8.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$600
Average Mileage:
90,600 miles
Total Complaints:
14 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace assemblies (7 reports)
  2. not sure (6 reports)
  3. replace the headlamp assemblies (1 reports)
2011 Kia Optima lights problems

lights problem

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2011 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #14

Sep 012018

Optima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Received "new vehicle limited warranty extension" for 2011-2013 My Optima/Optima Hybrid headlamp assembly letter via mail; Took car in to dealership because i have about 6 foot of lighting in front of car while driving on dim lights; I was told Kia would only replace at no charge if showed very specific issues; (reflective material has to show wear or burning has to be shown near wiring); of course mine doesn't show either; need both headlights/assemblies replaced @ a cost for ME approx $2K (parts and labor; but told mostly its parts making fee so high); Very frustrated as this to me is a manufacturer caused problem obviously; have researched out the wazoo and many complaints; can't find anywhere that someone was fortunate enough to get KIA to replace/repair at their expense.; AND no guarantee it won't happen again if replaced.

- awhit, Huntsville, US

problem #13

Jul 062019

Optima SX 2.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,200 miles

Bought a 2011 Optima SX from the dealership, that night I went to drive and could not see the road and the low beams were barely lit. 2 Flashlights could have given off more light. Driving the car in this condition could very well lead to a crash so I returned the car to the dealership where they replaced the bulbs and realized that it actually needed the whole assemblies replaced. KIA please recall this ongoing issue.

- 1992jms, Winona, MN, US

problem #12

Nov 082018

Optima 2.0L/Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Have replaced my low-beam bulbs at a cost of $200.00 (100.00 each). The lights are so bad even after replacement that I have to drive with my high-beams on in order to see at night,which does not make the on-coming cars very happy.

- htrauthwein11, Pepperell, US

problem #11

Aug 012016

Optima LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

HORRIBLE! AWFUL! TERRIBLY DANGEROUS!!!

LOW BEAMS MAY AS WELL NOT EVEN BE ON!!! I DRIVE WITH HIGH BEAMS, AND NO ONE EVEN FLASHES ME BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT BRIGHT ENOUGH.....BUT THE LOW BEAMS ARE BASICALLY NON EXISTENT. YOU CANNOT TELL FROM INSIDE THE CAR IF THEY'RE EVEN ON. IT'S AN ABSOLUTE MIRACLE THAT I HAVEN'T CRASHED YET, BECAUSE YOU CAN NOT SEE AT NIGHT.

I HAVE AN APPT WITH MY LOCAL DEALERSHIP TOMORROW, BUT I DOUBT THEY EVEN KEEP THE CAR WHEN I GO TO DROP IT OFF. THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL I WILL PAY $900 FOR AN ONGOING CAR ISSUE THAT IS NOT OUR FAULT. I HAVE REPLACED BULBS, AND HAD A LOCAL SERVICE STATION CHECK THE BULBS CONTINUOUSLY. NOTHING HAS HELPED AND KIA OWES IT TO THEIR CUSTOMERS TO FIX THIS BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT! I LOVE MY OPTIMA EXCEPT FOR THIS HORRIBLE PROBLEM!

- jeffner31, Kelso, US

problem #10

Feb 012017

Optima LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My low beam headlights are extremely dim to the point we have questioned if they were even on at times. Have replaced the bulbs with the same issue. There needs to be a recall or a solution at some point.

- Jahleeka M., Woodland Hi, US

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problem #9

Oct 012017

Optima SX 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

2011 Optima SX with HID low beam headlights. The low beams are ineffective and create a significant nighttime driving hazard, particularly if the fog lights are not on. With the fog lights on, the fog lights provide the majority of light. The car casts it's own shadow when other cars are behind me, leaving a dark rectangle in front of me. No issues with the high beams. The dealer service department has replaced the bulbs and the auto-headlamp leveling module at a cost of over $1200, to no effect.

The dealer also wiped the inside of the assemblies, which did eliminate some issues with spotty illumination, but overall lighting is extremely poor. I have suggested to the dealer that the assemblies may need to be replaced due to failure of the reflective material within the assemblies, but they aren't buying that as the solution. Hoping for dealer or Kia assistance, but I'm not getting anywhere with this and fear that I will need to dump the car if the issue isn't resolved soon (I'm the original owner and purchased a 2017 Optima SXL last year, which has fantastic headlights).

Update from Mar 3, 2018: I opened a case with Kia Support regarding this issue. They advised that I schedule another appointment with the dealer and to have the dealer call the Kia Tech line with the case # when the car was in. What to you know...the suggested solution was to replace both headlamp assemblies because, of course, the reflective material inside the assemblies had deteriorated/disintegrated (the dealership blamed it on non-Kia bulbs having been used as replacements, which never happened as the only bulb replacements were performed by the dealership after I had complained about poor light quality). Unfortunately, the service department delivered this message back to me and quoted a price of $900 for each assembly plus $180 in labor plus tax. Oh, they said they could apply a 10% coupon (thanks for very little). I contacted the Kia Support case manager and he asked me to give him a day or two to see if Kia would cover some of the cost. Ultimately Kia covered the cost of 1 assembly and the dealership performed the install at no charge. So it cost me $900 + tax (plus all of the other costs previously incurred). After replacement, the low beam quality is AMAZING.

Kia and the dealership still made out on this deal. I ultimately found HID replacement assemblies, bulbs included, online for $250 each. The seller seams reputable, but I had never heard of them before and didn't want to go down a road of possibly buying parts online (again) that weren't quite what I needed and may be difficult to return. There is obviously a huge markup in these parts though.

- Chris M., Ballston Lake, NY, US

problem #8

Nov 012017

Optima SX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This is crazy! You cant see anything! I almost crashed on the highway because my low beams are so low you cant tell if they are on from inside the car. What is it going to take for someone to die before they fix this problem! This is completely nuts! This should be a recall on this asap. It is a lot of people complaining about this matter and this should be fixed by KIA! They want about $900 to fix a problem thats there fault.

- Michael S., Cincinnati, US

problem #7

Jan 012015

Optima SX Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Low beams extremely dim, replaced bulbs, seems chrome on reflectors burnt out.

REPORTED TO NHTSA Contact Information

toll-Free: 888-327-4236

VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE

Please use the toll-free number above to report suspected safety defects in your vehicle, vehicle equipment

CALL IN YOUR COMPLAINT AS WELL MAYBE WE CAN GET THEM TO DO SOMETHING!

- gc907, Grove C, US

problem #6

Jul 112017

Optima LX 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

Hi All,

My car is already involved in the 2.4L engine recall. Funny thing-never received a letter in the mail, but a call out of the blue from the service manager at my Kia dealer who was very adamant about getting my car in to take a look at the engine, check it out for 2 hours and if it checked out OK, give me a shiny new different color oil dipstick. He said if there was a problem they would replace my engine and I would get a loaner.

What I'm concerned about is, it's a 2011 Optima and I only have 13,900 miles on it. It's Cherry by the way.

Most of the complaints have the engine seizing around 40,000 or 50,000 miles. I'm wondering if I should press the dealer to replace the engine anyway, even if they say it's good.

- Donald A., Akron, US

problem #5

Oct 012016

Optima SX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I bought this vehicle in 2016 not knowing the issue. After I bought it and went out at night I could not see anything. All I was seeing was very minor light pointing to the side of the road. Need to use my high beams to get home. Next morning I went to get new headlight bulbs for $90.00 each. Swap them, turn them on, same thing, lights dim. I did some diagnostics myself and found out all was under specifications. Removed the light bulbs and put a small mirror inside the socket hole and found out the chrome that make the cups bright where the light bulb need to reflect the light out are burnt due to a manufacture defect. The headlight bulbs are very close to the cups and make the chrome burn. I call my local dealer and they have no clue people are having this issue. I ask for price and they are $850.00 each. This should be a free replacement from KIA because is a manufacturer defect. I'm not paying $1700.00 for 2 lights.

- Marco A., Oswego, US

problem #4

Sep 012016

Optima

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Starting a few months ago the low beam lights on our 2011 Kia Optima were extremely dim. It was hard to see 20 feet in front of your vehicle. You had to have your high beams on to be able to drive at dusk or night. We changed out the bulbs with 2 different manufacturer's bulbs AND took the car to the local Raleigh Kia dealership and were told that our lights had no problems. When the dealership looked at our lights it was in the middle of the day so you were unable to tell that you could not see 10 feet in front of the car (the problem got progressively worse). After 2 attempts to change out the lights we realized it was not a light bulb problem. We took the car into another auto shop who said the lights had burned the area and would have to replace the entire front area and computer part. They let us know they have seen this problem a lot on this year and make. We now have spent $575 on 2 assembly packages of low beams and labor.

- Kelley U., Fuquay Varina, US

problem #3

Aug 112016

Optima LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

click to see larger images

low beams dim

My wonderful wife told me she could only see a couple of feet in front of her car with the low beam lights on. I ran a few electrical tests only to find no change. I went to a Kia forum only to find more people with the same problem. In all my years of working on cars, I have never seen anything like this. It is a dangerous way to drive. Big Brother should step in and address this issue.

- Jim W., Kimberly, WI, US

problem #2

Jan 012016

Optima Optima V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

The headlight assembly on the 2011 Kia Optima is such a hazard that it caused an accident. the low beam lights do not shine where you can actually see the street. This car was brought to Kia on several occasions for this issue and the diagnosis was they cannot find a problem. I was insistent and brought pictures in showing the issue. The mechanics finally used a light meter and determined the low beams are extremely dim and that the headlight assemblies need to be replaced at a cost of $400.00 for each side not including the labor!! OMG are they kidding me. This is a manufactures defect and they should be recalled! A danger exists if you drive this vehicle at night. Lives will be lost and Kia will be sued. Heed my warning if this is an issue on your Kia PLEASE STOP DRIVING THE CAR AND CALL AN ATTORNEY, THE PRESS AND ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN AND GET THIS ISSUE FIXED. FILE COMPLAINTS WITH KIA THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU AND ONLINE!

Update from Jul 22, 2016: The low beams were defective and the light assembly was replaced. Remember warranty dates as these light replacement kits are $400 each not including labor. I am hoping they will recall these light kits as a safety hazard exist. Please be diligent with the service managers to get the lights replaced if you can not see the roadway at night.

- dltyson, Boca Raton, FL, US

problem #1

Sep 172015

Optima LX

  • CVT transmission
  • 83,000 miles

2011 KIA OPTIMA TAKEN TO DEALERSHIP TO AS THEY SAID "GROUND MY LOW BEAM HEADLIGHT BULBS" . UPON ARRIVAL I WAS TOLD MY BULBS WERE REPLACED INCORRECTLY AND THEY WOULD FIX THEM FOR A FEE. I AGREED. THE SERVICE MANAGER THEN CAME INTO THE CUSTOMER WAITING ROOM AND ASKED ME TO STEP INTO THE GARAGE AREA . I FOLLOWED HIM OUT TO MY CAR. HE SAID MY BULBS WERE CORRECTLY INSTALLED; UNFORTUNATELY THE BULBS HAD GOTTEN TOO HOT AND MELTED THE REFLECTIVE PAINT AND NOT ONE BUT BOTH OF MY HEADLAMP ASSEMBLIES WOULD NEED TO BE REPLACED AT A COST OF $349.99 EACH PARTS ONLY; INSTALLATION IS ADDITIONAL. WHEN ASKED IF WHEN REPLACED WHAT WOULD KEEP THE BULBS FROM GETTING SO HOT AND CREATING THE SAME PROBLEM AGAIN, HIS ONLY ANSWER WAS THAT THEY WOULD BE COVERED BY A 12 MONTH /12,000 MILE WARRANTY, AND IF IT HAPPENED DURING THAT TIME THEY'D BE COVERED BY SAID WARRANTY. HE DID SUGGEST THAT I TAKE A LOOK AROUND THEIR LOT AND SEE IF I FOUND A NEWER CAR WITH A WARRANTY AND THEY WOULD GIVE ME A DEAL ON IT??? WHY BUY ANOTHER KIA ...

- wattsfl, Perry, FL, US

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