really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,400 miles
Total Complaints:
53 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (37 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. engine replaced (4 reports)
  4. kia has issued a recall on 2011-2014 starting in mid-may (2 reports)
2011 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #53

Sep 302022

Optima Limited V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


We have had this car at the Lou Fusz Kia dealership since end of September 2022 without any progress in getting the engine replaced. We were told by the dealership that one part, a fuel-injector assembly, was missing to complete the repair. There has been no progress in fulfilling this high priority back order despite calls to Kia customer service and regular calls to the dealership. It’s ridiculous to wait 4 months for this part. I’m currently getting ready to miss my vehicle registration window for this car which the state will penalize me for since the repairs haven’t been made yet. I am also moving soon and need to have this fixed so I can leave a functioning vehicle with my son for college.

- Karen B., Chesterfield , MO, US

problem #52

Jul 202019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Have tried to stay current on the several recalls on this vehicle. I guess there was one about the engine we hadn't covered yet. I am glad we were just driving on city streets, instead of the highway like some have reported, when the engine failed ... but it totally seized up. Had it towed to Kia of Lincoln (NE) on a Saturday morning with no idea of what had happened nor the extent of failure. Their tech told me at the end of the day Monday that a new engine was needed and hoped it would be covered under recall. On Tuesday they received confirmation it was covered and ordered a new engine. The said it would take about 2 weeks to be all done. They received the engine that afternoon, and got started on it. They were done by end of day on Thursday. Amazingly quick and good service from Kia of Lincoln! But shame on Kia for sending out engines with this issue from the get go! How many more recalls will there be with this vehicle? Any more of this caliber? Sure hope not.

- Keith N., Lincoln, US

problem #51

Jan 012018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

2011 Kia Optima, engine seize and tie rod shot through oil pan. Wire harnesses near the front engine compartment caught fire. This all happened while driving on I-79 south from Pittsburgh, PA. Kia replaced the engine, wire harnesses and ECM valued over $17,000.00. More than what the Kia is worth. Placed my family in danger in the middle of the highway and in the rain.

- See C., Willowbrook, US

problem #50

Sep 232017

Optima EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,277 miles


I was driving from Boston to Philly for my first year of college. When I arrived in Philly, I was exploring the city and I came to a red light. As soon as the light turned green, I gave it a little gas and then everything turned off on me. Luckily I was near a local businesses parking lot and I pull in safely. After I had located the KIA of Warrington dealership and told them what happened and they said they weren't aware of the issue. Then I found a good mechanic in the nearby area and had the vehicle towed to his shop. The mechanic could not test anything without replacing the battery and starter. He then replaced the starter and battery and nothing was turning over. Then he thought it was the smart key and I had to have my 2nd copy overnighted from Boston to Philly.

Finally, my mechanic called KIA customer support and they told him to refer me to KIA of Warrington. This is where I wanted to bring it first but apparently, they had not heard of the issue before. After spending $800 for diagnostics, a starter, and a battery, I was then directed and had the car towed to Kia of Warrington. When I dropped it my Optima, I noticed there was an engine or 2 hanging in there maintenance garage from other recalled vehicles. This was such a disappointment that they had to lie to me. I was without a car for 3 weeks (due to backordered short block engines) and I had to call the dealership and the customer support line multiple times a week.

The dealership tried to forward me to enterprise for a loaner car in the meantime, even though they had many loaner cars at the dealership. However, I was only 19 at the time and to get a rental car you had to be 25. How am I going to commute to school and work? Kia told me they would pay up to $30 a day towards a rental. I needed a car so I had to be proactive and rented a car by owner through the Turo app. Kia customer support tells me they would cover Turo's up to $30 a day. I rented a car through Turo for 3 weeks which cost me around $650. This was very inconvenient. After fighting back and forth with customer service, they only refunded me the $800 from the previous mechanic, wasted my time, my trust, and I will never be buying another KIA. If you would've provided me with a loaner or covered the Turo it would've been a little more professional.

- Alex R., Newton Center, MA, US

problem #49

May 212016

Optima LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I really don't know what to say because everyone has already said it. No indication light, no oil light, which was changed regularly by my husband. After we read all the other reviews I felt like we have all been "HAD". How does a vehicle stop in mid stride for no apparent reason. Then if you can start it back up it sounds like trash!!! I had a car many years ago that I didn't know how to take care of, so I know what a engine sounds like when it locks up. This is exactly what my Kia, which I loved, sounded like. I was leaving a graduation dinner and less than a mile away from my house with relatives and my Kia stopped. This was the second time. Two weeks prior it did the same thing but started right up. My husband took a look at it, couldn't find anything so we decided we will take it to the shop and have some test done. Before we could do that it stalled again.....there was no starting it back up at first. I had to get my relatives to the airport the same day. Luckily I was able to borrow my son's car to take them. Later I stopped by my car and tried to start it, which it did but like I said it sounded like trash!!!. I knew it was the engine. We took it to a mechanic who confirmed this. The cost would be $3,850 to get it fixed. I'm upset because I know longer have a factory warranty and still owe on the car. Both incidents I was driving around 45mph. I have 113,000 miles on it and 2 more years to pay on it.(72 month loan). I bought my 2011 Kia in February of 2012. I never would have thought this to happen. I'm not going to get it fixed. I can't afford to. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

- statightga, Norcross, GA, US

problem #48

Jul 102017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Engine Failure going 65 miles an hour in the passing lane. Almost Killed two people I was able to cut thru lines of traffic to get to the side.

- Diane B., Norwood, US

problem #47

Mar 272017

Optima LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles


click to see larger images

engine failure

My car begin knocking and getting louder. My oil light had been coming on. I was getting my oil changed regular and the noise would stop. I was driving when the knocking got louder and then my car stalled in the middle of the highway. Luckily I wasn't hit. The cost is over the roof to have my car repaired. I've been without a car for two months now. I'm frustrated. I called Kia they mention the recall to begin the last of May. It's the last of May and the Recall has not started. Never had a problem with my car till now.

- Katina M., Culloden, US

problem #46

Apr 292017

Optima EX 2.4L In-Line4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,732 miles

Same exact thing happened to me that I'm reading from everyone else. COMPLETE ENGINE FAILURE without and issues or warnings beforehand. All preventative maintenance had been kept up on vehicle since I bought it new and never had any issues previous. Glad I was not on freeway. So mad that this happened! I loved my car. It still seemed like new and I thought I'd be driving it for years to come.

- jodith, Kansasville, US

problem #45

Mar 042017

Optima EX 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

My car was running without any issues until 3/4/17. Service was maintained along with regular oil changes. I was driving one night when the oil light started flickering and heard a rattling sound coming from the engine. I stopped at a service station to check the oil to see that it was very low. I had about 200 miles left to go before my next scheduled oil change. I added oil and took the car to the dealership a few days later. The dealership tells me that the connecting rod and bearings are bad and that I need a new engine. Which will cost me $6,300 if Kia doesn't pay for it. I started a case with a Kia customer service rep who didn't sound sympathetic to my issues but tells me to gather up all my service records to provide to the dealership for their investigation. This particular dealership says this is an ongoing problem and Kia has been working with them. Hopefully Kia will do the right thing.

Update from Apr 7, 2017: Just got a call from Kia today (4/7/17) authorizing a new engine for my car. Hopefully Kia will do right by all of their customers in this situation.

Update from Aug 8, 2017: Kia replaced the engine. The dealer had it about 2 weeks before authorization was given to replace the engine. So in total took about 6 weeks for it to be completed.

- Chris M., Ft. Washington, US

problem #44

Mar 232017

Optima EX 2.4L Gdi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,500 miles

My 2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4L GDI died on the highway as I was driving to work today. No real harm done in that I was was able to safely pull over and the tow truck was prompt (state farm roadside assistance). I did miss work though. The Kia dealership called me this afternoon to tell me that the engine was blown. I was SO SHOCKED that I yelled at the car repairman and felt horrible after. He had said they already looking for a replacement engine, which really sent me over the edge because I hadn't yet heard the diagnosis nor had I approved any work. I yelled that I wouldn't pay a dime to replace an engine in a junk car with just under 112K and that I would be going over to Toyota to get a new car. (I used to only drive Toyotas eek.) In any case after I calmed down, the repairman explained that this engine was covered under Kia's extended engine warranty and he thought I knew that (I did not). I am going to take him some chocolate I feel so bad. The downside right now to this repair is that they have no engines in stock at Kia. It's going to take at least two weeks or longer apparently. They are going to put me in a little Kia Forte which will be covered under the warranty. However, I had plans to help my father who has cancer and lives in another state next week. I'm told I can't drive the warranty rental out of state. I'm going to have to rent a whole different car and pay for it to make the trip out of state. Even so, I'm still grateful my Optima fits under the extended warranty. I also should add that until today, this Kia has performed amazingly well. I never had one issue with this car these past 5 years and I take some mega road trips. I get great gas mileage in this car too - 34 mpg on my last out of state trip. However, I think Kia has handled this faulty engine issue poorly. I think that it's obvious they know there is an issue with this engine since they extended the warranty. However, an extended warranty to only 120K miles is NOT ENOUGH. They should offer owners of Kias with this engine a lifetime warranty if the particular problem they are aware of happens. I'm disgusted to read that other people have experienced this engine failure just outside of the extended warranty and they are screwed. I highly doubt I will buy another Kia because they are scamming people at this rate.

- Catherine B., Boulder, CO, US

problem #43

Mar 032017

Optima 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles


I have a 2011 KIA Optima. Well maintained and oil change every 3 to 5,000 miles. It was last serviced at kia with a oil change and tune up. I have mentioned several times that there was a funny noise coming from the engine and KIA service never mentioned it in there work order. They verbally told me it was ok and that they didn't find anything wrong. Driving to work and my car just suddenly dies. I had no oil lights or check engine light come on at all. I'm not leaking oil or anything. My car was running normal and there was nothing that triggered me something was wrong. I had to have my car towed! I missed a day of work to find out my engine locked up. It will cost almost $7,000 to get a new engine. I feel KIA should be responsible for this. My car is at 133,000 ish miles. It's now sitting and I have a rental car. This is not fair and KIA should re

- Tina P., Fayetteville, US

problem #42

Mar 032017

Optima 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

I have a 2011 KIA Optima. Well maintained and oil change every 3 to 5,000 miles. It was last serviced at kia with an oil change and tune up. I have mentioned several times that there was a funny noise coming from the engine and KIA service never mentioned it in there work order. They verbally told me it was ok and that they didn't find anything wrong. Driving to work and my car just suddenly dies. I had no oil lights or check engine light come on at all. I'm not leaking oil or anything. My car was running normal and there was nothing that triggered me something was wrong. I had to have my car towed! I missed a day of work to find out my engine locked up. It will cost almost $7,000 to get a new engine. I feel KIA should be responsible for this. My car is at 133,000 ish miles. It's now sitting and I have a rental car. This is not fair and KIA should replace my engine and pay for a rental car!

- Tina P., Fayetteville, US

problem #41

Aug 202016

Optima SX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

My car is garaged in Somerville MA. On August 20TH 2016 Saturday morning, family decided to take a day trip up to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. On the way coming back to home ( Somerville, MA) it was a different story. Night time approached and was leaving Old Orchard Beach on August 20th. All hell comes. While on Interstate 95 S approx. 10 mins on the hwy , my KIA stalled completely, lights were still on but nothing else were moving. I immediately forced (steering wheel locked) to the shoulder lane....Car could NOT restart at all, police noticed my haz lights on and said keep it on. I then called the towing company to have it towed. It was getting late, when tow driver arrived he thought it might of been the battery went dead. He tried it and nothing started, ALL of the dash light ON but no engine sound. Got it on a flatbed towing and got it towed to the dealer of York Kia of Medford. MA, On Monday August 22 called the service and spoke to a Christina (service manager) She said theat she'll need to have it checked/evaluated to see what went wrong, On Wednesday 8/24 I called back and said what is going on and manager said were going to order a "starter" to see if that'll help. called her back on Friday Aug 26th. spoke with again Christina and she said not it's NOT the starter and could be the bearings, Piston, rods in the engine compartment. Still haven't heard back...If I don't call these people they NEVER call you back......

Update from Dec 28, 2016: Still the same darn sh*t they tell me. The part is on backorder. I've never heard such a thing. It's sitting at their lot since August 2016 and still haven't touched a thing.....I've called Consumer Affairs they tell me the same thing that the part they're waiting for is on backorder.

- ocafua, Somerville, MA, US

problem #40

Jan 272017

Optima LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,014 miles

KIA: "Rod shredded."

Me: "What did I do wrong."

KIA: "Nothing, they've been doing this lately; we've seen a lot of them."

Me: "Then Kia is paying to fix it, yes?"

KIA: "No."

That was the entire conversation for my 2011 Kia optima with barely 120K miles that has had every/all maintenance done on-time since it was brand new off the lot. They offered me $1K scrap for the car (I still owe $6K.) So now I owe $12K for this car worth about $5K tops. Beware of these vehicles. Car is in shop right now but I've already applied for the loan extension because I'm screwed either way.

- evo, Munford, TN, US

problem #39

Dec 292016

Optima EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,243 miles

Engine seized without warning in the center lane of the highway at 65mph. Luckily, I was able to coast to the shoulder without incident and wait for a tow truck. Had it towed to my local independent shop. They replaced the starter (which apparently blew along with the motor) to confirm that the engine was seized and needs replaced.

I towed it to the nearest Kia dealer, who placed an order for a new engine but informed me that over 200 back orders were ahead of me and there's no ETA for getting one. I was 7K miles over the extended 120K warranty on the small block that would cover this issue so they offered zero assistance on engine replacement or a rental car. After sitting at the dealer for one week, they informed me that Kia no longer manufactures this engine (a lie) and my only option for fixing was purchasing a 3rd party remanufactured engine at a cost of $1,000 more than the price of a new Kia engine.

My car has been sitting at the dealer for a month now waiting on Kia corporate to complete their investigation and offer me something, and I get harassed by the dealer every-other-day because my dead car is still on their lot. Needless to say, I will never buy a Kia again.

- Chris F., Columbia, MD, US

problem #38

Jan 182017

Optima SX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

KIA corp. has case on file. Dealership says engine failure "could be" connecting rod bearing failure. Asking $300 plus to open it up. Quote to rebuild $6000. Cannot guarantee that turbo hasn't been effected by metal in oil. That's another 2k plus ... 138k miles hoping KIA cuts a deal with me over their RECALL extension of 120k concerning bearings failures.

- kw94fsu, Ocoee, FL, US

problem #37

Sep 182015

Optima EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,376 miles

My car just stopped running with no warning September/2015. KIA roadside towed it to DeMontrond KIA. They forced the car to start and told me the car had run low on oil at one time and there was lower engine damage so the engine needed to be replaced for 7400 + tax. Not having a spare 8000.00 I went to another shop to have it repaired. The Mechanic verified the car needed new bearings, connecting rod and crank. I received a service notice from KIA USA in March 2016 stating if I had this issue to bring it to the Dealership. The same issue had been recalled Canada back in 2015 so you can’t tell KIA USA had no knowledge of the issue beforehand. My car was still having the engine rebuilt, that’s what I get for going to "bad Mechanic" after paying out 4500.00 to pick up my car, not running since the mechanic couldn’t get the car to idle after the rebuild. I went to a Kia dealership to pay another 1000.00 to find the timing was out and it needs another engine...Great. I asked if we could use the original service recall to replace it since I had the KIA work order stating the issue and recommended repair. Since that was the initial reason that put me in the spot I am in. I was just told Kia would not warranty my 2011 optima with 93,000 miles. This has been my third KIA and I can honestly I would not purchase/recommend another one after the dealing with KIA Customer Service or any vehicle from the DeMontrond Chain.

- Bill C., The Woodlands, TX, US

problem #36

Jan 032017

Optima LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,782 miles

Engine seized up on the highway. Had to tow it to the shop. Had it looked at and they said that it needs a new motor. The estimate that we received was for $6,100 to put in a used motor that would probably do the same thing in 50,000 or so miles. A new motor would cost even more.

- Kelly S., Falcon, CO, US

problem #35

Nov 142014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I bought my 2011 Kia Optima Brand New, (this was the 1st car I ever bought New). I absolutely loved the car! Great Gas mileage , great look. Until one day my father was driving the car and stopped at a red Light and once the light turned green and he hit the gas the car just DIED! We didn't know what was happening there was no noise or lights on the dashboard to give us any signs. Tried to restart didn't work. We had to push it to the pep boys on the corner (which was also a Horrible experience ) they said the engine was gone and needed a new one.. I wanted a second opinion so I brought it back to Kia ( which was a 600$ tow) they told me they same thing and quoted me 6500$ Upfront to get a new engine. I'm broke there's no way I can come up with that amount upfront asked about warranty & because it was past 100k miles they will not cover it. I called their consumer affairs line and they just treated me like crap. I also called better business bureau and they did nothing too! I later found out that Hyundai GDI engines were recalled for Hyundais only (even tho Hyundai made the GDI engines for the 2011 Kia optimas , I called again and complained about that as well! It has been 2 years since my car has been down and just seating. What makes things 150times worse is that I had/ have to continue to paying on the car which is $690 a month.. this car is a true struggle for me!! Ever since this happened thousands of people have had this same issue. I also heard a couple lawyers were trying to get a class action suit on Kia for this.. I'm hoping something can help with this issue because Kia sold us Lemons and are not taking responsibility for it !

- Erika L., Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #34

Aug 252016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I really liked my Optima, I thought it was a great, I bought my car used at 66,000 miles it ran great and had awesome gas mileage compared to my past cars so it definitely was a keeper for me up until August of this year. I was driving home from picking up my daughter from school and the car just completely died with no warning signs or anything. I regularly have my oil changed so i know i was taking care of my car but of course KIA will not do anything to help with the costs of the repairs because I am over the 100,000 mile warranty. KIA has quoted me $6500 to repair including labor but I am a single mother of two young kids so I cannot just pull that money out of the air, so here I am 2 months later and still car to drive.

- Hayley M., Charlotte, NC, US

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