2015 Kia Optima engine problems: engine failure

Engine Failure

2015 Kia Optima

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Kia dealer.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
60,450 miles
Total Complaints:
15 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new engine (11 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
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2015 Kia Optima engine problems

engine problem

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2015 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #15

Jun 282019

Optima SX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


While driving back from Lake Havasu to Seal Beach (over 308 miles away); 100 miles in towards my destination, my car suddenly was stalled; loosing complete power of even pressing the signal light or emergency light. I still had 206 miles left to destination. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, no air, no power to lower the windows and heat quickly rising to 100 degrees and trying to get back phone reception to call in for towing service. I was then able to get through to AAA.

I was informed that I was over 60 miles from Needles and 78 miles away from Barstow and AAA could not find a tow truck that could be there less than 2 hours from the time I called, (total wait was 2 1/2 hrs) After going through 2 tow trucks and getting to KIA motors in Cerritos; I was told the following day that the motor needed to be replaced.

I asked whether they had a recall on this issue and service tech did not want to admit they had one. I stated to him that I was informed by a mechanic and confirming through your web site that they did have a recall since January of this year. Service Rep then confessed they did. KIA is waiting 2-4 weeks for motor to arrive. I currently have been provided a rental, which KIA now has taken responsibility in paying for it. I will inform everyone on how this claim goes, once the repairs are completed

- Edith M., Seal Beach, US

problem #14

Feb 202019

Optima EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,380 miles

Purchased the vehicle in September 2018 used, not certified but still under Kia Warranty (thankfully). Loved car & essentially no problems until February 2019. Normal day, doing errands & all of sudden car starts smoking, loses power & engine light begins to flash! Had towed to dealership same day (do not drive).

Two days later, phone call from Technician tells me due to the software update I had done on vehicle in August 2018, software detected a noise in the engine, put car in "limp mode" & I will need a new engine. Explained I was not owner of vehicle @ that time & didn't know of any software update performed on the car. Warranty still valid & in place due to mileage & service always done by authorized Kia dealer - Kia would in fact cover the needed engine replacement under warranty. Took three weeks to have repaired.

Drove car without any problems for a month & car does the same thing again. Car immediately brought to dealer. Advised same issue. Will need a new engine. Rep told me this time that there seems to be a manufacturing issue with faulty bearings. Software is detecting abnormal ware on bearing & shutting car down & that Kia doesn't know what to do @ this time so is just replacing engines on cars until the issue (manufacturing) is resolved. Car still at dealer now getting repairs done.

If your experiencing this problem, always have work done by dealer to have the warranty still intact.

- mylene76, New Britain, US

problem #13

Sep 012018

Optima EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

click to see larger images

engine failure

I have a 2015 Kia Optima Ex that I bought used with 15,527 miles. The car gave me no problems until it got up to 42k miles, give or take. The car started making knocking noises, puts out white smoke from tailpipes, burns up oil to the point where I have to add oil multiple times a week, and the car starts jerking really bad and keeps me at a low speed that I cannot come out of; its like a "limp" mode. I also noticed my coolant levels on my reservoir tank disappearing and no puddles under the car.

So I took my car to a friend mechanic and he tore it apart because we "thought" it was a blown head gasket due to the common systems and mixture of coolant with oil; so i had him repair it. But now after only a couple thousand miles, odometer reading 45,408 exactly, the car is doing the same exact thing.

It wasn't until I started reading up on these forums and this website full of complaints with the same exact issue, that I determine there is an engine issue. So i took my car to KIA and they denied me warranty because there was sludge in my engine and blamed it on bad maintenance. They want me to pay over $7k for a new engine.

This situation is frustrating because they do not want to accept responsibility for a failed product, especially after they have a major recall for the 2014 models and below on engine failure and other recalls. I don't plan on spending a dime for this issue and I am willing to jump on the class action lawsuit if need be, so if there is any helpful information that can help me resolve this, please advise.

Please contact at following email: (jeffrey_sb3@yahoo.com). Thank You in advance.

- Jeffrey S., Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #12

Jan 142019

Optima SXL 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


Driving north on 95 going to work this morning, when I heard a loud knocking coming from the engine. I turned my radio off to see if I could hear the sound more clearly. All of a sudden the Oil light, check engine light came on and my car was unable to accelerate. I was in the middle lane of a 4 lane highway. Luckily I was able to get over to the emergency lane after shutting off my car and restarting it. The car died once it was towed to the dealer and brought off the truck.

I was informed that there's about 5 other 2015 Optimas waiting for engines in the lot. The engine needs to be inspected before KIA will either approve/deny the warrantied repair. I just bought this car 3 weeks ago, and it is out of the factory 65,000 warranty. I am hoping KIA will do the right thing here. I just had the oil changed a week ago.

- Daniel R., Boca Raton, US

problem #11

Dec 212018

Optima 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

My Optima started burning oil a couple weeks ago. I called the dealer and they said they've seen this a lot, its a blown motor. It's been recalled and it will be covered under warranty. When I got to the dealer they said so sorry but since I bought the car USED its not covered. Now that I've started looking, I see this car has been on recall for many years in a row for a known manufacturing defect. What kind of company makes bad products and then absolves themselves from liability?--one that should go out of business.

- Stephen H., Waverly, US

problem #10

Jun 292018

Optima LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,811 miles

On June 29th I was driving home from work when I car turned off mid drive. No noises, no smoke, no engine light it just turned off. I had it towed home thinking it was a small issue. We checked the battery and it was fine so we thought maybe it was the starter or the alternator. We tried to get a diagnosis on our own but no code came up. I finally bit the bullet and had my car towed to KIA.

Yesterday morning the dealership calls to tell me my engine seized and asked if I had my maintenance records. My husband does my oil changes and I never thought to save the receipts. The man at Kia said he would ask if Kia would fix it without the receipts and if not he would get back to me with prices. After reason everything I have I am very freaked out. This is my primary mode of transportation that I am still paying off and now it sits at the dealership just looking pretty. I don't have the money to pay for any of this right now...especially a new engine!!!!!

I have only had my car for 2 years and it has been a wonderful car...no problems no warning lights no funny sounds. I am devastated...this was a great car until it wasn't

- Alisha C., Abbotsford, BC, Canada

problem #9

Sep 212018

Optima 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


Car is only 3 years old. Took it for oil changes. Last oil change July 2018. Sept 2018 car starts ticking, no lights at all on. Afraid to drive and make it worse. Had towed to my mechanic. Oil in car is sludge even though less then 2 months on oil change and no lights on. Mechanic does inspection finds metal in motor and now need brand new motor. Same thing happened with Kia Forte 2013. This is just not a coincidence, there is something seriously going on with these Kia cars, especially when I read the complaints online and over 50% of the customers having the same issues. Recall for prior years none on 2015 yet obviously one needs to be called to many people with same issues...

- Michele C., Millsboro, DE, US

problem #8

Aug 062018

Optima LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Purchased 2015 Kia Optima LX 63k miles had serviced by Kia dealership (Nov 2017). Oil changed, no issues ,car running fine. Sparingly driven until May 2018 started using as daily driver. Aug 6 go to start it in the morning jumping and jerking, engine light comes on. Towed to Kia dealership $100. Dealership says repair cost $6500.00 engine replacement. So working on lawsuit to get Kia Motors to issue recall just like they put out for 2011 -2014 engine recall, but they stopped there and didn't include 2015. Obviously they have not fixed their manufacturing issues. Lucky for me this did not happen on highway or cause any accidents or injuries.

- G R., San Antonio, US

problem #7

Jun 022018

Optima 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

2015 Kia Optima with 55,000 miles Car was running great-- Died in the middle of the freeway-- then started back up.. it has a clanking noise. Checked the oil, there is no oil in it-- Low oil pressure light never came on-- Check engine light never came on until this happened. Regular maintenance has been done.. they say 7k min for a new engine.. With the 100+ complaints something has to be done! I believe that Kia is aware of these issues and neglecting to help the buyers who have purchase these cars. It's strange that I found multiple other 2015 Kia Optima owners with exact same issue. 2014 models have already had a recall I think 2015 model should be included to the recall.

- agj, Murray, US

problem #6

Jul 062018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

My 2015 Kia Optima (purchased new from Rick Case Kia in Gwinnett, GA in 2/2016) had 34,000 miles on it when, out of nowhere and with no warning signs whatsoever, it died on my way to work one morning. I was changing lanes on I85N and all of a sudden my gas pedal no longer worked, all of the lights on the dash lit up, and I realized my engine had cut off at 70mph. I coasted to the side of the road and called a Hero unit and a friend, and then had the car towed to Rick Case Kia.

LUCKILY I had gotten every suggested maintenance service and oil change done by Rick Case Kia, so they didn't have any outs - I've read from all of the other complaints on here that the dealerships tried to wiggle out of the warranty by asking for proof of oil changes - despicable. That didn't stop them from trying to get as much money out of me as possible, though.

When I arrived at the dealership, they called a rental car service for me (was surprised to hear him tell the Enterprise lady on the phone to go ahead and make the rental for 30 days - this is before they had even taken a look at the car) and told me they had to check why the engine "seized" - again, curious since all I had told them and all I knew was that the car cut off while I was driving it on 85. Seemed to me that they had seen this before and knew what the problem was going to be before even popping the hood. I got my rental car and drove to work.

They called a few hours later to say that they had to replace my completely dead battery before they could do anything to diagnose what was wrong with the engine. The battery had been still working when I left the dealership, because the radio was playing while they pushed it into a parking spot at the dealership with me behind the wheel. They said the battery was so dead, they couldn't even get it to hold a charge while it was connected to their chargers. Additionally, this was a fancy battery that cost $250 to replace, plus the labor, so over $300 before they could even look at the engine. I was not nice about saying this sounded like complete BS and that I didn't expect to pay for anything once this was all over, but sure - go ahead and do what you need to do to figure out what the problem is.

The second call I received was three days later, saying the battery had turned out to be the issue and that was the reason my car had died mid-drive. However, once they got the engine started. they HAD noticed that the engine sounded a little off, and when they checked the dipstick they did see metal shavings there, so they needed my authorization to do a one-hour teardown of the engine, which Kia didn't cover. Again, I bitched at them that this sounded extremely shady - obviously the battery problem was caused by the engine failure and not the other way around, and it sounded like they were trying to get around the warranty and/or get as much money out of me as possible with the expectation that they were going to have to eventually put a new engine in the car at their cost. Again, the conversation ended with "do whatever you have to do to fix the problem, and just know that I fully expect the cost of everything to be covered 100% by Kia when this is over and for the car to be fixed".

Just got a text this morning saying that Kia did approve the replacement of the engine under the warranty and they would be in touch with more info. I'm just grateful that I had all of my service and oil changes done at Rick Case Kia, or there is no doubt in my mind they would be trying to tell me I had to pay $7k - $8k for a new engine.

Came across this site in my research and see dozens of others with the same problem at the same mileage for new 2015 Kia Optimas, many with much worse outcomes than mine due to Kia and the dealerships screwing them over on their promises and warranties. This is OBVIOUSLY a recall that needs to happen - I couldn't be more disappointed with Kia and with Rick Case Kia in Gwinnett, GA. I will never buy another Kia again and will discourage others from doing so.

Update from Jul 15, 2018: Update - had to call Kia Customer Care to get them to call Rick Case Kia and tell them I shouldn't be paying for a one-hour teardown of the engine that ended up needing to be replaced under warranty (any diagnostics/labor/etc is also covered on a warranty repair). Apparently Kia is putting in a NEW engine (not used) next week - that's good. But they are sticking with the story that my car broke down because of a dead battery (BS) not the engine that had metal shards in it and needed to be completely replaced. Whatever - at this point I'm going to pretend that cost of the battery is what I'm paying to take 34k miles off my car and get a new engine. Not worth my time. Still deeply disappointed at Rick Case Kia, and Kia corporate as well for selling engines with known issues and not issuing a recall on the 2015 Optimas yet.

- Samuel H., Atlanta, GA, US

problem #5

Aug 042017

Optima LX Gdi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,576 miles


I have a 2015 Kia Optima with 64,756 miles on it. I noticed that is was leaking oil (bad) took it to my local garage to make sure it wasn't just the oil plug or something simple like that. Well turns out, it was the main rear seal that is leaking and they need to remove the engine to repair it. So I made an appointment with my local Kia dealer to have it looked at. I was told regardless if the issue is covered under warranty I still have to pay $99.00 to have it looked at. I call B.S on that. For one you sold me a car that has a known issue with the GDI Engine (researched after I became aware of my problem) . Currently my car is still at the dealer being looked at but I can say this, I bought a NEW CAR because I needed a reliable car to get back and forth to work. I am a single mother putting a child through college and now I have to deal with a major issue with my new car. RIDICULOUS.



- arb1025, Hohenwald, US

problem #4

Mar 292017

Optima LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

After the engine went out it was towed to the dealership to be looked at, they told me it wasn't under warranty anymore because it had to many miles. After that I went on the Kia Web site to see if had any recalls about its engine. I found out it did but I wasn't notified. I think that is bad business practices. I have been informing others that I would not ever get a Kia again and that I would recommend that others not get a car from them either. Because they don't stand behind their products.

- jmwaldon, Pierson, US

problem #3

Jul 012016

Optima ES 2.4L Gdi Theta Engie

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I had to replace my engine in a brand new 2015 KIA Optima at 42,000, the same engine complaints that I have read from many other Optima owners. Happened suddenly, loud ticking sound on acceleration and engine light flashed on. The car was in complete engine failure and I was forced to pay for the new engine due to not having proof of all my oil change receipts. KIA denied even knowing there was an engine defect, now I see a full recall on this 2.4L GDI engine, however they stop at the 2014 model. The problem however did not stop with the 2014 model. I am posting my complaint in hopes that others with the same problem will be vocal as well.

- Rose C., Gardiner, ME, US

problem #2

Feb 242017

Optima Gdi Turbo 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,880 miles

I've had my Optima since 2015 (Oct), bought used, had 5,000 miles. Had oil changed by dealership at 10,5000, and at 13700. Loud tapping started in engine at 18880. At dealership waiting for diagnosis and conformation of warranty coverage. Service attendant checked oil and it was full, he also said there was no sludge. It was as dealership was closing at 6:00 on Fri. Waiting for Monday to diagnose. I live 200 miles from city this happened. No loner or rental given because it had to be diagnosed as warranty covered first. Have to be at work Monday in Corpus Christi Texas, dealership in San Antonio, Texas. A real Hemorrhoid!

- toogie99, Corpus Christi, US

problem #1

Nov 012016

Optima LS Gdi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,900 miles

I brought a 2015 KIA Optima DEC. of last year. My car has 41,900 miles on it. The engine is going out and white smoke is coming out my tail pipe. My engine is making crazy noises my car barely wants to drive over a certain speed limit. I took my car to the dealership to get it looked at.The dealer said I need a new engine due to sludge and that comes from lack of oil changes, which is not true, my car has gotten oil changes as needed. Also I've had to put oil in my car 5 times in 2 weeks. I don't know where the oil is going. The dealership priced me a new engine at 6,000 dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are not willing to fix my car and they said its still under warranty!!!!!! I am so mad being that I am a single mother of 4 kids. A nursing student and also I work and the fact that my car is soon to be down and i was very grateful to be able to purchase a "brand new" car this is a nightmare!!!!!!!!

- Jeneva M., Hamilton, OH, US

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