. This is so dangerous because there are no warnings, and the engine cuts off in traffic, which also causes the brakes and steering to go out. Not safe at all.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #11

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 #10

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 #9

Apr 042015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 63,400 miles
While at a red light my car stalled without warning. Once off major street we thought it was the battery and after charging for a bit the car did start but made a horrible sound. Had it towed to dealership and they said there was no oil in engine and was due to faulty maintenance which is untrue. My last oil change was 2/2/15 and was due again 4/11/15. My car never gave a check engine or check oil light, I had no oil spills in my garage or where I park at work. There was no signs of trouble. When I asked what caused this to by all standards a new car all they want to say is that is faulty maintenance because Kia didn't do the work. My car went from functioning perfectly well to needing a new engine to the tune of Kia's price of $6400 they will not honor warranty unless I can produce receipts dating back three years. My car needs a new engine at 63,400 miles? really...

- Spring , TX, USA

problem #8

Jan 282015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 48,269 miles
The spark plugs in the car were replaced at 44,298 miles (just prior to the 45,000 recommendation in the owner's manual). At 48,269 miles my car was idling slightly off. I gave the car part throttle in the parking lot of my work and the car misfires and cel comes on. Giving it more gas, it goes away. I made an appointment at the dealership (Kia of cherry hill, NJ) to have it looked at. At this point the car was idling really bad. I got a call from the service manager asking about the spark plugs and how I noted they were done at 44K miles. He says all 4 are fouled. I then get a call back saying that the plugs in my car were never done at 45K like they should have been and that they need to be changed. I explained to him they were done, his response was, "I don't buy it." I then said that I have the receipt from the parts department from his dealership for the plugs, and that I have pictures of them being changed and that I even have the old plugs in the new boxes. No response to that except quiet. I said if the plugs were done 4K miles ago, then why do they need to be done again" why would they all go bad" no response except that he can't do anything unless the spark plugs are replaced because they are fouled. All 4 plugs were bad due to lean condition in the motor (possible fueling problem). One of the plugs was missing the porcelain from cylinder #2, which was also missing on the original from cylinder #2 pulled at 44,298 miles. Dealership and Kia corporate was not willing to look at the fueling or the car further unless the plugs went bad again. Also wouldn't offer any reimbursement for the bad plugs.

- Shamong, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jan 162015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 62,887 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. While at a stop light, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the engine failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 62,887. Updated 04/13/15 updated 11/5/2015

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #6

Oct 122014


  • 51,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving 75 mph at night with the cruise control activated, there was smoke coming from under the hood and the vehicle engulfed into flames. The fire department extinguished the fire. A police/fire report was filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was destroyed and the cause of the fire was not determined. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 51,500.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #5

Oct 022014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 5,200 miles
Just weeks after purchasing my Kia, it had to be brought back to replace cracked dash, heated steering wheel peeling, tires wearing on the outside, wiper blades sucked & you could not see out of them when it rain, cracked outside of sunroof seal, pulling to left side and surges. They put new tires, steering wheel & fixed the dash. The service manager stated the specs were within normal limits for the alignment & transmission. The outside of the sunroof is normal wear & tear & it will crack again, stated the sun cracks it! it has been in the service department 5 times! even though my car is still under warranty! I have had 4 set of tires & they wear on the outside, it stills pulls to the left & I was told the alignment is normal. 6 sets of new wiper blades & they say that's not a problem. My car surges & it has not even been addressed! in late September my check engine light came on the day after I had my oil changed, I took my car to my dealership service, they kept it, fixed the 'oil control valve" within 5 miles from my dealership, check engine light came back on. After a week & a half, my 'intake cvvt timing & my 'exhaust cvvt timing! my warranty will be up in the next few months & I am worried about what is going to happen next & then there's no warranty! there should be a recall on Optima's steering to the left & on the tires either, alignment! I have went as far as contacting the Georgia consumer protection, Kia consumer hotline, us department of transportation, traffic safety, the attorney general's office. I have also contacted my local & national news station & will be meeting with them next week. If this does not raise a few questions, I will hire an attorney!! this is not about money, verses what is right!

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 022014


  • 82,273 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle made a squealing and an unusual popping sound that emitted from the front of the vehicle. The contact was able to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road. The front tires had seized. The vehicle was towed to dealer. The technician diagnosed that the engine block bracket fractured. As a result, the technician recommended an engine replacement. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified about the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 82,273.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

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