really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,233 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2013 Kia Optima Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Jul 182013


  • 450 miles


On straight a ways the car wanders (pulls) from side to side and we have to continually turn the steering wheel back and forth to straighten the car out. The car will not track straight. We have to continually correct the steering. Because we travel on a lot of 2 lane roads we are already considering trading the car because of safety concerns.

- Rockton, IL, USA

problem #18

Sep 192013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 175 miles
Vehicle will not track straight. Vehicle wonders left and right at speeds of 40 mph or higher. Has been doing this since I purchased it.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #17

Jul 282013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 150 miles
Vehicle's steering will not stay on center. Pulls primarily to the left, many times pulling me into the opposite lane of traffic. Very dangerous. It's also physically exhausting on my arms constantly having to redirect the steering to center and attempt (unsuccessfully) to keep it there. As soon as the car is redirected from veering to the left, it then oversteers and veers to the right. There is no centering this vehicles steering. I've already taken the car in for service once for this issue and it wasn't corrected. I called Kia service department and told the manager that I am aware of the many dozen complaints of this same issue with the Kia Optima and that I want it corrected. He then said he was not aware of this "issue" and told me he would look into it and get back to me. There was no follow up from him.

- Bullville, NY, USA

problem #16

Jul 222013


  • 66 miles


I recently purchased a new Kia Optima and I am having the same issues others are complaining about with the car not tracking properly by either veering to the left or to the right constantly. In my case, I notice it in city and highway driving. I brought it to the dealer, and they found nothing wrong, but after a long debate, they aligned the vehicle finding it to be off alignment slightly. I noticed no significant change in the problem, so I changed the tires since they install very poor quality oem tires. Not much better as far as steering, but way better wet/dry road traction. I will be getting another alignment from an independent shop, but I feel there is a greater issue with the steering components, and based on all the complaints, Kia needs to investigate this issue and come up with a fix a.S.a.P before someone gets hurt. I'm stuck with this car for 35 more months, hopefully, they'll come up with something soon.

- North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #15

May 272013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 25 miles
While driving at or around 50 mph the car started drifting left then right.

- North Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #14

Oct 022012


  • 40 miles
Vehicle wanders at highway speeds. Constant steering correction necessary. You cannot drive the car in a straight line. Vehicle will dart to the left or right without any input from the steering wheel. This happens on perfectly flat roads with no wind. Steering wheel is also turned to the left when driving straight. Dealer says everything in spec.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #13

May 032013


  • 80 miles


Purchased a new 2013 Kia Optima on 4/30/13 and the car wanders left then you have to correct constantly. Took back to the dealer twice and they tell me there is nothing wrong. Afraid to drive on highway for fear of hurting someone. The car has 400 miles on it now. Please help, checked on internet and there are a lot of complaints for the same problem. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- New Castle, PA, USA

problem #12

May 222013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle to commute every 3 weeks from phoenix to las angeles and travel I-10. I currently have 12,000 miles and the last 3 times I made the trip I have repeatedly almost lost control of the vehicle when traveling 70+mph from blithe, AZ to banning, ca. The car drifts, and is worse with wind gusts, it is close to impossible to keep from blowing off the road. Only with immediate reduction in speed below 70-mph is there immediate control of the car. I contacted Kia motor company and was told that they have no knowledge of this happening before and take it to my local dealer. I called the local dealer and was told they have no knowledge of this problem. I called a dealer in the indio, ca area and was told that they are aware of a problem and to bring it in on my next trip to ca. I was told that with the electronic steering and electronic stability control I might need adjustment or maybe there is a software upgrade for the computer inside the car. They would confirm that "all comparative values" are set properly with the "black box."

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #11

Mar 042013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
By reading up on the Kia Optima 2013 I now see that there are alot of complaints on the steering. It will only be a matter of time before numerous deaths will occur because its constant wandering on the road. It goes from left to right and a struggle to keep it between the lines. The troopers are going to stop you because they will think you are drunk and it is all the car.

- Weimar , TX, USA

problem #10

Sep 122012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
As vehicle speed increases above 50 mph the vehicle drifts right or left thereby requiring constant steering corrections. It also becomes a strain on my arm. I spoke to Kia's hq in California and they stated they have not had any other complaints. I finally got a case number from Kia and am in the process of taking it to the dealer to see if they can diagnose and correct the problem.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 012013


  • miles


The contact owns a 2013 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle would drift independently if the steering wheel was not held tightly. The contact spoke with the dealer and was advised that the manufacturer had issued a new setting option for the steering wheel and that they would need to inspect the vehicle to apply the new setting. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The current mileage was 1,530. The failure mileage was not available.

- Gurnee, IL, USA

problem #8

Nov 142012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 450 miles
Vehicle wanders from side to side. It does not matter whether the road is flat or crowned. The steering is similar at any speed. Returned to dealer on 11/27/2012 and they road tested the vehicle and stated that it handled normally. They found the toe slightly out of alignment and reset. They stated that the vehicle has electronic power steering and has a different feel then a conventional type. I am trying to change the way I have been steering cars for 59 years. The end result is the car still wanders on any road I drive on. Seeing the other complaints in this file tells me that there is a problem with the steering on these cars. We need a fix.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #7

Mar 112013


  • 3,400 miles
Regarding to the previous complaint, veh was taken to dealer on 3/15/2013 to adjust the alignment under warranty due to the alignment issue starting after the engine was replaced at 3,400 by the dealer. Left the dealer and immediately noticed that the steering wheel was now turned to the left and the vehicle was pulling to the right. The car pulled to the right significantly. The same dealer was contacted on 3/18/13 regarding the issue. Due to the recent engine replacement, one alignment trip and a distance of roughly 50 miles to the shop, the dealer authorized a loaner to be brought to my place of employment so that the driver could take the veh to he shop. Veh was picked up that evening at the dealer and steering wheel seems to be level. There is still a left to right constant handling issue and vehicle seems to have a vibration under 35 mph. Veh has now spent 11 days in the shop (9 days for engine replacement and 2 days for two alignments) and has been owned for just under 12 weeks. Veh is also slow/sluggish leaving a stopped position and mpg's on cruise control set at 60mph have fallen from 33mpg to 29.5mpg since engine replacement. Date complaint filed: 03/13/2013 component(s): Engine and engine cooling date of incident: 03/11/2013 NHTSA id number: 10502730 manufacturer: Kia motors corporation vehicle identification no. (VIN): 5xxgn4A70dg... summary: Driving under normal conditions on a slow 35mph roadway and noticed Optima pulls toward the crown (center) of the road (which is against slope). Drove vehicle on 45mph and 60mph roadway and same situation. Engine was replaced at 3,400 miles due to piston #3 failing. Based on current issues to date, I would not purchase another Optima.

- Immokalee, FL, USA

problem #6

Aug 012012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 75 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle pulled to the left. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who advised the contact that they would rotate the tires. The vehicle was repaired. Immediately after leaving, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 75. The current mileage was approximately 1,500.

- Lady Lake, FL, USA

problem #5

Feb 092013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 22 miles
I've owned this vehicle for about one week. Within the first two days I noticed a slight drifting of the vehicle while driving above 40 mph, but dismissed it as being caused by the high winds that were occurring during that time. Over the next few days, these drifting experiences lingered. The worst experience occurred 02/14/13, between 5:30pm and 6:15pm, a high traffic period, on a freeway which is currently under construction. After making a left turn from a traffic light onto the freeway, I proceeded into the left lane. Within a few feet, or acceleration to 50 mph or so, the front wheels, began to pull toward the right. Both of my hands were on the steering wheel the entire time, but I had to steer slightly left to correct to avoid going into the right lane. A few seconds later, the same scenario occurred as above. I next changed to the right lane as my exit was nearing. Within 3/4 mile there is a slight curve left, which the car had issues cornering and again led to my having to steer to correct. This is safety concern, a serious one. This is not a random, every so often occurrence. It is daily, frequent, if I travel on a freeway or anytime speed limits are above 35 mph. There are other instances of what appear to be cornering issues. Left turns are awkward if you follow proper procedure for turning into the lane closest to you. Most turns end up wide, as if you're driving a wider chassis vehicle, I.e. a pick-up or SUV. The steering defect even appears noticeable upon parking, as the steering wheel is always a hair off center when you park straight in a stall or space. In the city I reside in the state of Nevada, constant road construction, lanes that change from horizontal to zig-zag every few feet, the last thing needed is a car that has any hint of a fault with steering or suspension.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #4

Jan 022013

Optima 4-cyl

  • miles
Car does not track straight while driving over 55mph. Driver has to continually correct wheel to keep car straight on road.

- Gulfort, FL, USA

problem #3

Aug 222012


  • 40 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle would drift from side to side when being driven at various speeds. The contact stated that when traveling above 55 mph, the vehicle would become increasingly difficult to keep the vehicle straight. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where an alignment was performed but did not correct the failure. The vehicle was taken to a second dealer who suggested that they adjust the tire pressure. The tire pressure was adjusted but to no avail. The failure persisted. The failure mileage was 40 and the current mileage was 6,500.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #2

Oct 242012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 498 miles
About a day after I bought my brand new 2013 Kia, I noticed that the vehicle veered to the left. I took it back that weekend to get an alignment and the dealer told me that it wasn't an alignment, but that the steering column was off. So, they adjusted that. When I took delivery of the vehicle again, the issue was still there. I took the car to them again, and this time, they said the steering wheel was twisted. I then moved from va to fl two days later. At this point I only had about 1200 miles on my car. During the trip, I noticed the steering doing the exact same issue. I called the dealer and asked them to just tell me what the issue was with the car. I was told that my vehicle was made with a batch of other vehicles that had this issue and there is a technical bulletin involved with it. She said its protocol to bring the vehicle in multiple times so that they can rule out certain issues. She stated the next step was to redo the suspension. Unfortunately for me, I had to go to a different dealer for this because I was now in fl. Also, unfortunately for me, the first dealer didn't record when I went in the first two times. So when I go to this new dealer at 2500 miles, they have no idea what I'm talking about, give me an alignment that doesn't solve the issue and send me on my way. This is truly ridiculous. I bought a new car to avoid these issues. And Kia needs to own up and fix these steering wheel issues properly. I'm going back to the dealer again tomorrow. Please recall this steering wheel issue.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #1

Oct 232012

Optima 4-cyl

  • 25 miles
New vehicle. The vehicle will not track in a straight line. The vehicle wanders (drifts) left or right. I constantly have to nudge the steering wheel slightly left or slightly right to keep the vehicle somewhere in the middle of the lane. This is a dangerous condition. I no longer take a mug of coffee with me as I drive to work. I have to keep my eyes directly on the road ahead, only glancing briefly in the rear view mirror or side mirrors to check traffic. It also does this at low speeds on residential streets. Help! I am taking it back to the dealer a second time on 11/16. However, I have noticed many complaints on the web for the same vehicle, model and problem. It would seem there is no fix! has the NHTSA contacted Kia about this problem?

- Katy, TX, USA

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