24th Aug 2009, 18:31

I own a 2002 Kia Optima that has been plagued by all of the above mentioned problems. After investigating the cause myself, I discovered the welds for the wire harness cage (inside/under the dash) have failed, which is the cause of the many system faults that occur. Dealership still has not been able to repair it. WARNING!!! This problem could cause the air-bag system to fail or activate without warning.

12th Jan 2010, 03:07

WOW, I have a 2002 Kia Optima, and I thought I was losing my mind, all the above has happened to me as well. The car door has been the worst, locking and not locking, I thought my car had a ghost in it. I have dealt with that since I first bought it in May 02, used with 15,000 miles, and I took it in, and it was fixed it for maybe a day or two, so I just gave up on it.

Wow, after reading all these comments, they had to know there was a major problem with the door, I am afraid of being car jacked, my gosh, I can't lock my door cause then it might not open, and then on the other hand there are times when I can't get in from the outside; that is scary to me.

I sure hope Kia people are visiting this site, I WILL NEVER EVER BUY ANY KIA EVER AGAIN.

18th Jun 2010, 18:17

I have a 2002 KIA Optima.. have read about other check engine lights issues.. a mechanic said it was EGR valve.. replaced and still comes back.. IDEAS?

I also had my passenger window fail, and the magical locking and unlocking of the doors.. I am resetting the light by disconnecting the battery for a long time.. Hope that works and it won't come back.

17th Jul 2010, 15:32

I have a 2002 Kia Optima that ran good until now. I had recently bought a new car, and so I parked my Optima for three months. Now I will drive it down the road, and after driving for about 10 minutes, it will lose all of its power like it's going to stall out for about 2 or 3 minutes. Then it will get all of its power back, like nothing was ever wrong.

I was told that it was the fuel pump, so I changed that, but it's still doing it. Have no idea what's wrong with it. If you have any ideas what can be wrong with it, I would love to hear from you by e-mail at turnergr98247@live.com

7th Nov 2010, 17:26

I have a 2002 Kia Optima that has 108,000 miles. I purchased my car from the Midfield auction $2,700. I haven't had any major problems.

I had to put it in the shop once. I needed a harmonic balancer and the main belt replaced. I had to order my part from the Kia dealership, which was $181.00. Goodyear charged me 80.00 labor, so you do the math. Advance Auto, Autozone do not carry the harmonic balancer.

I'm having issues out of my power windows; seem to be off track, and they are going up very slowly.

30th Nov 2010, 18:23

I just bought a 2001 Kia Optima yesterday. Within hours of taking it off the lot, I noticed multiple problems.

Right side windows off track, radio skipping when going over bumps (yes the radio!), the antenna making a very loud sound when turning on and off. I'm starting to think buying this car was a very bad idea.

Oh, and the worst problem is the battery light keeps flickering on and off when accelerating. It might be the alternator belt; if not, I am taking it back to the dealer immediately to fix everything up.

Thank you everyone for your input! And I haven't noticed anything with the locks yet.. I'm sure it's coming soon.

31st Dec 2010, 22:13

My daughter bought a 2002 KIA Optima LX, that her mother located, due to some mechanical problems with the 93 Pontiac she was driving. I wasn't notified till about 2 weeks later. Still haven't said anything.

The other day, she said there was a problem with the door ajar light and warning alarm, that will not shut off. She pulled the fuse, and now has no interior lights, along with the power antenna doesn't work either. But the ajar light is still on all the time.

If asked, I would have advised not to get the car. That was even before reading most of these stories. I'm afraid to tell her of this site, but the sooner the better.

25th Sep 2011, 14:57

Purchased a 2002 Optima SE with 87,000 miles in February 2011, and moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. The vehicle handled the drive wonderfully.

Had the transmission flushed/fuel injectors cleaned by a shop after arriving in LA. I questioned whether the work had been properly or even done at all, and went to a Kia dealership.

They informed me of a recall on the sub-frame and replaced it for free. Instantly noticed the difference between the old frame and the new one. The car feels much tighter now.

The timing belt was replaced. Do this when recommended, as timing belt failure will lead to engine failure.

All fluids were flushed and replaced. As suspected, the previous shop hadn't performed any of the services I'd paid for.

Brakes and rotors were replaced.

Computer was reset. The transmission would shift strangely, especially when the engine was cold. Did some research and learned that resetting the computer typically solved this problem. The computer was reset, and shifting hasn't been a problem since.

After paying a small fortune for all of the above mentioned services, I left driving what felt like a brand new car. It runs surprisingly quietly/smoothly and hasn't shown any signs of trouble... until now.

The 'check engine' light has presented itself, and due to an unwavering work schedule, it'll be a week or so before it gets into the shop. Hoping nothing happens between now and the time the issue is resolved.

* Advice: Service a Kia at a Kia dealership. It tends to cost more, but the work will most likely be done correctly.

11th Aug 2012, 13:37

I have a 2002 Optima. Just started having big problems. Have already went through a couple of batteries, which is not unusual over the years, but it is really weird that my radio comes on by itself and switches to CD. I turn it off and it comes back on. I know for sure I turn it off before getting out of the car... and no, it is not a ghost!! Alternator and battery checked out fine.

27th Aug 2012, 20:04

Most Kia/Hyundai vehicles made before 2003 were prone to electrical problems. All of the posts here kind of seem to verify that as well.

My Dad bought an 2005 Magentis Anniversary Edition with a 2.4L. It's at 258,xxx km and the only work that has ever been done were 1 set of front brakes, 2 sets of spark plugs, a new set of plug wires, 3 timing belts and water pumps (so both at once since you are in there already), 1 set of serpentine belts, a trans flush, and both CV axles replaced (at $100 each, it was worth it to do both).

The only current problems are a seized A/C compressor, the remote locks don't work, and the H7 headlight bulbs are of poor design.

25th Sep 2013, 07:45

I too read this stuff, and think that it might be better to just stay away from a KIA Optima, but not all things are like that. I myself own a 2002 with 178500, and I've only had it for about two months, and yet I've already put somewhere between 3500 to 4200 miles on it. I did the oil change and tune up when I bought it, so I would know she's up to date on things such as that. I absolutely love it!!!

I was just gonna buy and sell it, but after driving it and feeling the power and how nice it was all around, I decided to keep it for my everyday driver. I drive just about every day, from Seattle to Everett, without a worry of being left on the side of the road.

As for not having a resale value... This is simply not true! With all the miles I have, it's still worth the 6900$ price range (SE model).