really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
62,550 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (7 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. rebuild engine (1 reports)
2013 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 162019

Optima SX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,651 miles


I have always maintained service and maintenance on my 2013 Kia Optima. In December 2019, the car was making a funny noise when I started it and it would not accelerate when driven. We took it to a local car dealership and they told me that the Turbo was bad. I had the car hauled to the Wyatt Johnson Kia dealership in Clarksville, Tennessee. There was a recall on a tube leading to the engine that carried oil. This recall is known to prevent oil from getting to the engine and also debris/sludge in the engine.

The Kia dealership said that I had no oil in the car and so therefore they would not cover the replacement of the Turbo. I explained that I have service and maintenance records from the past 4 years, but they said it was negligence on my part so they would not fix it even though I just had my oil changed in November and the car was inspected at the local dealership in December. I can get zero help from Wyatt Johnson Kia to explain to me why this is not covered under the recall since the car was deprived of oil because of the recall.

The car will barely go 40 miles per hour and has a burning smell when it is driven. I have sent emails, text messages, and made phone calls to the Kia dealership and all they tell me is they have done all they can do and that the fix is on me. I have gone without a vehicle since the middle of December 2019. Please give advice as to what I should do next.

- aprilhodges74, Dickson, US

problem #8

Mar 232017

Optima 4.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

My husband I had start noticing in Feb 2017 the car would jerk or stall sometimes when driving but there was no light indicating anything was wrong so we didn't think it was a serious problem until I received a letter in mail saying there was a recall on the steering wheel collar. We ended up taking it back to Kia to get it fixed. Then the car started having a hard time catching when trying to turn on the car, so we asked them at the dealership to check that problem as well. No problem with turn on switch, but driving back home we were still noticing stalling and speed didn't seem to pick up either. Starting in March, the 2013 Kia Optima started shutting off while driving during traffic and this was scary, having my kids in car was not a moment I wish on anyone. We managed to pull to the side and waited a few moments and car cranked up as if nothing happened. So, moving forward, it's March 23, 2017 and I ask my son to go to store. He said the exact same thing happened to him and he proceeded to put car in neutral and it started right up. March 24, 2017 we wanted to get away away and during the drive on an open highway my husband said "The car cut off!!" We had enough speed on the car to pull out of the way because an 18 wheeler was not to far behind us. After sitting with car for a while, and the idea of being stranded was not a good feeling. My husband turned the ignition over, and it started but now the engine is knocking and the engine light is on. I'm calling Kia first thing Monday morning!!!

- Lisa M., Winona, MS, US

problem #7

Nov 262016

Optima LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

2013 Kia Optima just turned 33K miles. Took it back to Car Max under warranty. Was told it needs a new motor and need all service records. Have two of them. Ended up taking it to Kia. They called and said they fixed the problem and it was only a bad PVC. Will pick it up later today. Just by reading the history of these motors here and various other sources, I'm not buying the bad PVC fix and think the motor will blow soon. I will keep this up to date with the progress. Probably going to try and sell or trade it in. I don't feel the car will be safe.

- Dean F., Sacramento, CA, US

problem #6

Jan 192017

Optima ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


January 17th I take my 2013 KIA to dealership to get oil change. No one mentions anything about oil sludge in engine- My report for car says everything is good. January 18th, I notice sluggishness in acceleration in car with rattling noise to follow. I take it to car dealer today January 19th 2017 and the maintenance department states there is sludge in the engine, he did not ask if I had kept up with oil changes, he just accuses me of neglect to car's oil changes. He also states that because of neglect it will not be covered under engine warranty, and I had 3 options 1. Trade In for new car, 2. New Engine 3. Rebuilt engine. I will be contacting original dealer and manufacture. I'm hoping for a different outcome than other KIA owners with same complaint.

- Alice D., Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #5

Oct 172016

Optima 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I've only had the Kia Optima 11 months with 2 oil changes next one wasn't do as of yet Got in my car and white smoke started coming out the exhaust. Had it towed to Kia service department told the next day the engine has sludge and I needed a new engine. New engine on a car with only a little over 42,000 miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They then claim lack of "maintenance" car REALLY 11 months and 2 oil changes later is lack of car. REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- frustratedconsumer, Orlando, FL, US

problem #4

Sep 202016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,270 miles

Was driving my 2013 KIA Optima (with just over 40k miles) on the highway, went to pass a car and make a lane change… no pickup, sputtered, rattling in engine and a huge amount of white smoke came from the exhaust pipes. I brought the car in to Kia Service. I received a call the next day “there is sludge throughout the engine and the cause is neglect and poor maintenance”. "Please provide your Oil change receipts"

I had the oil changed regularly with synthetic oil. Then I started doing research online and found a massive amount of people reporting exactly the same problem, all being told they need new engines, which will not be covered by the warranty, I also see class action suits being filed.

Additionally, Hyundai (whose vehicles had the exact same engines, manufactured in the same plant) issued a recall for the same problem:


“Hyundai will mail affected owners an interim recall notification by November 2, 2015, instructing them to contact their dealer for a service appointment. The dealer will inspect the vehicle and, if necessary, replace the engine free of charge. A second notification will be mailed when parts are available.”

“These same engines, built at the same manufacturing plant, were also used in Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs, Kia Optima sedans, and Kia Sorento SUVs assembled in West Point, Georgia. According to Kia spokesperson Jame Hope, Kia is not impacted by this recall.”

Same engines… recalled…. but KIA is not impacted? The 100,000 mile warranty ad campaign, apparently has lots of fine print and is very deceptive. If there is an engine problem which is causing all this sludge in lower mileage, newer vehicles… fix the problem and honor the warranty agreement

10/05/2016 UPDATE: I was able to compile all my oil change receipts as requested. As Expected (based upon what I found online in similar reports to consumer agencies)….. the “KIA Representative” that went to my service department …. DECLINED engine replacement under warranty. “Poor maintenance “determined as the cause, due to the “sludge in the engine”. This is regardless of the fact that the engine defect in question, CAUSES ENGINE SLUDGE buildup .

So the scam here is sending me a letter notifying me of an increase of the vehicle warranty to 120,000 miles. This warranty extension is really only an empty promise that means absolutely nothing. Once the vehicle experiences the engine problem, the sludge is already in the engine (caused by the defect), thereby voiding the warranty. What's the point of having a warranty extension, with a built in loophole for KIA to decline when engine sludge is found? Kia has lost my future business, my friends business and my families business. I really loved this car… Shame on me for believing that KIA actually valued their customers and would honor their very well advertised warranty and repair their vehicles.

- louisd1, Manalapan, NJ, US

problem #3

Aug 102016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


Oil Changed regularly, noticed a tapping sound in engine. Checked oil, there was plenty in. Driving back from work at 11pm that night, tapping gets louder and engine performance gets worse, as well as a rattling type noise. Pulled car over and stopped driving it. Oil pump was blocked up with engine gunk, not allowing engine to receive the fresh oil that was in there. Caused a bearing to spin, now I have to have engine rebuilt. Engine gunk all through engine. Googled it and is a recurring problem btwn 60-90k miles on Kia Optimas btwn 2011-2014. Hyuandai used same engines and issued a recall on them for engine/oil gunk issue. Kia has not. There are literally dozens and dozens of the same exact story for Kia Optimas of these years, it is unacceptable

- Korhan And Kathleen K., Dunedin, FL, US

problem #2

Jul 142016

Optima EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

click to see larger images

oil sludge oil sludge oil sludge oil sludge oil sludge

Car was running fine and @ 1 week after getting my oil changed there was excessive exhaust and my son and I thought it might be bad gas or clogged injectors. We drove it to AZ and back to NV. 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. Nope 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.

- Laurie T., Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #1

Aug 122015

Optima SXL 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

We have had problems with this car 3 times since we had it. It jerks, shakes and doesn't want to run over 40 MPH. Now we got to dish out 6552 dollars to get a new motor put in because the dealer said the motor is junked up with oil sludge. They said we were 10,000 miles past the oil change. We had them change the oil but we misplaced the oil receipt and they don't have any record of them changing the oil. Not HAPPY with KIA at ALL they stuck one to us this time.

- celo, Jackson,Ms, MS, US

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