really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,768 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.

2012 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

May 232016


  • 84,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving, the engine stalled. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where an unknown part needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 84,000.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #25

Dec 252012


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced a loss of power without warning. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that two cylinders had no compression and the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. Prior to the failure, the engine was previously replaced due to the same failure. The contact observed steam coming from the engine during the failure. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine); however, the VIN, year, make, and model were not included. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 10,000.

- Kyle, TX, USA

problem #24

Apr 062016


  • miles
Trying to state a short version of this brutal situation!! purchased the car with 60,000 miles my car is now out of warranty has not reached 100,000 miles and the engine is gone. Of course Kia will not fix my car I woe $24,000 on.

- Brunswick, GA, USA

problem #23

Mar 222016


  • 60,100 miles


At 60,100 miles the engine failed. No check engine light no oil light ever came on. I have an extended warranty that denied it along with Kia corporate. Premature engine failure. Maintained to Kia standards as well with oil changes. With every oil change I was told the oil was fine and nothing seemed wrong or amiss with the oil in the car. I took my car to have an oil change the day before my engine blew. I was driving to work when it made a very loud knocking noise and I was unable to make it to work. I had the car towed immediately to the nearest dealership. I have owned the car for 18 months as the second owner. I am still making payments.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #22

Apr 202016


  • 78,000 miles
While driving down the highway at appx 60mph the car suddenly stopped on us, and all of the indicator lights on the dashboard came on-for the first time ever. There was no knocking sound prior to this happening (we found out there should have been after taking the car to the dealership) after having the car towed to our Kia dealership, we were informed that the engine had seized, but there was oil in the car. I am now having to replace the entire engine. After reading multiple stories of this happening to other people as well, it sounds like Kia needs to issue a recall.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #21

Mar 032016


  • 100,000 miles
The first thing would have to be the steering wheel like it has been noted before when you sit still it has a clicking sound. And all driving the highway at 75 miles an hour it sticks and you have to jerk it back witch is no safe I have had it aligned many times but does not fix the problem. My car has 112,113 miles on I take care of replace thing that need to done and oil changes every 3,000 well after I hit the 100,000 mark my car sounds like it has no oil.. are I have seen on the internet that it sounds like your rpms are really high but there not... it starts when I'm going 20 mph another thing that is weird when I'm turning left the noise goes away

- Harper, TX, USA

problem #20

Feb 172016


  • 71,500 miles


As I was driving on the overpass and merging onto another highway my car would not accelerate, I put the car in neutral and was able to veer off the freeway to a side street when I stopped the vehicle and a lot of smoke started coming from the engine and the car would not restart. Before this I had no indication that anything was wrong with the vehicle. I had it towed to Kia where I was told this was due to lack of maintenance as there is metal debris in the oil filter and oil pan. The vehicle only has 71000 miles on it and I have oil change records to prove maintenance every 5000 miles or sooner on the car. It has now been almost 2 weeks and I am still waiting for Kia to respond if they are going to fix my vehicle. Since I am considered the 2nd owner (even though the first owner was the dealership I bought the car from) I only have a 60K mile warranty. I have read multiple stories on 2012 Kia Optima's doing the same thing to other people and Kia needs to step up and fix this problem!

- Queen Creek, AZ, USA

problem #19

Feb 172016


  • 78,600 miles
Last week, during an oil change, I was told that my transmission cooler hose was leaking and needed two new ones. In addition to that I would have to pay for the cooling service which would be a total of about $200. No telling how long the car was without coolant, but my car has never over heated. Coincidentally, I received an email that there is a recall on the Kia/2011 for the same issue! I was told that there was nothing Kia would over if it was not included in the recall which it most likely should be by looking at online reviews. Please investigate.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #18

Feb 022016


  • 46,000 miles
Driving North bound on major highway. Car starts losing speed, I pull over into a gas station and my car dies, it restarts instantly with no service lights I continue down the road on the service road, the car dies at a red light. Starts up once more. I hear a knocking noise coming from my engine. I was able to make it home but now the noise is much louder, its coming from the rear of the engine on the right side. I take it into the dealership. The connector rod to a piston is destroyed. The car has plenty of oil. I've read on forums many people have had this same problem.

- Deer Park, TX, USA

problem #17

Jan 132016


  • 72,000 miles
Driving at approximately 50 mph on the parkway, engine stalled without warning and would not re-start. I had the car towed to a shop where they informed me the engine had seized. There was definitely oil in there as I had an oil change within the last couple of weeks, . the car has 72K miles on it and I am the second owner so not covered by Kia's non-transferable 10yr/100K mi warranty. Working with Kia customer service, waiting to hear back from a supervisor.

- Forked River, NJ, USA

problem #16

Jan 062016


  • 62,600 miles


Sudden engine failure without warning lights. Knocking sound. Parked car and had towed to dealer. Car has 63,000 miles on it. Dry of oil, and oil was changed within past six weeks. Same engine (theta II) from same plant (ala) as the Hyundai sonatas covered by recent recall. Symptoms are also the same. Kia refusing coverage under warranty because not original owner. Working through their Consumer Affairs to escalate. So far, no results. I believe we are seeing an identical problem in my car with identical engine to sonata and Kia should fix

- Perkiomenville, PA, USA

problem #15

Nov 282015


  • 63,000 miles
The vehicle hit 63,000 miles during this incident. As I was merging onto the expressway at 50mph, I got the vehicle to 60mph and the speedometer gauge froze at 60mph. Then, the RPM gauge dropped to 0. suddenly the engine lost power, the brakes locked up and before I got the car off to the shoulder at a complete stop, the engine cut out completely. The engine would not start at all after it cut out. I then brought the vehicle to a dealership where they deemed a new engine as the current engine blew.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

problem #14

Dec 032015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 50 mph, the engine stalled without warning and would not restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 117,000. Updated 02/10/16. Updated 04/08/16

- Bohemia, NY, USA

problem #13

Jul 072015


  • 47,000 miles
When cranking up car engine makes loud noise, then if driving at a normal speed the car slows down on it own, also the dash board lights goes from bright to dim to almost no dash board lights at all, driving

- Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 232015


  • 5,100 miles
Metal debris in engine oil, scorch engine- same engine problem as parent co. Hyundai motor recall. On sonata. A 2.4 liter engine., manufactured before April 2012. Engine needs to be replaced. Engine failed on freeway during normal use.

- Brentwood, NH, USA

problem #11

Aug 022015


  • 71,000 miles
I was driving on I 95 on our way home from Florida. We were passing fayettsville, nc when my car engine made some knocking noise and then the engine light came on, before I can pull to the shoulder, the car stalled, lost power at 70 mls per hr. We were lucky no one hit us as I was slowly navigating to the shoulder. I had it towed to a Kia dealership in fayettsville, nc. They said engine seized up and needs to be replace. The car has 71,000mls but Kia denied my warranty claim so I end up paying $5,700 for a remanufactured engine.

- Adamstown, MD, USA

problem #10

Aug 012015


  • miles
My engine sounds like a truck, I took car to Kia dealer ship and they claimed it was it was serpentine belt tensioner loosing tenion and ideler pulley bearing.said they fixed these problems but I'm still have the same problem, and said there was no recall on my car.but there is a problem with the the one I bought.

- Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #9

Sep 022014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
The waste gate actuator on Kia Optima turbo model failed. There are thousands of complaints about this defective part online and Kia has not address the issue of this defect. To replace the defective part which is not covered under the powertrain warranty is $500. Do not purchase a Kia until they have addressed this glaring defect. I've had 8 cars in my life 7 Honda and 1 Kia. The Kia was a big mistake.

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #8

Dec 102014


  • 49,883 miles
I was driving on the interstate. Had been driving for about 40 minutes when I was on the interstate going up a small hill and tried to accelerate in speed and my check engine light came on and my car started jumping and then would not keep the speed I was at. The speed in my car kept descending. It wasnt until I was going 30 mph before I could get over into the slow lane to then get in the emergency lane. I had the car towed from where it broke down in baileyton tn to bristol tn which is about a 50 min drive and was then told they would not be giving me a loaner car and it hadnt even been 1 month since I purchased car.. no one seems to be willing to help. They said they will not trade my car in for a different car even tho they claim there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.... grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

- Gray, TN, USA

problem #7

Sep 172014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
I was driving home from gulf shores, al to atlanta, ga. I stopped at a rest area. When I started my car back up there was kind of a buzzing noise as I accelerated, but it would stop once I reached cruising speed. After about 15 miles down the road from the rest area, my gas pedal just stopped working. The car coasted until it lost speed and then just turned off. After I was eventually towed to the nearest Kia dealership, I was told that the engine had died and I would need to have a new one installed.

- Decatur, GA, USA

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