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2011 KIA OPTIMA Transmission Failure

ghostrider1017ghostrider1017 Posts: 6
edited December 2017 in Kia
On 4/11/11, we were driving to work and had gone four miles from our house, when we thought we had hit a deer. The car made a very loud sound and lurched violently, at highway speed, frightening us both. The lurching was so violent that it may well have caused other damage. We were extremely fortunate not to have crashed. We then found that the car would not shift gears. The automatic transmission had gone out of our 2011 Kia Optima EX.

We bought the Kia new on 1/8/11. The car had 3600 miles on it at the time of the catastrophic failure. This was our first Kia purchase (and last, I might add), and we are very disappointed.

Needless to say, we were shocked by this dangerous occurrence. We very easily could have had tragic consequences for us and our fellow commuters. We are no longer confident in this vehicle. We find this totally unsatisfactory and asked KIA to replace our vehicle with an identical one. KIA refused, basically saying “we don’t own it anymore”. They did replace the transmission.


  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I am sorry for your troubles,but seems to me that KIA did what they were required to do.They fixed your car with a new transmission.Now...if it were to happen again,I think the Lemon law might come into play.
    I have a 2006.5 Optima EX with 43000 on it .No mechanical problems yet,knock on wood.I consider it a good and dependable car.Remember....stuff happens.Nowhere in your warranty does it say that if there is ONE major incident,that they will give you a new car.I can't think of any manufacturer who would.
    I sincerely hope that from now on your Optima performs as well as mine and you will feel better about the brand.
  • You are definately correct they "did what they were required to do"....and nothing more.

    I personnaly know two instances where other car companies did more for a lot smaller of a problem. One bought back the vehicle and the other replaced the vehicle. One was a cosmetic problem that was not repaired to the owner's satisfaction - replaced the car. The other was a water leaking issue into the interior and they bought it back. These are note "here say", I know the people involved personnally.

    You might be satisfied with this type of major failure on a brand new car, but I certainly am not.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Clearly your mind is made up,so I won't attempt to change it.I don't think you are being reasonable, and I don't work for KIA.Any new car can have a problem.If they replaced every car that came in for major warranty service,they would go out of business.
  • jcspohrjcspohr Posts: 97
    This person has posted the same identical text on two other Optima forums during the past week. In both forums I have pasted the response below and it has gone unanswered.

    ----------- Start Text ------------
    I'd like to understand more...

    Please post a copy of your repair invoice (of course black out your name and other personally identifiable information).

    Also, what is the build date (found on drivers door sticker) of your car?

    ------------ End Text -------------

    After seeing it posted in 3 different forums over a weeks time, I am left wondering if this really happened and if this is just a Kia hater?


  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I do remember a couple of years ago plethora of negative posts on the last generation Optima.I too wondered about that because when I go in for routine service I see very few Optimas being worked on.This tells me that this is a very reliable car.My 2006.5 certainly has been for over 43000 miles.
  • jkobty1jkobty1 Posts: 1
    I think he is just another Honda salesman, with lots of time on his hands. I think you will see a lot of these detractors since this car and the Sonata pose a significant threat to other brands. :)
  • ahossa1ahossa1 Posts: 52
    We just have to wait to see how many people will report similar problems. Remember, the 2011 Sonata with the left pull. Well, there were hundreds of posts on the left pull so you know it's a problem. I don't even know if they found a solution for that problem. I'm in the market for an Optima SX so I will monitor the forums to see if this is a general problem. I'm going to NY Auto Show and I will ask the Kia folks if the heard of the problem.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    Try .
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • jcspohrjcspohr Posts: 97
    No need to wait - Kia has had a TSB out for the left "drift" issue and not everyone has had the issue.

    I'm a legitimate 2011 Optima EX owner and you can find me (user handle "TE2") on two other forums where I am a Super Moderator and also on

    Plenty of real information there...

  • j2jj2j Posts: 147
    edited April 2011
    If those anecdotes are true, they are clearly not the norm.

    Honda owners had to go the route of a class action law suit in order to have Honda address the issue of prematurely failing transmissions in a no. of Honda and Acura models.

    Toyota settled a class action suit in regards to a transmission defect in the RAV-4, as well as having issues w/ the transmission on the RX.

    Not to mention, the class action regarding engine sludge.

    And oh, according to JD Power's CSI rankings which looks at customer satisfaction on repair/warranty work within the 1st 3 years of ownership, Kia is ABOVE average and rated higher than EVERY mainstream Japanese brand (all of whom, with the exception of Honda, are ranked BELOW average).
  • The build date was 10\10. I have been trying to copy and paste from the repair order to no avail so I will type it in:

    "Auto Transmission TECH(s): 4987
    Scanned for DTC's P0748 in history cleared and test drove. No recurrance of of concern. Followed flowchart component inspection for pressure control solenoid valce (LP-VFS) @ATM solenoid valve connector pin 12 & 17 reading 18.5 ohms @ 64 degrees . Spec is 5.1 ohms @ 25 degrees C. Opened tech line case and updated. Advised to check (LP-VFS) @ cold temp. Measured resistance @ (LP-VFS) 16.4 ohms @25 degrees C. Updated tech line advised to contact DPSM for A\T replacement. Authorized new AT/ install.
    Replaced A/T assembly and flushed A/T cooler lines. Reat A/T adaptive values. Performed dynamic and static relearn verified A/T fluid @ proper level and test drove. Verified normal operation at this time."
  • I can assure you this is a real problem. I had the exact same problem with the exact same fix (new transmission). My car did this 3 times before they changed transmission. It is scary when you have a car with less than 2,000 miles have such a failure especially when it is your first time buying this brand.
  • ghostrider1017,
    I have had the same exact issue and same response from KIA that you have had. I have a new transmission. My transmission failed 3 times before I had 2,000 miles on it. I was devastated and am still not sold on their quality. I pray I am wrong since I have leased the vehicle.
  • krpeterskrpeters Posts: 1

    I just had the EXACT same problem in my 2011 Kia Optima EX and they are saying that this issue has never occurred before. Do you still have your case number? I am starting to think this is an issue and Kia is some how trying to cover it up.
  • huke12huke12 Posts: 5
    edited April 2012
    Sorry I didn't respond sooner. The email containing your reply was in my spam folder and I didn't see it.
    I don't have any paperwork that I am aware of, but I will check with my wife who would keep such things. You might want to try for information also. It seems I saw an official document concerning this very issue. I have a new transmission and haven't had a problem since they replaced it. Someone is either very misinformed at your dealer, or they are not being honest. Hope this helps. If I can find a case number, I will post it for you.
  • phyjerphyjer Posts: 1
    While driving at 45mph today, there was a loud bang and the car jolted as if we hit a large animal. No warning lights came on and I continued to drive about a mile until I stopped at a stop sign. When I started off, the car had very little power and as I got on the Interstate, I noticed the RPMs were about 4200 at 70mph. It was obvious that the transmission was probably stuck in 3d or 4th gear. I drove straight to the KIA dealership - Bad news, my 2011 Optima EX with 7800 miles needs a new transmission. My dealership is great - they gave me a loner car until mine is fixed. We love the Optima, however, I hope it does not start falling apart.
  • sheppie1sheppie1 Posts: 2
    I bought my Kia Optima in May of 2011. I drive the OHIO turnpike everyday to and from work. Within the first month I experienced the same transmission issue as others. Driving 45-50 mph down a country route a huge noise shook the car (i.e. like an M80 or M120 went off) under the center of the car on the passenger side. I though I hit a herd of deer or ran over a family of racoons; but did no such thing. The car never lost power, however, car ran sluggish just like a stick shift stuck in 4th gear no matter how much peddle you gave to the metal ! Dash lights did not light up; NO sensor, code, or indicator lights eluminating; can't see ghosts! My dealership claims that no one has ever experienced this; No claims or tech reports in to Kia Motors. Really ! DOES ANYONE HAVE A Case Number?
    The worst part is that this has happened in May 2011; July-Aug 2011; Oct. 2011; April 2012; July 2012. Each time it has been between 2-5 miles after getting in the car either on my way to work or twice on my way home leaving work. This past event has now caused an oil leak ... think the trany affected the motor now and I'm betting money on a blown gasket!
    The dealership will get my car today July - 2012, and I am not looking forward to another "unsolved-mystery" event.
  • sheppie1sheppie1 Posts: 2
    Oh I can tell you that the situation is real and this person is not a Kia hater.
    But, I'm sure getting to that point if you have been through what I've been through for 1 year and the dealership said, "if we can't duplicate the problem; then there is nothing we can do".
    Not what you'd expect to hear after spending $24k for a Kia Optima - brand new!
  • huke12huke12 Posts: 5
    I am sorry that I don't have a case number for you that I can find. My dealership is located in Jackson, MI. Their name is Kia of Jackson, part of Young Automotive Group. When I took my Optima in for same thing, they said it had an error code both times. They then got with area representative of Kia and replaced transmission. Your dealership needs to call them. I can't see how they don't have an error code from your car. My dealership did.
  • lakerfan24lakerfan24 Posts: 24
    Hmm. Three people said they had the 2011 EX and Three others didn't say which model they have at all. I'm wondering if this is only related to the EX's :confuse: I have a 2012 SX with 3600 miles and haven't had any problems yet...
  • Aren't all of the transmissions the same?
  • clilmacclilmac Posts: 1
    I have a 2011 KIA Optima EX with 15K miles on it, bought in January 2011.
    The Transmission appears to have "blown up". Had all the clunking noise symptoms on the highway and just died. I am very disappointed and really don't want to keep the car at this point. I will know more later today after the Dealer assesses it.
  • Good Luck! We had 3600 miles on ours when it went. We called KIA several times and wanted them to replace the car because we lost confidence in it. Basically, they said "it's yours now, not ours". I f they had any customer service sense, they should have offered free oils changes, free scheduled service, at least something, but NO! We have had the car fail again and leave us stranded. This time it was the brake switch. Again, they know this switch has a design flaw, but they they won't do a recall, because "that looks bad".

    You also should know they have "spin doctors" on all of the public sites that "pose" has owners and refute\play down any problem that occurs. I was even accused of being a Honda salesman. Very sad they they stoop to such low tactics. My dealer won't even give me a ride home, because it's too far - about 13 miles. They should bend over backwards to take care of you when your new car craps out. I have owned many different brands of cars in my life and KIA is the only brand that has failed and left me stranded, while it was "new".
  • lakerfan24lakerfan24 Posts: 24
    edited August 2012
    I'm not sure, but I know with the SX"s turbo, it will put a lot more strain on the tranny... Oh damn, forgot that EX's come in turbo and non turbo too :confuse:
  • I have a 2012 SX Turbo with 18K miles on it. While driving on interstate, I heard a noise as if a rock had hit side window. Originally thought someone had shot a BB or something since it was on the side. Later noticed that my car was indecisive as to which gear it wanted to be in. This morning when I started the engine, I noticed the engine revved more than normal (garage kept). When I put in reverse it jumped as if I had it revved to 3000 rpms. It did not get any better even when it was warmed up. I drove in manual mode the rest of the morning. When I entered my work neighborhood, I put back into auto and it seemed like it was running fine.
  • Holy crap! I have the same year and model as you do :surprise: At least now if it happens to me, I'll know to use the manual shifting :) Did you take it in to the dealer? Please let us know what happens... GL!
  • Your transmission is TOAST. Demand a replacement. It will leave you high and dry at the worst time and place.
  • I took it by the dealer and they searched for any codes. All they came up with was the auto leveling lights had a code ???. They did a quick reset of my transmission and it seems to be fine. At least I am now in the service history. My local dealership (Ted Russell)is great to work with.
  • coluccicolucci Posts: 1
    good for u bro : i live in china and my kia sportage of just 7 months and 9000 miles just blow off the defected since the first day mt6 transmission. the car dealer need 2 weeks to fixed and they dont provvide a lowner . they say they will be quicker to fix but one week has past and they still find escuses to deley the repair . if by monday i dont have or my fixed car or a substitute car i will start to upload video of the problem that i had since brand new. i will post more of these garbage advertising about the new mu kia 6mt transmission and i will post the real video of how the kia transmissions work ( cold weather impossible to select any gears) if i would still have the same problems after the repair i will sue kia and demand my whole money back since i have being cheated. these is the worst thing can happen to a new car and kia dont have clue on how to handle it. hopefully i got some good news by tomorrow becouse otherwise kia will be in more trouble that they can handle.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAPosts: 1,563
    I know this thread is old, and may be just a thread troll. With that said, here is what I think of Kia.

    20 years ago I would have never considered buying a Hyundai/Kia. I actually called the early Sonata's So-Not-A- car.

    Now, I proudly own a 2012 Kia Optima EX. After 15 months and 16,000 miles, it still feels tight as a drum, and nothing has broken. Nothing. The car drives very smoothly, better than the 2012 Accord, better than the '12 Camry, and blew away the '12 Altima*; and looks terrific doing it. I have people come up to me all the time in parking lots and especially the gas station, with one enthusiastic female actually getting in and wanting to know what all the buttons did.

    In closing, I can't imagine getting a better car with all of the feature's mine has for $24,260. (window sticker price). After negotiating, I was able to purchase it for $21,880.

    Find me another car with leather seats, dark Zebrano wood trim, 17" alloys, fog lights, dual exhaust, dual zone climate control, leather steering wheel, shift knob, armrest, door inserts, keyless entry WITH start button, bluetooth, USB, 2 power ports, and on an on.

    Then add the 100k warranty, which is bumper to bumper for 5 years and 60k. I paid another $950 to extend the full coverage, bumper to bumper, for 100,000 miles! This means that I will still have 4 years and 40,000 miles of full warranty AFTER IT"S PAID FOR!!!

    So, please, let me know if there is a better mid-size sedan deal!!!

    *** At the time of purchase, the new 13's were not out yet. I am comparing the 12 Optima to the 2012 model Camry, Altima, Mazda 6, and Accord.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • 2013 Kia Optima hybrid ex.. transmission went out at 35k mi... honestly no longer feel comfortable keeping the car now 
  • tonyg2016tonyg2016 midwest, usaPosts: 711
    still under 5 year / 60k mile B2B warranty? stuff happens...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Why? Things happen to ANY car! So if you buy something different it could have problems too!

    You should be fine!
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