really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,160 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.

2013 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Jul 142016

Optima 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


Car was running fine or so I thought and @ 1 week after getting my oil changed there was excessive exhaust/smoke and my son and I thought it might be bad gas or clogged injectors. We drove it to AZ and back to nv. Car seemed to run ok at that point then my daughter took it to ca and the oil light started flickering on and off and finally the engine light came on. She took it to a jiffylube where they said it had no oil. What"!?!"! the oil was just changed at 47,000 miles. Put 4 qts in and took it aaa to run an engine diagnostic. Said everything was fine according to the code they got and reset the engine light. Wrong again.. daughter drove away and same problem. Took it back to aaa where they determined it was an internal engine problem and to take it to the dealership. Sludge everywhere in the engine. My car only has 48,000 miles on it and I have the oil changed as scheduled. Waiting to hear what Kia is going to do, but from the sounds of the prior complaints, they are not going to honor their warranty. I can¿T afford $5,000+ to replace the engine in my car. This is so ridiculous. They need to honor their warranty for their sh*tty engines.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #19

Jun 282016


  • 45,000 miles
Sludge in engine 45,000 miles. Warranty wont cover and apparently service campaign means nothing

- Yukon, OK, USA

problem #18

Jun 272016


  • 103,000 miles
I was driving down the highway at 65 mph and I heard a loud noise, my car started slowing down and I could hear a clanging noise, I stopped and parked and it was knocking loudly. Still can't drive it.

- Fort Thompson, SD, USA

problem #17

May 202016


  • 52,000 miles


The Kia Optima I purchased had low mileage only 46K bought it on March 2016 with carfax service records showing up to 26K miles on 5/4/15. Apperantly my engine had sludge and Kia is voiding there manufacturer warranty due to lack of maintenance. My turbo and engine need to be replaced, I find it hard to believe that with in a year a car csnibeat developed so much sludge, seems the car had already started collecting sludge even with regular oil changes. Kia needs to take action and honor there warranty. Now I can go passed 40 miles per hour on the freeway because lack of power

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 202016


  • 41,900 miles
Blown engine

- Grafton, WI, USA

problem #15

Dec 142015


  • 56,337 miles
Purchased a used 2013 Optima with 24,952 miles on 3/13/14. Completed scheduled 7500 mile oil changes with some one other than the dealership. At 56337 miles, the car started to make a clattering noise during acceleration. Soon after the engine light came on. Immediatly brought the car into dealship as it was still under warranty. After 4 hours of waiting, service tech took me to the back and said I had sludge in my oil and needed a new engine and warranty would not cover because it looked like the oil had not been changed on schedule. I argued the point knowing I had all changes done. He gave me other reasons...cheap oil, wrong oil, etc. Did some research...ther are quite a few of the same complaints!

- Thibodaux, LA, USA

problem #14

Sep 212015


  • 48,450 miles


I had my oil change and two days later the oil light came on so I took it back to pit stop 500 and he's said it was low so he check the car said he didn't see any oil leaks if the oil light comes on again take it to Kia. When I left there while I was driving I could see white smoke coming out my pipes. I took it to the Kia dealership and they said the oil was low put oil in it again and said drive it 500 miles and if the oil light come on bring it back. While driving it home it stalled it wouldn't go over 30 miles and white smoke was coming out the pipes so I made a appointment and took it back now the dealership says it is sludge in the oil. I had did some research and discover ten Kia with the same exact problem and six of them are Kia Optima

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #13

Sep 092015


  • 35,800 miles
I leased the Kia Optima (2013) for 3 years. With 4 months left on the lease & 35,000 miles later, everything was perfect, no issues whatsoever, up until yesterday morning while driving to work. I was approaching a 4-way stop when I heard what sounded like the screech or a short blast of a hairdryer. Directly after 'the sound' I approached the stop sign, but even as I was slowing I felt that the car was sluggish. I came to a stop. When I tried to go again I realized the engine had stopped. I tried a few times to start the engine but it was completely dead. I had to go to work, so I called a friend who is a mechanic to come look at the car. He said he would take the battery to pep boys to have it checked, which he did, they said the battery was good. He advised me to call the car pros Kia of carson where I leased the car from as it was covered under the "100,000 mile/10 year warranty". when I got to the service department they told me they needed to do a diagnostic which would cost $119 and would "probably be covered by the warranty but you need to sign this form just in case it's not" of course, when they came back, they said I was not coverered under their warrenty because the engine was "bad' and had completely blown due to "black sludge'' in the oil compartment (this is a complete lie as my mechanic friend checked the oil that morning and it was good!!!) and they needed receipts for all of the services to my car going back one year as they needed to know who had been tampering with my car! for the record, I have all of the receipts from pep-boys and my mechanic who have done all of my oil changes religiously. Now I come to find out via research on the internet that there are law suits happening between consumers who are being blamed for not doing oil changes and causing chronic engine failure because Kia don't want to honor their warrenty!!!!

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 122015


  • 22,348 miles
The evening of 8/12/15 I was driving down a 4 lane city road, 2 lanes each direction. The engine completely shut off leaving me with no power and in a very dangerous situation with sudden deceleration and vehicles coming up from behind. Fortunately, no one hit me and I was able to move the car out of traffic. No engine maintenance/warning lights came on prior to the engine failure. We have been informed the engine is locked up and will need completely replace with a new engine. Routine maintenance, including Kia's 22,500 mile recommended maintenance was performed only 16 days prior on 7/27/15. Dave green, Kia arapahoe service manager, informed today (8/17/15) that they have seen several instances of this in the past week. They believe there is a connection to the hot weather. What ever the cause this has a very high potential to cause death or extreme injury.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #11

Jul 212015


  • 32,000 miles
Was driving to work(2013 Kia Optima appx 32000 miles) as I accelerated to merge on the intestate, a large cloud of smoke came out of the exhaust, there was no indication or any warning, there is no maintenance light to indicate there is a problem with the vehicle.I took the vehicle to my Kia dealership they removed the valve cover and was told there is excessive sludge on the engine that I would need a new engine, this is not cover by Kia warrenty, after doing several day of research I have discovered that there are many Kia owner who are experiencing the same type of problems we are being told that excessive sludge is the cause but most mechanic know that sludge is a symptom not a cause, and what is excessive 1%or 5% who makes that determanition? I have done regular oil changes myself. I contacted the Kia home office and am waiting for a reply.

- Diberville, MS, USA

problem #10

Jul 232014


  • 47,500 miles


Fuel will heat up and bubble out of fuel tank after extended periods of idling. 4 hours idling with 3/4 full fuel tank. Liquid fuel and vapors escaping from gas cap and dripping down the side of the car.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #9

Feb 212015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 3,300 miles
My wife, son and I were on the way home from town in our 2013 Kia Optima. I stopped at a local grocery store to pick some eggs as my wife and son stayed in the car. I turned the car off and went into the store for about 7-8 minutes, when I walked out the door my son came running up to me yelling our car is on fire, you could see the flames coming out of the hood and bottom of car. The car was a total loss. When I contacted the Kia dealership they did not seemed to concern and gave me the number to report. After doing so I received a call from Kia corporate a day later asking questions. They wanted me to send them pictures of the fire to do their investigation because they only had two engineers who could look into this. It is now may and still I have not heard anything. I have made contact with the dealership numerous times and sent emails to Kia corporate. My wife & kid was in this car when it caught fire while parked and not running at a parking lot. This is ridicules.

- Wolcottville, IN, USA

problem #8

Apr 132015


  • 19,333 miles
Had oil change 5 days prior, and recall for acceleration. Called the, dealership because I heard a knocking noise in the front end. Was on my way to dealership on the, expressway, car lost power, put it in neutral and pulled to right side of xway..car filled with smoke and fully engulfed in flames. Waiting to hear if insurance is looking into faulty work with recall or oil change.

- Braintree, MA, USA

problem #7

Feb 192015

Optima 4-cyl

  • 22,286 miles
On 2/19/2015 at 8:30 a.M. my wife drove our 2013 Kia Optima approximately 6 miles to the local supermarket and then drove the 6 miles back home. Maximum speeds reached were no more than 50 mph with the majority of the drive being at 35 mph. About halfway home she noticed an unfamiliar smell but was not sure what it was, and the car seemed to be driving normally and no warning lights ever came on. As she pulled into the garage at our home she then noticed smoke coming from under the hood. She immediately opened the hood and saw flames shooting out from the back of the engine compartment near the turbo. She ran into the house and grabbed a fire extinguisher. She used the entire extinguisher to put out the flames. I came home and together we pushed the vehicle out of the garage and called Kia. The vehicle was then towed 43 miles away to the closest Kia dealership. Kia cooperate Consumer Affairs division was immediately in contact with us, we stated that we no longer felt safe with this vehicle and wanted it replaced. The dealership informed us that they could not even touch the vehicle until an investigator from Kia Corp. Looked at the vehicle. After pictures of the incident were received by cooperate the whole situation changed. I feel that since the vehicle was not burned badly (only because of my wife's quick action) Kia is not treating this as serious as they should anymore. I was informed by Kia corporate that they would be fixing the vehicle under warranty and returning it to us. I have been in contact with the dealership and they have told me the vehicle was driven once for a short period and when it returned the turbo charger was "glowing red hot like lava" they also said that Corp. Engineers from Kia were performing tests remotely and that no attempts had even been made to try and fix the problem yet.....updated 06/09/15

- Big Bear City, CA, USA

problem #6

Feb 252015


  • 25,000 miles
After coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, when I tried to accelerate to turn onto a busy road my car lost power halfway into the intersection. This has happened twice. My first reaction was to push harder on the gas pedal, as there were cars coming at me from both directions, and after a few seconds the car violently lurches forward and regains power. This is a terrifying issue and a serious safety threat. I had 2 children ages 8 and 12 in my vehicle both times this has happened.

- Baraboo, WI, USA

problem #5

May 042014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 6,300 miles
During the second oil change at the dealership, I indicated that the vehicle's exhaust was very strong and was coming into the vehicle both at speed and while sitting. The service technician stated that the vehicle needed to have only premium fuel in it to stop the issue. The owners manual does not state that this is the case but in order to prevent the strong exhaust, we switched to only use premium fuel which prevented the majority of the strong fumes but not all. In getting the vehicle's third oil change, the oil was extremely dirty and the service technician stated that he had seen no reason why a vehicle of such low mileage should have oil anywhere near the condition that it did.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #4

Nov 182013


  • 10,000 miles
This has happened three times now, and just the third this past weekend so I am finally writing a complaint. My Kia has a faulty map sensor, the dealer says, and when it goes out (about every 2 months) my car completely dies on me; I have no acceleration, brakes lock up and my power steering is gone. This is a very dangerous situation since two of the three occurrences have been on the highway. When it happens, I am forced to yank the steering wheel to a shoulder and let the car come to a stop. Sometimes it restarts, sometimes it does not. In all three instances, my car has had to be towed. This is very dangerous for not only me by anyone in the car with me as well as any other Kia driver's out there. I have filed my complaint with Kia Consumer Affairs but they do not offer a replacement, just money. While I appreciate the offer, money does not do anything for my confidence in driving the car. It is a brand new car, just one year old. I fear for my life each time I drive my car but I have no other option, I drive a lot for work. All I am seeking is a replacement car, I love the car and all it offers but it does not perform well at all and I am very fearful of this. Please help if you can or if you have had similar issues.

- Lagrange, IL, USA

problem #3

Mar 252013


  • 50 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Kia Optima. The contact was driving 5 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but the failure was unable to be diagnosed. The manufacturer was not contacted about the issue. The failure mileage was 50 and the current mileage was 8000.

- Jolon, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 122013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
Driving on a city road during normal traffic (4:30pm est) my vehicle began to make large rattling noise from the engine compartment. At first I thought I had picked up somthing on the road, but as I accelerated/deccelerated the noise became louder/softer. I immediatley contacted my Kia dealership. After speaking to the service manager he told me to bring the vehicle in next week since that would be the soonest it could be looked at. I informed him that I did'nt think I could even make it home let alone wait a week to bring the vehicle in. He stated I could drop it off, but it would not be looked at until next week. Either way, within 10 miutes of driving a large banging noise went off under the hood, engine oil sprayed throught the engine compartment and I had complete loss of power. Kia roadside assistance towed the vehicle to the dealership where they have informed me that the engine needs to be replaced. The vehicle is less than 2 weeks old and had 600 miles when this occured. I informed the dealership I would not want a vehicle with a replaced engine and they have informed me that is my only option. I will not be purchasing from Kia again as there was no support from their corporate customer service either.

- Brunswick, OH, USA

problem #1

Apr 262013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 6,600 miles
Driving down interstate, engine made loud, clanking noise. Pushed on gas and noise got louder and the car slowed down. Car did not respond when gas pedal applied. Turned on hazard lights and worked way over to outer lane and finally to side of road. Was almost rear-ended when happened; car slowed way down. Towed to dealership where purchased. Replaced fuel pump but noise still occurring. A week later, informed had to replace engine. Week later engine, and now parts, were on back order. Following week, informed by dealership, Kia would not put new engine in car because over 5,000 miles (only 6600). A remanufactured would be used. Asked to see car and asked if they discovered what was wrong. Engine out of car and completely apart. Informed the "end" piston broke. Looked at piston, and portion appeared to have broken off. They said the broken part had fallen inside and was causing noise. Not happy with Kia. Doesn't seem like they stand behind their product...

- Storm Lakke, IA, USA

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