really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,019 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.

2003 Kia Spectra electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Kia Spectra Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 032008

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Kia Spectra. While driving 15 mph, the vehicle began making a loud noise. The RPM, speed, and temperature were not functioning properly. The mechanic stated that the failure was electrical. The antilock brake information and powertrain were unavailable. The VIN was confirmed, but appears to be invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000 and current mileage was approximately 85,100.

- Scottsdaro, AL, USA

problem #6

Aug 162007

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have an ongoing problem with my 2003 Kia Spectra, approx. 2 years ago I started having problems with the car shutting off while I was driving and while I came to a stop at the traffic light. I had the car towed to Kia and they did a tune up and replaced a part that was supposedly the problem for the vehicle to shut off or to accelerate while at a traffic light. When this happens it takes all you can do to keep the car from lunging forward. Also sometimes when you turn the air conditioner on it causes the car to accelerate while at a traffic light. The car could run great for days, but then it starts to do the same thing again. Especially on hot days. I have been in some scary situations on very busy highways, where the car shuts down while driving, fortunately I was able to get to the side of the road. I have had my car to sts 3 times to try and figure out what is wrong with the vehicle and on those occasions they haven't been able to simulate. I have also replaced the low and high beam headlights approx 8 times. I've had both low beams go out at the same time.

- Point Pleasant, NJ, USA

problem #5

Apr 162007

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,523 miles
The 2003 Kia Spectra caught on fire. Therewas nothing left of the car. The fire department and police said it was an electrial fire.

- Strafford, MO, USA

problem #4

Jun 262006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,416 miles


My auto has stopped on me for no reason at all. The first time it just wouldn't start, the second time I was in traffic and it just shut off and the third time which was this morning it started then shut down and I hadn't left my home yet. After that it wouldn't start. The care make and model is a 2003 Kia Spectra. It was taken to the shop on both occasions and the first time I was told it the connection was loose the second time it stated that the master pulling too much vacuum causing her car to shut down. I was awaiting a part. I have to wait until 8 am to call for parts to see if it came in but this is a big problem.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #3

Feb 012006

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Kia Spectra 4 door power door locks automatically unlock themselves both while in motion and while unattended. Local Kia dealership said that several of their vehicles had same problem recently and that they identified the problem is in a fuse block relay. However, as with most problems we have encountered, we are just past the warranty. We contacted the mfg but they too were not willing to do anything about this problem. But I believe this may turn out to be a serious safety defect which they are leaving to the consumer to bear, the cost of which is over $500 plus labor. As an aside, had we not recently moved to Washington, we would have been within the warranty. But warranty or no, if these relays are going out on other vehicles as well, there must be a problem worth looking into.

- Shelton, WA, USA

problem #2

Dec 152005


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Have replaced both high & low headlights 3 times each. Heater is not working. Junction box needs replaced 12/15/05. Car is a 2003 Kia Spectra with 97,500 miles on it. It was bought new.

- Abbottstown, PA, USA

problem #1

Mar 062004

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 7,191 miles
This letter is being written as a result of an accident (case # fhph040ff003275) involving my 2003 Kia Spectra gsx and another vehicle on March 6, 2004. The cruise control continued to work until about 1:00pm on interstate 10 when I was in the slow lane and driving at 70 mph (speed limit) with the cruise on. I was slowly catching up to two trucks in my lane, when the rear truck started to pass the slower truck ahead of me. Traffic behind me was catching up to me at the same time as the passing truck pulled into the passing lane. I had plenty of time to slow down so I pressed down on the coast set button on the steering wheel, four or five times and my Kia slowed down to 65 mph. The truck in front of me slowed down to let the passing truck in the fast lane get by. I pressed the same coast set button on the steering wheel four or five times to slow the Kia and nothing happening. The cruise control malfunctioned and the Kia continued itS speed of 65 mph. I then pressed the same coast set button on the steering wheel and the Kia increased speed. I pressed the cancel button on the steering wheel and the Kia increased speed. I stepped on the break and the Kia cruise control didnT disconnect. I pressed down the clutch and stepped on the break three times and the engine continued to race but the cruise control didnT or wouldnT disconnect. I looked down at the coast set, cancel, and res accel buttons on the steering wheel and pressed cancel a number of times. Every time I pressed the cancel button on the steering wheel the car accelerated but now I was out of room and time. I hit another vehicle causing little damage to theirs, rubbed their bumper but a lot of damage to mine, $1500 - $2000. When our two vehicles collided the cruise control disconnected.

- Virginia, MN, USA

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