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KIA does not HONOR warranties!
Posted by Slugbugak on 11/26/2003
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- My Kia rio story!

Sad but true. And if anyone from Kia is reading this..............."it's just the beggining baby!" By the time i'm through with you, you won't sell one more of these pices of crap, anywhere to anyone!"

My kia basically began falling apart the day i bought it. Weather guards flew off while driving away from the dealer, dorr handles and window rollers have broken off, warranty won't cover this!

at 61,236 miles the engine completely blew up. Kia will not honor warranty because the timming belt was replaced at my local mechanic and not by Kia dealership. Even though the cause of the engine failure was not due to the timming belt failure! They are scum!

People, i know these cars are cheap and the seem like a sound buy with the 100,000 mile power train warranty, but for the love of God and all that is good, do not buy one of these.

It is Kia's objective to find a way out of honoring all engine failure warranty work. If you cahnge you own oil and do not save all the receipts from when and where you purchased the oil, they won'h honor it. If you live in the north and drive the car in below freezing conditions and the engine failr, they will say this is driving under extreme conditions and will not honor the warranty!

The list goes on and on people! They only put the warranty as an incentive to get you to buy this crappie car and then try and weasle out of honoring it!

My car was two years old, all freeway miles engine blows up and they WILL NOT FIX IT! AND THEY WON'T FIX YOURS EITHER!

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Posted by Anonymous on 2003-12-04:
This sounds like a fake complaint. I never heard of a no name car company that sells really cheap cars not standing by their product.
Posted by Anonymous on 2004-01-04:
wells it ture kia are piece of crap cars and i hope someone will go to cort with kia and make them buy back everyone who owns oe of these pieces of junk!
Posted by stupid people on 2004-03-06:
i own a kia and its great never has any problems. my husband drives it to work everyday he puts over 50 miles daily. i would purchace another one
Posted by ravenkiddy on 2004-03-12:
Kia's own empolyees dont know what their warranty is suppose to cover, You have to pull the warranty book out and shove it in their face and they look at it like they cant read (that wouldnt suprise me) Call a lemon lawyer I did
Posted by sparks on 2004-07-20:
I am in a similar situation. I leased a 2001 Kia Rio and found myself getting towed off the highway 3 month after the purchase. This seemed to be the trend for the remainder of my time with the car. I am finally nearing the end of my lease but find myself at the garage 3 times in 1 month. My routine oil change...$600 rear brake cylinders replaced. 2 weeks late my check engine light came on and the car started to jerk as if it were going to stall every time I stopped. The dealership said it was the gas i used and restarted the ECM. 2 weeks after that...I find myself replacing the battery and alternator ($700+). I have 6 months left of my lease and decided...the 1578$ penalty is the best way if in 1 month I have already dished out almost that much in servicing the car. I called KIA Canada head office for customer support...they hung up on me!!! If only I had seen all of these comments when I first went out looking for a car.
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Kia Warranty Worthless
Posted by Redward568 on 06/27/2007
GILBERT, ARIZONA -- I have a 2005 Kia Spectra with 32,000 miles on it that I bought brand new. The car just stopped running with no prior symptoms while driving down the freeway 6/11/2007 and the car was towed to the nearest Kia dealership, Desert Kia in Gilbert, AZ. They told me the car needed a new battery. I told them I had put a new one in after the car died and it still wouldn't start. Then they said I needed to use a Kia battery because aftermarket batteries won't work in some of their cars. My ex-husband just happens to be a battery expert, and he called and told them that was a load of crap. They changed their story while talking to him and said there was an electrical problem, but they were having difficulites diagnosing exactly what the problem was.

On 6/21/2007, they finally told me the car needed a brand new motor and they would not honor the warranty because I live in Arizona and did not have the severe weather maintenance done at 15,000 and 30,000 miles. They hadn't even asked me for those records (which I don't have because the owner's manual says they are "recommended.") All they asked me for was oil change receipts, which I provided to them.

After 10 days with no car and no word on what was wrong with it, now they're telling me I need to pay them $7,000 for a new motor. They're saying the flex plate cracked and went up into the motor and damaged the motor. But they're refusing to honor the warranty due to lack of maintenance records which they have never requested from me and don't even know if I have or not?!? And $7,000 seems like a lot for a car that was $11,000 brand new...?

I called Tempe Kia to see if I could have the car towed over there to have the warranty work done. Someone named Bill told me not to bother because if the warranty was denied at one Kia dealership, another one cannot then do the work. He also said that if Kia is able to find a loophole in order to not have to honor the warranty, they will find it - whether it is related to the repairs needed or not. Oil changes and severe weather service would not have prevented my flex plate from cracking, but they are using that as an excuse not to honor the warranty and there's nothing I can do about it.

I have asked them repeatedly to provide me with something in writing showing exactly what is wrong with the car, what caused it, what it would take to fix it and if the warranty doesn't cover it then why not. They will not provide me with the info in writing. They will tell me over the phone what is wrong, and their story changes every time I talk to them and is completely different when my ex-husband calls, but they will give us nothing in writing.

Now I'm faced with filing bankruptcy because I am neither willing nor able to pay for a car that doesn't run while I find alternate forms of transportation and I can't afford an attorney to try to sue them. I am a single mother working 2 jobs and I bought the car because it was inexpensive and had a good warranty, and Tempe Kia told me if it broke down they would provide me with a loaner car until it was fixed. It seemed like the perfect car for someone who can't afford to have unreliable transportation. Desert Kia wouldn't give me a loaner car for those 10 days because they say Kia dealerships each have their own loaner car programs and they don't honor each others' programs even though they are all Kia dealerships.

Please don't ever buy a Kia, and if you already have one, make sure you get all the maintence work done at the Kia dealership at the proper times - otherwise your warranty will be worthless, regardless of the work that needs to be done.
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Posted by Sail27 on 2007-06-27:
I'll be first to admit that Kia's are not too high on my list. Try contacting the media - they love stories like this.. Alternatively - Small Claims Court - it may not pay the entire cost - but the public exposure is never good for them

Good luck!
Posted by adzidek on 2007-06-27:
Small claims court is for claims. She would have to pay the $7000, then go to court and claim it back. Also, $7000 doesn't qualify as a small claim.
Posted by *Brenda* on 2007-06-27:
AZ Small Claims limit is $2,500.00. That definitely is not an option for the OP.
Posted by eelyak on 2007-06-27:
With Kia, you get what you pay for. A cheap, unreliable car..
Posted by poppapia on 2007-06-27:
First, I would see if the second dealer would put in writing what he told you about Kia and their warranty tactics, and how this problem would have occured regardless of the maintenance schedule followed. Second, I like sail27's suggestion of contacting the media and trying to get a story started on this. Third, there are legal aid services available to you if you can't afford to hire a lawyer. Look for them through your state's bar association.
Posted by adzidek on 2007-06-27:
Legal aid services are available for defense only, and usually only criminal, not civil. In a claim against Kia, she would not be the defendant, and therefore would not be able to get legal aid.
Posted by rhondam718732 on 2007-06-27:
Get on the phone to KIA HQ and start working your way around. Make them clarify why the warranty isnt being honored. At the very least they should be able to get in writing, from the dealership why they denied you. Also, get your car to another KIA dealership and don't say a word. See what they come up with.
Posted by Starlord on 2007-06-28:
Contact the people at 5 On Your Side on TV Channel 5. As Brenda pointed out, small claims limit in Arizona is $2,500. You claim the guy told you on the phone that line about Kia using any excuse to avoid doing warranty service. I find that hard to believe the guy would be that stupid. BTW, in Arizona, a telephone conversation may be recorded as long as one of the parties to it gives their permission. Give you any ideas? I said the first time I ever saw a Kia taht I didn't think they would ever sell any to a veteran. The wife asked why, and I said because vets know what KIA means.
Posted by Audious on 2007-08-30:
A "battery expert"? wow, I am impressed. First of all, a KIA was purchased, what was the expected quality of this purchase? Second, if you don't follow the manufacturers recomended maint. schedule you dont have a leg to stand on, sorry, buy a quality product next time.
Posted by Guardian on 2009-06-21:
If you contact an attorney who specializes in consumer law, and specifically, Magnusson-Moss or 'Lemon Law,' most will be happy to take your case for a nominal fee, as if they win, Kia will have to pay their attorney fees under most state laws dealing with these types of cases.

I think you should pursue this with a lawyer who handles lemon law cases.
Posted by A Tale of Two Warranties on 2011-01-15:
Pay close attention to this review; her story is virtually identical to mine at Kia of Duluth (MN). Aside from the part that failed, the service was the same: incomplete and shifting evaluation of the failure, neglecting to check the computer readout (done at our request and supporting our position), additional expense for every test that might have supported a warranty claim, nothing in writing, confrontational service managers who asserted that challenges to the diagnosis were "threats". Every step in the process was another outlay of cash or a monumental inconvenience (an arbitration process could take 45 days once it was scheduled). We also were advised to seek a second opinion at another Kia dealership (the nearest one is probably 150 miles distant) if we felt they were "lying", a word I never used or suggested. When calling the company's 800 number, I was advised that there was no one I could speak to who would discuss the decision process further.

As a friend said, this is not their first rodeo. Other mechanics who have looked at the car have pointed out a number of possibilities for the engine failure, and refuted point-by-point Kia's contentions. I will never again own or recommend a Kia. Although I liked many of its features, I wouldn't wish this dismal warranty experience on anyone else.
Posted by A Tale of Two Warranties on 2011-01-15:
I should have mentioned in "A Tale of Two Warranties" that I bought my 2008 Kia Optima new. It had 11, 608 miles on it when the engine blew December 29, 2010.
Posted by Richard in Charlotte on 2012-05-05:
In the real world, Kia's warranties appear to be
awful. When you're shopping Kia, the salesman
will most certainly tell you how great the Kia
warranties are and emphasize how protected a Kia owner will feel. But the real story appears different. The Kia warranties are long and complicated. The average person does't have time or automotive/legal savvy to understand Kia's warranties. The Kia warranties also channel
Kia owners into Kia dealerships for maintenance and repairs, where as captive customers, they are
routinely overcharged for labor, parts, fluids,
diagnostics, and extra services. The warranties
themselves seem to be full of loopholes, escape
clauses, and non-coverages. And it wouldn't surprise me if Kia service personnel are compensated for rejecting warranty claims. They appear abnormally unfriendly to a major warranty claim and expert at rejecting a warranty claim for "frivolous and even fictitious reasons" (my words) and giving a disatisified customer the classic run around. No more Kia vehicles or Kia warranties for me.
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Customer ripoff - useless warranty
Posted by Badkia on 08/14/2007
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA -- I bought a 2005 Kia Sedona specifically for the warranty. At 96,000 miles I carried it to the Kia dealership, where they promptly told me how important it was for me to have 2100.00 dollars in maint. work done. At this point the van was running great, with the exception of a hum in the rear axle that was repaired. ( wheel cylinder bad, 489.00 not covered by warranty).

I agreed to let them do the work, which included replacing every belt, detailed tune-up, etc. 80 days later, the motor blew up on the interstate and I was told the tension arm bolt, which holds pressure on the serpentine belt, broke, falling into the motor. At this point, I am thinking its a warranty issue. However I was told I was 314 miles over the warranty issue, and even though no one had touched this motor other than Kia, it would cost me roughly 3900.00 to fix it.

After carrying it to another repair technician, I was told the bolt had not been tightened properly and it had indeed bent some valves in the motor.
So currently, I have a 2005 Sedona, that has been to the Kia dealership twice, that cost 21000.00 new and is for sale in my front yard for 1000.00.
I have told EVERYONE that will listen how terrible Kia service is, the van is great, but the service personnel is anything but great. Their warranty is garbage, Kia does not stand behind it, and when you try to contact their corporate offices, they refer you to everyone but the janitor.

Never again will I even look at a Kia, much less purchase one, and will tell everyone I know how sorry their service is.
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Posted by MRM on 2007-08-14:
KIA autos is best known for being Killed In Action. JEEP is the way to go:) But hey, different strokes, for different folks.
Posted by old fart on 2007-08-14:
I own a 2001 KIA and I have never had a warrantee issue with the car. I have had to replace the transmission and I had a valve cover gasket leak but in both cases the repairs were made without so much as a peep and cost not one red cent. I am fairly sure the the dealership had a lot to do with it but I made sure that the maintainance schedule was followed religiously. Any dealings I had with KIA corporate were friendly and effective. How rigidly did you do the regular mintainance ?? Did you follow the recommended schedule?
Posted by MRM on 2007-08-14:
To my fellow M3C, please see my Jeep in my profile. Emt_C, have you seen this unique red Jeep rolling in your area?
Posted by badkia on 2007-08-15:
Regular maint. was done every week. Oil changes averaged about every 7 days, tire rotation, tuneups, etc. were on a fairly tight schedule since my job basically depended on this vehicle being in good working order. Replacing a timing belt, serpentine belt, belt tension arms should not have be done with in the first 8 months of owning a vehicle. My main issue with them had nothing to do with vehicle maint., but rather after having this maint. completed, the van started falling apart. One more issue, rear wheel hub, had to be replaced within 6 months of purchase. Front break pads replaced (understandable with normal wear) however for the dealer to charge 469.00 for two pads is ludicrous. I spent 32.00 at Auto Zone and put them on myself in 25 mins. While I cant speak for other Kia owners, my experience with the Kia folks has been anything but pleasant.
Posted by Timboss on 2007-08-15:
Are you exaggerating or do you really have it for sale at $1,000? For that and a rebuilt (or salvaged) motor someone could get a 3 year old vehicle. Based on your maintenance then for under $5,000 someone could probably get a real good deal on your Sedona.
Posted by old fart on 2007-08-15:
Oil changes were done every 7 days??? The schedule requires changes every 5 months or 5000 miles.
Posted by firengine103 on 2007-08-15:
Oil changes every 7 days! Get outta here!!!Did you rotate the tires at the same schedule? No? Well now, there's your problem!
Posted by badkia on 2007-08-15:
Yes oil changes were done roughly every 7 days. With my job, I was avg'ing 2800-3000 miles per week.Whether Kia schedule dictates 3000 or 5000 miles, the oil was changed at intervals of 3000 miles. Tires were rotated approx. every other month. Speaking of tires, it currently has a brand new set on it now.
And yes, I was exxagerating to a degree....But in all seriousness, the first 3000.00 that comes this way can have it. And yes, I have a clear title to the vehicle.
Posted by Slimjim on 2007-08-15:
I wonder if there is anybody that would inspect and sign off in their opinion, this was the reasoning for the failure.
Posted by badkia on 2007-08-15:
Not sure what you may be thinking caused the problem, but according to the Kia dealer (Sierra Kia) the oil change frequency and the tires had no relationship to what happened to this vehicle. When the belts were replaced, the bolt holding the tension arm on the serpentine belt broke, part of it somehow working its way into the motor, bending 3 valves. Im no mechanic, nor do I claim to be, but I did have a second independent mechanic look at it, and he verified bent valves. Bottom line, terrible workmanship from the so called certified techs, failure to stand behind their work from the dealer.
Posted by geather-c on 2007-08-16:
BUY AMERICAN the job you save might be your own.
Posted by badkia on 2007-08-16:
geather-c....any idea where an american car can be purchased? Chevy, Ford,etc..built outside the states or at least have parts built out of the country. Honda, Toyota, etc...built right here in the country....go figure huh? by the way....where is the computer you typed this message from....would be willing to bet it isnt American....that whole "buy american" value is (sadly) a thing a of the past...global economic policys and good ole american unions took care of that.
Posted by nelson71 on 2007-08-20:
I don't understand your frustration with Kia...I wonder if you handled it correctly. If you look in the warranty book there is a phone number to call for customer service. I did this when I disagreed with the dealer about a weld that popped in the back hatch. They promptly opened and gave me a case number and sent a rep to look at the car and it was fixed within a week. Even if this failed they provide you with the BBB arbitration line for each state in the book. Where are you getting 90,000K for the warranty too? its 6 years 60,000 bumper to bumper, the 90,000 is powertrain. Your issue is with the crappy dealer and poor service, not the car manufactuerer
Posted by badkia on 2007-08-20:
My frustration is with the quality of the vehicle, the dealer and yes the warranty. The warranty is 100,000 miles, 10 yr. Not 90,000 or 60,000 or whatever you are speaking of. When the number in the warranty book was called, I was told this would be forwarded to a complaint dept. I was told this twice, still have not reached them. Problems occurring with this vehicle was mechanical and occurred at low milage. As bad as the dealer service was, this was still a vehicle issue.
As far as the BBB is concerned, they are a powerless organization, that can do nothing but report complaints by the public. They have no power to force the dealer to do anything.
This little blog has produced more results than anything else I have tried however. Kia has now phoned me for information concerning the van. (4 attempts at reaching the Ala. Kia rep produced nothing)
Posted by nelson71 on 2007-08-21:
First of all the BBB number is part of a binding arbitration agreement that KIA has entered into...so they have power. This is an independent board that will listen to both sides and make a decision that must be abided by by the company should you win or you if you lose. Secondly...you need to read your warranty book my friend. This is right from Kia's website...

Kia has a lot of confidence in the quality and endurance of all its new vehicles. So much confidence, in fact, we offer the industry-leading Kia 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program. The Kia 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program consists of various components including a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000 mile limited basic warranty, a five-year or 100,000 mile limited anti-perforation warranty, and a five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan, each of which provides coverage until either the yearly or total mileage figure is reached, whichever occurs first.

As it states and as I stated, the only component of the warranty that is 100k is the powertrain unless you purchased and extended basic.
Posted by badkia on 2007-08-21:
Well Nelson, its not my goal to argue with you on what is covered and what is not. The warranty I referred to earlier in this blog was a PARTS AND LABOR warranty, which is 12,000 mile 12 month. I was also referring to defective parts which was installed at the time this work was completed, and the dealers non willingness to stand behind it. Yes those are dealer issues and not the manufacturer. Anyway, doesnt much matter now.....I have learned my lesson...should have known better. There is a Ford F-150 in my yard now, with 402,000 miles on it so I dont suppose I am to hard on vehicles. Guess I will continue to purchase Fords and Chevys.
As far as your arbitration issues with the BBB....that is a joke and anyone who has ever reported anything to them knows this. And with my confidence level in Kia at this point, the warranty book is not worth the paper its written on.
I will say this tho Nelson.....Kia would be glad to have you in their employ....you have been the leader in standing up for their "dependability". Hope you never end up with the issues I have with them.
Posted by nelson71 on 2007-08-22:
LOL.... I'm not trying to argue with you... my point is you are bashing KIA for the dealer's failure to follow up on a parts and labor warranty.... I did have a bumper to bumper warranty issue with my dealer, called the number in the warranty book and and the issue was handled promptly. Why would you call Kia regarding dealer repair issues, its not the car manufacterer's responsibility to stand behind a dealer warranty on a non-warranty repair.
Posted by T P on 2011-11-05:
My low tire lite came on so next day I went to dealer. It took an hour and a half for them to put air in the tire! I HAD A 8'o clock appt what's wrong with this picture!
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Bad Transmission
Posted by DWXR on 04/02/2008
PENSACOLA FL, FLORIDA -- I have only had my KIA RIO for 3 years. I bought it new and was impressed with the 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty package. However, this week, my transmission blew. Now Kia does not want to honor their warranty because I did not use the RECOMMENDED transmission fluid last time I had it changed. It was one year ago, I changed the fluid and now they are telling me that this caused the problem. Come on. For one thing, the transmission should not blow after 3 years.

For another thing, I took care of the car and they still do not want to honor it. I am wondering how many KIA owners have ran into this problem. I am not sure what to do at this point, other then make all phone calls I can and stir up as much ruckus as possible until someone from KIA can explain this to me about the quality of their vehicles. I will never buy another KIA.

Their product sucks and so do their warranties. Its a hoax to get you to buy and thats it. Very depressed and disgusted! And soon to be broke for having to buy a new transmission!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-03:
It's not just KIA. Look at any vehicle warrenty. If the owner does not have routine maintence at the recommended intervals, using the recommended fluids and parts and doesn't not keep a record of the maintenance, they are SOL.

It's really the only way a manufacturer can be assured that the problem is caused by a manufacturing defect and not caused by abuse or sub standard parts or fluids by the owner.
Posted by Aerocave on 2008-04-03:
If it states in the warranty manual that you are to use a certain transmission fluid, well, I hate to tell you this, but you should have read about this before changing it on your own. It is the owner's responsibility to follow recommended service intervals/methods as well.

As I have said time and time again...you get what you pay for...When Kia and Hyundai first introduced their 10 year/100,000 mile warranty back in (I think) 2001 it created quite a stir in the automotive market...it put them on the "shopping list" for many consumers. We had some of our Honda customers comparing a KIA to an Accord or Civic--yet rarely bought one despite a $5k to $7k price difference...fast forward 7-8 years later and yes, Kia is still selling cars...yes, 2007 marked the 14th consectutive year of "record sales" (as Kia states)...The bottom line is they are barely selling 300,000 cars per year (305,000 sales in 2007). The dealer network is filled with many of the "rejects" from Honda, Toyota, and Domestic stores...ones that still use deceitful, high pressure, and bait and switch tactics (not all, but many)...My point is, in a market that has really become sensitive to fuel economy, price, and value, one would think that KIA would be selling a whole lot more cars, as there products are certainly competitively priced--but the reality is the sales increases over the past 7 years have really been insignificant in comparison to the alleged "great value." (Through March 2008 sales are down 8% by the way) Now I realize there are consumers out there who would disagree with me and say they own a KIA and it has been a great vehicle...but you have this with every make.

I think consumers have been the testimonial to the fact that its long term quality and value plus desirable products--not just a great warranty--that sells cars.

Throw a 10 year/100,000 powertrain warranty and a 5 year/60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty on a Honda, Toyota, or even a GM--and watch where their sales will go...
Posted by abobo on 2008-04-03:
Take your car to another mechanic and have him be sure that this fluid caused the problem.

Legally a manufacturer can set a service interval, but cannot say aftermarket parts void your warranty. If they prove that the specific aftermarket part (the tranny fluid) caused the failure, you're out of luck.

Either way, if you press it you're in for a nasty fight.

Here's a good reference where a poster talks about the aftermarket parts voiding warranty misconception. I'd search more, but I'm at work:

Posted by sarahnkrystal on 2008-04-03:
I believe that these "rules" are in place because there are people out there who buy brand new cars, never do any maintenance and don't even know they are supposed to change the oil and then when their engine blows they want the dealership to fix the car they completely neglected. I am not saying you neglect your car, but I believe that's why they want all maintenance done in their dealership. They have proof of everything done to your car.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-03:
If the transmission fluid can be shown to be equivalent to the recommended type, you have a leg to stand on. If the label on the fluid said "Approved for ALL transmissions" you may have a claim against the fluid manufacturer. My owner's manual says not to use 20-50W oil in the crankcase...I should not do so. If I do, my warranty is shot. BUT, if I use any brand of recommended weight oil with at least a SE or SM rating...the motor should be fine. Hopes this makes sense. Good luck. If you did something wrong, please don't blame KIA.
Posted by cargenius on 2009-08-03:
Ok for starters [snip] It it si YOUR responsibility as a consumer to follow the recommended service intertvals and fliud requirements for you vehicle This is why the warrenty is in place for stupid people like you that use the wrong fliuds and such can you read your service manual that came with you KIA ??? oops guess not since YOU KILLED your TRANNY pay for a new one and learn your lesson
Posted by Richard From Charlotte on 2012-05-05:
My 64 year old wife's 2009 Sportage EX, transmission "burned out" (dealer's words) at 35,000 miles. Folger Kia would not honor the warranty because we had the regularly scheduled flush done at Valvoline. We're sure the transmission was malfunctioning before we went to
Valvoline. Folger won't even listen, saying our
claim is "undocumented." I'm beginngin to see a
trend - late model Kia transmissions with serious
manufactuiring defects.
Posted by JR on 2012-06-28:
Actually, if you do a search there was a court case (I think it was in 2010)...Kia wouldn't cover the engine repair after during the warranty period because the customer could not provide service records...and admitted in court to no having the 30,000 and 60,000 mile services done. At 84,000 miles the engine needed to be replaced. The customer eventually sued them, and the court ruled that if a 100,000 mile warranty is offered then there is a reasonable expectation that the engine should last that long...regular maintenance or not...and ruled that Kia must fix or replace the engine for free under the terms of the warranty.
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Faulty Design In Passenger Seat
Posted by Railbird on 03/27/2008
ILLINOIS -- I recently purchased a 2007 Kia Optima from a local dealer. The first week I had the car, what I noticed was that when my wife sat in the front passenger seat, the warning light on the dash would remain illuminated, indicating that the passenger air bags were "off". Mind you, she weighs 150 lbs., So certainly the sensors in her seat should be able to detect that a full sized adult is sitting in the seat, and therefore the air bag system should be fully activated. I phoned the dealer, and got a guy on the phone from the service dept. After telling him the problem, his answer was it was probably due to the way my wife was sitting in the seat. In other words, she has to sit exactly a certain way, and be very conscious of how she first sits in the car, otherwise the sensors in the seat will not pick up the proper signal, and the air bag light will not turn off. This of course means, in the event of a crash, her air bags would not deploy !!

Yesterday, I brought my Optima in to the dealer to have this problem addressed by a mechanic to see if in fact there was anything defective with the seat. After nearly two hours of waiting, I was approached by the service manager, who showed me a bulletin he had recently received from the Kia corporation relating to the very issue that I was concerned about. This bulletin went on to say that the passenger body must be positioned in a very exacting way when they first sit in the passenger seat. The proper positioning on the seat, especially the way they extend their legs, is vital in those first few moments. If the said passenger does not sit properly in the first few moments, the sensors in the seat will not recognize the individual as a full sized person, therefore the air bags would not deploy in the event of a crash!! I then walked out into the service area, and personally spoke with the mechanic who had been checking my car. He was quite clear with his explanation, and he concurred with the bulletin about how an individual sits in the passenger depends on the way the sensors read the person, and how they then react.

In summation, this design of the sensors is clearly a flaw. Why should I as the driver, or my front passenger, have to worry about how to sit their body in the front seat ??? The air bag system in my wifes Honda, as a comparison, is always "on". The only time it is deactivated, is if it recognizes something light on her passenger front seat, such as her handbag when she sets it on the seat. It is only then that the "passenger air bag off" light is illuminated. I love my Kia Optima otherwise, it is a well built vehicle. But this air bag issue apparently has become an issue with other consumers besides me. It hopefully will be rectified in future models.
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Posted by MRM on 2008-03-27:
That would be silly that you would have to sit in a certain way so that the air bag would work. Not to mention that you will have cramps when sitting like a frankenstein on a long car trip.
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-03-27:
This is a potentially serious problem - I would call the NHTSA in Washington and make sure they are aware of this - this could very well end up in a recall.
Posted by FoggyOne on 2008-03-27:
You might check here: http://www.allworldauto.com/recalls/OPTIMA_recalls_212-1.html

it has a list of recalls and service bulletins. Disclaimer: I have no idea how accurate it is. But it might be a start to see if this is a 'normal' problem.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-03-27:
If it is only a matter of 'assuming the position' for a few seconds, it doesn't seem like a huge deal, but annoying none the less. Did you test this to see if it causes light goes out?
Also, in my vehicle there is an override to keep the passenger's air bag permanently off. Does your Kia possibly have a similar override? I assume a mechanic would have checked it, but hey, you just never know.
Posted by Aerocave on 2008-03-28:
Very interesting...I would be very suprised if KIA would not issue some type of recall regarding this, as to me, the potential liability is something they could simply not overlook (besides the safety factor, of course).
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Passenger Air Bag Sensor
Posted by Safety is important on 03/27/2008
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- I recently bought a 2007 Kia Sorento.

The dash has a light to show when the passenger air bag is off. When no one sits in the passenger front seat, the light comes on. In my vehicle, even when there is someone sitting in that seat, the light will remain on. This means if a front end collision occurs, the passenger side air bag will not deploy. This is very dangerous. One of the main reasons I purchased the Kia was due to the amount of air bags all around the interior.

I have had service to check this out at two dealerships and the computer does not register any sensor malfunctions in the history. The service manager himself stated he has had several complaints about this very problem. He stated it depends on the exact way a passenger positions themselves in the first few moments of sitting. I took him for a test drive myself and it worked perfectly when he was sitting, but the light has come on with each other passenger. The sensor is a gel pad in the seat and must have appropriate weight placed on it to activate the air bag and allow deployment when necessary. The sensor is not set properly for the average person. This could be a very dangerous situation.

I hope Kia Motors realizes the problem and finds a solution before someone is seriously injured.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-03-27:
Just a question, when someone is sitting in the passenger seat are they wearing a seatbelt?? If the passenger is not wearing a seatbelt the airbag will not deploy in an accident.
Posted by songman on 2008-03-28:
Gald to hear see that other consumers are quite concerned about this serious issue pertaining to air bag deployment in certain Kia vehicles. I have a 2007 Optima, and I have been through it all just like yourself with the dealer. As they have said, even in writing, the particular way an individual sits in the front passenger seat, depends on how the sensors read or don't read that person. As you said in your posting, this could result in a serious problem in the event of a crash. I mean, yes the seat belts will and do help, but most vehicles today have air bags in addition to seat belts. So, they should be designed in a more user freindly way. In my opinion this problem we are experiencing is major flaw in the design of the cars from Kia. Beyond that, the Kia products are quite satisfactory!
Posted by safetyman on 2008-05-16:
This sensor has been an issue for a long time. My 2006 Sorento had the same problem & they could not figure out the problem. It finally started working right. The 2008 Sorento I am driving now once again has the same issue. The majority of the time it does not sense the difference of somebody in the seat or not. They are wearing the seatbelt as someone else questioned. A couple of times the sensor has activated with someone in the seat to then turn off a few minutes later. I have checked and cannot find any TSB's on this from the dealers either so they are either not addressing it or they are keeping this very quiet since it is a safety issue.
Posted by Hope Drums on 2008-08-09:
I'm glad to hear that there are other people out there that are having the same issue! We bought a new 08 Sorento from our local dealership in June and immediately noticed the problem. We have taken it back once and they said the sensor checks out at factory specs. Actually went there today, but the service department was closed. The one thing that sucks is that they had us sign an arbitration clause when we bought the vehicle. I'm not sure if it was for the local dealership or Kia Motors. Sounds like a class-action lawsuit in the making!!
Posted by Archie2 on 2008-08-09:
Kia is crap. One step up from a Chinese-made Cherry Amulet. It may pass the crash tests, but it will kill you by driving you crazy with all the other crap that goes wrong (which they'll tell you your car IS THE ONLY ONE).
Posted by Jim84 on 2009-01-27:
I have the same problem! New 2008 Kia Rio. Sitting properly; I'm protected. Raise my hand to scratch my nose; oh no I'm not protected, quickly proper position, thank God, protected again........so on and so on.......
Posted by Tab on 2013-12-14:
It is a pain, I agree. I was told if the light comes on that our passenger needs to lift their butt up for a minute, then place it back down on the seat. It has worked for us, but embrassing to ask your guest in the car to do this.
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Timing Belt
Posted by Bellyupinmi on 07/24/2008
ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHIGAN -- I took my 2002 Sedona in for its 60,000 mile check up as required and was told that the timing belt needs replaced. I checked in the warranty book and this is considered a part of the power train and is covered under the 120 month/100,000 mile warranty that they advertise so proudly. Well guess what, they would not cover it with the excuse of "we won't cover that because it falls under normal wear and tear". The almost uneducated call center person then said that is the same as tires or brakes, they are not covered because of normal wear and tear. I asked her why this part is in the warranty manual and she said well if it would have broke, we would have covered it, but since it was only worn, that falls under normal wear and tear. The KIA tech told us "You need to replace it as it is worn and will probably break before too long". I asked the service rep then if it would have been better for me to just not have it replaced until it broke? She then said, we would not cover any damage at that point because you were advised that it was bad and needed replaced.

Talk about double talk, I had it replaced as per the KIA tech suggestion, and then am told it was not covered because of wear and tear, but then told that if it broke it would be covered, but not really because I was told it was bad. Can you say what a bunch of double talking crap to avoid paying a warranty. NEVER will buy a KIA again, they will not honor a warranty regardless of the circumstances.
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Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-07-24:
I don't think anyone's warranty covers the rubber timing belts - they are considered a consumable or wear and tear item like tires and brake pads.

Their answer was correct - if the belt failed due to a defect in the belt, then they would have paid for the resulting engine damage. But if you ignored their service recommendations and the belt failed at 70,000 miles due not to defects, but due to lack of maintenance, then they would not cover it.

Same thing as oil and filter changes. You do them as they suggest and they will pay for engine damage as a result of oil system failure - but fail to keep up with oil changes and they won't fix a thing.

This is all spelled out in your owner's manual - what is considered scheduled maintenance and what you are required to do.

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
Well said Hugh.
Posted by Bellyupinmi on 2008-07-24:
Thank you for your response, however the KIA warranty states that this IS a covered part under the power train and engine warranty. What part of the engine does not suffer wear and tear? To compare brakes to a Timing belt is not accurate as I have control over how the brakes are used, when to change them, a timing belt is an internal engine part, it is a part of the power train and nowhere in the warranty booklet does it exclude this part. This part is listed in the book under POWER TRAIN COVERAGE and also in the ENGINE section where it is grouped with Cylinder block, Cylinder Head, ALL INTERNAL PARTS, Timing gear, Seals and gaskets, TIMING BELT, and cover, Intake and exhaust manifolds, valve cover, flywheel, oil pan, water pump, and engine mounts. Nowhere does it say except for wear and tear. What items mentioned above does not suffer from wear and tear?
Posted by Ponie on 2008-07-24:
Yeah, Hugh, you're right. Last time I bought a new car it was delivered to me with a few gallons of gas in the tank. When it ran out, I tried turning it in for a new one and got the same answer: It's considered a consumable and wasn't covered under the warranty. I'm sick of such double talk! :)
Posted by lobo65 on 2008-07-24:
I've never heard of a timing belt replacement being covered under warranty. That almost always falls under routine maintenace. I wouldn't put off getting it done either. You don't want to pay the repair bill when it bends your valves.
Posted by lobo65 on 2008-07-24:
Never mind. Didn't see the part where you said you already had it done.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
Sounds like double talk to me. If they're not going to cover the timing belt then don't list it in the warranty. Pretty simple. So I guess if you blow a head gasket then that would be normal wear and tear as well.

Good review.
Posted by Ponie on 2008-07-24:
Aw, c'mon, Bellyupinmi. Don't recognize sarcasm? Didn't see the ---:)--- at the end of my post? You're giving us Michiganians a bad name. I'm just about six miles down the road on Livernois. On a serious note, doesn't your manual state the timing belt should be changed at 60K miles as part of regular maintenance? How much does it cost? About $100 or so? Of course those labor charges will get you every time. Did you have it changed?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
Hugh, Best Answer. I have always expected to pay for belt replacements. I have never considered them to be a dealer replacement if changed due to normal wear and tear. I guess if I ever had one go out within the first year or so I might press the issue.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
Hugh is correct, the problem here is the terminology the people at KIA used. Try this, your engine is covered under an oil related failure unless you did not change the oil under recommended intervals. If the timing belt had broken prior to 60K miles the warranty would have covered it, if you had not changed the belt at the recommended service interval of 60K miles and the belt broke on you then the expense to repair would fall on the consumer. Hope that helps. Good luck
Posted by MTD324 on 2008-08-05:
Hugh and dealerdirect are both perfectly accurate. I managed an auto parts store and had to deal with this type of circumstance all the time. Your timing belt is warranted against manufacturer defect only. Not normal wear. The timing belt is designed to be stable for at least 60k miles. After that it is considered worn, which is why it's in your maintenence schedule. It may very well last 100k miles, but you dont want to chance it. It is an expensive part of general maintenence but it is very important to get it changed. No dealer regardless of warranty length will cover changing the timing belt. Just be happy its only a couple hundred dollars. In some cars this required maintenence can cost well over $1000.
Posted by brutus1961 on 2009-01-19:
sorry to disagree with you but it clearly states that it is only covered when it is caused by a non-wear item,then and only then will a wear item be replaced.ALL car mfgers are the same on this.its not unusual.
Posted by Conchita. on 2009-08-19:
I don't know what drives people to buy a Hiunday or a Kia. When you can just buy a Toyota or Honda, Satur, Buick (the best cars) for just a few more bucks, why take the chance?
Pedro Talavera.
Posted by fc on 2012-04-30:
It is not the brand Kia, Honda,and Toyota etc require the vehicle owner to replace timing belt. A job that would been $800 is now costing you 3k-5k to replace engine. Kia and Hyundai, Honda have interference engines so change it when they recommend it
Posted by Tom on 2014-03-12:
I have a Kia Sportage and the dealer made sure I understood I have to have the timing belt replaced (at my expense) at 60,000 miles in order to keep the warranty in effect. I am assume your car has the same type of warranty. It is never better to let it break before you replace it because you can do serious engine damage NOT covered by warranty.
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Kia is nothing more than a SCAM!!!
Posted by Everydayangel0414 on 08/13/2009
In 2005, I had traded my SUV in for a 2005 Kia Optima. The car seemed nice and thought a new car would be a nice change, and the savings per month compared to the SUV. The first red flag that did not quite register at the time. I signed the contrat with no finance company name on the contract. Just a PO box address in California and no account number. Then a week later I was required to sign three separate contracts again no finance company information filled in and now no address. I was told they would fill that in later and this was normal. They were just waiting for information to fill it in.

Then I get a call from my old finance company to tell me that they have not paid off my trade-in. If the payment was not received in five days. They would repo it from the dealer and come after both of us for payment. The vehicle was paid off in a month and a half after trade in. The next red flag was that I never received a letter or call from the finance company to go over the details of my new auto loan for the Kia and no payment coupon book ever arrived. Yet, the payment amount on the various blank contracts were all different. Then there was the issue of never receiving a tag or registration for the vehicle. After five months of having the vehicle, the vehicle was repossessed. I called around and finally got a hold of someone claiming to have the loan. The response was that I had to reapply to get the car back. The biggest red flag of all.

What this means is that they gave me a car with no financing, took my trade in and got rid of of it quick(2 days sold to a buy here pay here for $500), and never filed the paperwork to have a tag or registration sent to me. If this is not bad enough, you will love this. If at any time I was stopped by law enforcement and they checked the paperwork. The first two charges would be no vaild registration and no valid tag. Here is the big felony coming up. I would have been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Motor Vehicle. Plain English, I would have charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. When I did nothing wrong. I never once received a phone call or letter stating there was a problem and should bring the car back. They got rid of my SUV quick so no one went to jail.

I have tried to work this out with the company, and guess what, no response. I am going to the GA Attorney General's Office to see if they can do something and searching for a good attorney. One more bit of advice for all previous Kia owners, current owners, and future owners. Hyundai owns Kia and per legal agreement. Kia Motor Finance Company is a business name of Hyundai. Kia Motor Finance Company is a name that cannot be used in all US states to legally conduct business. The actual finance company that conducts the business is Hyundai Capital Finance. Deceptive finance tactics used that possibly fall under federal predatory lending practices act. I also just found out that Kia Motor Finance Company is now Kia Motor Finance. The same legal agreement stands. So please check your local state to see if the legal agreement pertains to your state. One other thing, all Kia dealerships in the state of Georgia have an F rating with the BBB. The majority of complaints are sales/contracts issues. I wonder why!!! It seems that Kia profits from breaking the law.

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Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-08-13:
Wow that really stinks.
Posted by dan gordon on 2009-08-14:
and somehow this rant is a complaint against Kia????Its a dealer issue not a manufacturers issue.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Don't ever finance through KIA!!
Posted by Dtcadwell on 04/18/2012
SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA -- I have two 2011 leased Kia Sorentos, neither of which, by the way, has lived up to the low mileage promises. But the worst of my experience has been dealing with Kia Motors Finance. They have a process center that receives check payments. It's the only company I deal with that repeatedly fails to credit my account even though checks are mailed 10 or more days prior to due date.
I've had to stop payment on two checks to avoid being double billed because Kia Finance's process center fails to credit my account. Adding insult to injury, their phone in "customer service" center has never once recognized my account number or the famous "last four of my SSN", requiring that I remain on hold for long periods before being transferred to at least 3 departments. Unbelievable!!
Thank the good Lord for on-line banking through my trustworthy and competent credit union. I would never trust KIA Finance to pay on-line either. The good from all this? I'll pay cash for my next vehicle and I can pretty much guarantee it won't be a Kia.
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Faulty Air Bags
Posted by Joeglenshel on 05/17/2010
car after wreck airbags did not deploy
car after wreck airbags did not deploy
Our son was in an accident this afternoon. The entire front end was demolished. The airbags did not deploy. The engine was twisted sideways and the car is a total loss and the AIR BAGS DID NOT DEPLOY! We bought this car for the safety features and price. We now understand that to get the price we were shorted on quality and safety. My sister in laws friend also has a KIA and the AIRBAGS DID NOT DEPLOY!

I am very concerned and thank God no one was seriously injured. However, this safety problem needs corrected before someone dies.
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Posted by Skye on 2010-05-17:
Wow! That was some accident. I hope your son is ok. Thank you for warning others, during such a scary and stressful day for you!
Posted by Ben There on 2010-05-17:
"thank God no one was seriously injured"... So the airbags were not needed, correct? Had they deployed, your son could have had bad friction burns, possibly giving him permanent facial scars.

How fast was he going? They are calibrated to go off only when the car is traveling over a certain speed.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-17:
Posted by madconsumer on 2010-05-17:
since the radiator is not damaged, i would suspect the impact was not front on, and not in a position to force the air bags to deploy.
Posted by clutzycook on 2010-05-17:
that's what I was going to say, Mad. Looks like someone came at him from an angle and tore the front off. Wow.
Posted by MRM on 2010-05-17:
Is that blood?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-17:
I've read many complaints about Kia airbags not deploying. As they say where there's smoke there's usually fire. What you need to do is report this incident to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can do so via the following link.


Good review!
Posted by Starlord on 2010-05-18:
Unless the vehicle is equipped with side airbags, the airbags will not deploy on a side, or T-bone, collision. This appears to be a side or angled collision, so the sensors would not deploy the airbags. People do not seem to get it that unless an impact is substantially from the direct front or direct rear, the airbags really do no good, and would cause more injuries than they prevent.In this situation, your lap and shoulder belts, combined with the bucket front seats now almost universal in cars are made to hold you in place and keep you safe. Sorry, but that is reality.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-05-19:
i'd say... it may depend on the nature of your accident

and since there was no serious injury according to what you said.... it may not be a bad thing that they didn't deploy.

an airbag isn't to prevent injury so much as it is to save your life.
cos ... well to be honest sometimes they CAUSE injury.

one of the cooks on my first ship learned that the hard way. he got hit in a rear-end collision.
the airbag deployed.
he lost an eyeball.

some of the people were impressed at the size of the settlement he got but... as he said, "I'd rather have my eye."
Posted by Lazybey on 2010-09-17:
i was JUST in a accident. my car looks JUST LIKE the one in the pic. my airbags didnt go of causeing my wife to slam her head on the side window. what happened to the side airbags then? thats what led me to this site. i just filled out the form that stew posted. we will see what happenes with that. but for now, its time to get a rental car and then off to the E.R. for 8 hours.
Posted by maggie on 2011-06-13:
my husband was just in a bad accident with his 2011 kia optima, he t-bone other car that made illegal u - turn...air bag did not deploy either. he hit his head on steering wheel cracking wheel...what is going on?
Posted by carmilanes on 2011-06-22:
I had an accidente on 6/15/11 in my KIA Spectra 5. The car was totaled loss and the bags didn't deploy. Never will buy any KIA in my life. I sure.
Posted by Mart on 2013-02-10:
I slid off the road, went down an embankment and hit a tree head on in my 2012 sportage KX3. All of the side curtain airbags deployed but the fron driver and passenger did not! I am still in some pain as the accident was recent but live to fight another day although the car is an insurance write off. Have emailed Kia UK but will now also use the link above.
Posted by Rick M on 2013-02-23:
I had a 2008 Kia Spectra and recently slid on ice into a pole at about 20 mph. The car was considered a total loss even though the impact did not that seem that hard. However, the front end crumpled to absorb the impact and the air bags did not deploy. I didn't think much of it at the time because the impact didn't seem that hard, but after hearing that the car was totaled. It did seem strange that if the impact was great enough to total the car out, that the air bag should have deployed and didn't. That raises cause for concern. Hopefully this air bag failure has been addressed in newer cars.
Posted by Apple on 2013-12-21:
2004 Kia Sedona head on collision into rought iron (sp?) fence approximately 8-10ft tall held together by huge 10ft or so tall brick posts. Took out 3 of the fencing section with on cutting stright down the middle of the hood/engine and 2 bending and wrapping around the car. One brick post also collapsed. The fence sections were huge and not flimsy or decorative. (Anheuser Busch lot).
I was the passenger. The airbags did not deploy. Impact was head on, front tires peeled off and mangled, entire headlight cases out and radiator and front underneath mangled. The curb in front of the fencing was about 3 times higher than a normal sidewalk curb height.
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