really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,202 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.

2002 Kia Spectra brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Kia Spectra Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 232012

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles


Car just caught on fire while driving. No caution lights came on. Fire started around the back tire of car, passenger rear. Possibly trunk. Have photos. Smoke quickly entered back seat area with only moments to stop and jump out before it went up in smoke.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #6

Jun 252008


  • miles
Loss of brakes when air condition is on.

- Chickasaw, AL, USA

problem #5

Nov 282008


  • miles
On Friday November 28, 2008 at 4:45pm, I was driving on state highway 58 by jenkins and rosedale highway in bakersfield, ca. I was going approximately 50 mph and was approximately 50 yards from the vehicle in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes due to the car in front of my braking automatically, my brakes locked up and I was in a front end crash. Not only did my brakes lock up, but my duel sided air bags in my 2002 Kia Spectra which I have only owned for four months did not deploy. Luckily no one was badly injured but due to this incident my muscles are badly sore and bruised. The whole front end of my vehicle is destroyed and most importantly my headlights which are required by law to have, are shattered.

- Taft, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 012008


  • 141,865 miles


Three years ago while traveling down I-40 the cruise control stuck on the car, the brakes locked up. The car had climb to 90 mph in a 65 before I realized what was happening. The only way to stop the car was to put the car in neutral and cut the engine. Thank the dear lord in heaven me and 2 other co-workers were not in heaven traffic that day. I had the car towed to Kia in winston salem, nc where the mechanics are the only ones that had ever worked on that car at that time. They tried to say that it was an animal or someone must have touched the cable causing it to slip out of the groove which would cause the cruise control to stick. They flipped it back on and it worked fine until Friday night, August 1, 2008 around 9:00 at night when me and my 10 yr old daughter was coming home from having dinner out. Again the cruise control stuck started accelerating with no way of stopping it and the brakes locked up. The car had climbed to 70 mph in a 55 before I finally put it in neutral and cut the engine. The car has scared me twice now. I am scared that it will happened it again and next time we want be lucky. I am afraid this car may end up hurting us or someone else really bad. I complained to Kia 3yrs ago they didn't care when the car was still under warranty and I sure don't see them caring now. Do you?

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #3

Feb 212004

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 25,816 miles
I was moving my car from the side door of my house to the front of the garage door when I could not stop. I was doing aproxx. 3 mph and slid in the garage where it was about a half foot fropm hitting my sons truck which ironically he just had done a brake job on the day before (working great). The car was made on 6/20/2001 so if anyone as a problem it need to be reported.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 022003

(reported on)


  • 38,000 miles
While driving at 25 mph vehicle experienced brake failure when brake pedal was depressed and vehicle failed to stop. Engine then died, which stopped the vehicle, but resulted in loss of power steering.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #1

Apr 072002

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,734 miles
I rear ended another vehicle at 30-40 mph, front end damage resulting in over $6400, including unibody alignment. Upon impact driver and passenger air bags did not deploy, brakes locked up and did not release. I am concerned about the safety of this vehicle and would like an investigation into this matter.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

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