really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,324 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #50

Jan 012014


  • 60,000 miles


Urgent: Steering wheel constantly sticks while driving. This is a safety hazard!!!!!!!!!! I see there are dozens and dozens of similar complaints from other Optima owners!!! does someone have to have a fatal accident for this to become a recall item "??"

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #49

Sep 252015


  • miles
I've been driving my car for some time now when it reach 60,000 + miles, I notice the car steering would stick when slightly turn or a full turn. It also drifts and there is a clicking noise when the steering wheel is turning left and right. I had front end line meant done. That did not stop the noise or sticking steering column. This happens while driving or sitting.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #48

Dec 242015


  • 30,700 miles
The steering wheel sticks, and it makes it hard to keep the car straight. There's no smoothness when turning the wheel. It's like the steering wheel turns in increments.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #47

May 182012


  • 25 miles


Urgent: From when I purchased it new, steering wheel constantly sticks while driving. This is a safety hazard!!!!!!!!!! I filed a report with NHTSA when I bought it, but never heard back from anyone. I see there are dozens and dozens of similar complaints from other Optima owners!!! ed hills cell# 561-313-5614

- Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #46

Sep 152015


  • miles
Unsafe loose steering. I first noticed this issue while driving on I75 shortly after purchasing my car in June of 2012. The car pulls to the left, when corrected, it then pulls to the right or viceversa. It's almost impossible to keep this car in a straight line. I reported this issue to my local Kia dealer about 4 times (during ever service visit) their response is always the same: "the car is performing according to manufacturer's specifications, we couldn't find anything wrong with it" I disagree but couldn't do anything about it. Today, 3 years later, it's worse, I hear a loud clicking noise coming from the steering column when I turn the wheel. This situation has escalated to severe. I fear for my life when driving this car. Please help!

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #45

Oct 082015


  • 44,000 miles
Wanders off center, either right or left. Will not stay straight. Wears you out continually correcting the drift or wandering.

- Independence, MO, USA

problem #44

Jun 032015


  • 29,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. While reversing out of the residential driveway, an abnormally loud clicking sound emitted from the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the steering wheel was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 29,000. The VIN was not available.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #43

Oct 282014


  • miles
Noticed in October 2014 the car started drifting and the steering wheel began to lock up. It has become progressively worse and now I'm hearing a knocking noise in the steering wheel. I was told by my coworker who has a 2011 Optima that he has the same problem and he was told by the dealership that it was a plastic gear in the steering column and would cost roughly $300 to fix. Upon research with this issue I have come across several owners that seem to have the same problem which Kia knows about. I feel that Kia should correct this problem at their expense before this issue kills someone.

- Loxahatchee, FL, USA

problem #42

Jul 162015


  • 26,030 miles
I have noticed a lot of play in the steering of my 2012 Optima in the last few months. I took the car into the dealer for new tires, alignment and balance while the mechanic was putting on the tires, I asked him about the play in the steering wheel and he said it was because of a fiber gear in the steering motor that is on the steering column and that it was a warrenty problem and would be repaired free of charge there is a small fiber gear about the size of a quarter that the teeth break off of and will cause a clicking that I had herd and could cause the steering to lockup. When the unit was taken apart, the gear had a lot of teeth broken off and after it was replace the steering wheel was fine again with no play in the wheel I saw no recall or warnings but it seems that this happens at about 25000 mile give or take. Thought I would share this with other owners it can be repaired at no cost on a warrenty bases

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #41

Jul 022014


  • 28,000 miles
I noticed when I was driving in the freeway I had to keep over correcting the steering wheel. It would get stuck and you needed to kind of jerk it to unstick.

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #40

May 132015


  • 52,006 miles


Vehicle has trouble maintaining proper steering at highway speeds. The steering needs to almost constantly be turned right to left to try to maintain straight driving. The steering will also occasional lock when turning and you have to manually turn the wheel back straight. The constant need to over correct the steering makes the vehicle unsafe to drive. I could see it easily causing an accident in the correct conditions.

- Massillon, OH, USA

problem #39

Apr 032015


  • 47,400 miles
We purchased the car on 4/3/15 hendrick Chevrolet in cary nc drove 5 miles home back to dealer ship next morning for paperwork to finish. Left dealership headed to main highway interstate 40 noticeable as soon as you get at highway speed the steering was tight had to hold on with both hand the car was weaving lane to lane as the was no center for you to drive straight. Immediately called dealer we took the car back left it. Today is a few weeks out 4/23/15 the have reset steering code, align and rebalanced tires a few times and yesterday replaced the whole steering column and we today still does the same thing. They said today they will replaces the tires and see his this goes. From the start they said no one has reported this issues but I showed them online of the hundreds of complaints. Kia is involved but I think they just want us to take the car and go. Its not safe and I am not driving it. It will sit there till tires rot. They are suppose to call Kia foe more things to they but they didn't act lime they are in a hurry. If I would have known this car had complaints L. would have never purchased it. Did research the car before purchase did not see any issue until I googled the problem and man the internet went crazy. I want it fixed and safe or Kia to offer me a similar car with no issues...............

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #38

Mar 282015


  • 61,018 miles
While taking a curve on the interstate, the steering wheel would hold itself in position as if it were almost in the locked position. Had been driving the car for almost 2 hours when this occurred. Took next exit to check power steering fluid and tires. Everything checked ok. Got back on the interstate and it continued to happen until the car was shut off and parked overnight. Very dangerous, especially for someone new to driving. The steering G wheel would hold itself into any position I left it in. It would never try to re-center itself while driving. May be coincidence, but the cruise control would not maintain the set speed at the same time this was occurring. Dealership stated no error codes were stored on the cars computer.

- Ona, WV, USA

problem #37

Feb 022015


  • miles
The steering wheel sticks at hwy speeds. I have to pull the wheel hard to be able to change lanes. It drifts from left to right with out even turning the steering wheel. This is a major safety concern for me and everybody else on the road. It would be a real bad situation if I could not turn in the event of something in my way. I have also notified Kia of this problem. I have seen post dating as early as 2012 about this problem and still Kia has not notified me that this could be a real concern. I am posting along with alot of other people in hopes that this will become public not only for my car but for everybody else who does not know about this situation before its to late for somebody else.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #36

Jul 022012


  • 3,000 miles
Unable to steer the vehicle in a straight line at highway speeds. Car consistently drifts from left to right and right to left. Steering wheels feels as though it becomes locked in position. As you attempt to correct the steering, the steering wheel randomly breaks free causing over correcting which could very easily result in a crash. Has been taken to the dealers and they say the car is within specs and you don't have any warning lights on so therefore there is no problem with it. This is going to result in someone losing their life.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #35

Jan 022015


  • 31,000 miles
Electric power steering intermittently malfunctions at highway speed causing a snapping sensation in the steering wheel and inability to hold a a steady heading. Steering becomes sticky requiring G constant adjustments as the car drifts from one sticky heading to another. Dealer repeatedly unable to diagnose.

- White Plains, NY, USA

problem #34

Nov 092014


  • 23,682 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. While driving between 60-65 mph, the vehicle swerved independently towards the left and without warning. The dealer stated that there was no failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 23,682. The VIN was not available.

- North Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #33

Dec 022014


  • 49,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving 40-45 mph, the steering wheel seized causing the vehicle to sway abnormally. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 49,000.

- Mt. Airy , MD, USA

problem #32

Nov 202014


  • 33,974 miles
The vehicle is very hard to steer when you go over 45/55 miles per hour. It becomes so uncontrollable that I have to drive it with both hands as I continue to try to control the vehicle from either going into another lane or hitting the one coming traffic. The steering wheel gets soooo tight /stiff that the car cannot travel down the highway without me constantly shifting steering wheel from left to right. Any slight over pull / correction of the wheel is going to cause someone there life or a horrible accident.I pray that Kia corrects this before someone or cause someone to lose their life. Hope this will be recalled before it's to late. I was on the highway fighting to stay in my lane and crossed over into the oncoming traffic (which could've caused me my life)and it was a sheriff deputy. He immediately turned around to stop me. He thought I was dui. This was very embarrassing.I explained to him that I had the txt the dealership where I had got the car from and they tried to put it on the highway/ tires but they suggested I take it to Kia dealership closer to me. The officer suggested I get it checked asap and didn't charge me. Not only am I afraid to drive the car but I'm exhausted and body extremely tired from driving it. No one should feel this way. Kia please listen to your customers because they can make you or break you. Please don't be like that other car company and someone had to lose their life first. Please listen!!!!!

- Midway, GA, USA

problem #31

Nov 012012


  • 15,000 miles
Vehicle is hard to hold straight at higher speeds. The steering locks into a position and requires extra effort to turn the wheel causing over correction.

- Augusta, GA, USA

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