Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

Tire Pressure Indicator Issue / Near Accident!

cam_digicam_digi Member Posts: 4
edited January 2014 in Kia

I wrote this complaint to KIA:

I would like to relay my displeasure with my 2013 KIA Optima EX, more so the way with which the dealership is handling a huge safety concern my wife and I have with the car.

I am a deployed service member, with a 27 week pregnant wife who is currently driving the vehicle in my absence. I bought the Optima brand new in September 2012, paying $38,511.00 and have had no issues with it until after my deployment started August 2013. Around late October, my wife noticed that the tire pressure indicator started coming on while she was driving the vehicle. No problem right? She put air in the tire. This was a seemingly normal issue – until the indicator started coming on very often, even if she put air on it. Literally, she would put air in it one day, and the next the indicator would come on again. And always for the same tire – the front right. So she took it into the Ball Kia service center in National City, San Diego (we bought the car from Ball Kia and have always taken it for routine maintenance at this location). The technicians that she dealt with “checked” the car and filled the tires up with air, returning it to her seemingly intact. She drove off the lot, no problem. About one week later, the light went off again. She took the car back in again. They did the same thing. They said it was a ‘courtesy check’ so she didn’t have to pay, but she also did not get a receipt or anything that indicated what was done on the car. She left, again. One week later, the same thing happened. This happened literally every week, and in few cases, every other week. Meanwhile I am deployed in a combat zone wondering if my wife and baby are going to be ok with this seemingly endless problem.

The service people started telling her stuff like, "it’s probably the change in weather" (San Diego can get to about late 50s, early 60s in the winter time), or “you’re probably hitting a lot of potholes when you drive so it’s letting the air out”. To be fair, these two points MAY have been valid answers, BUT we determined they are not. For one, my wife is a careful driver. More so because of the tire issues and what they were saying about potholes made her even more a careful driver. So driving carefully should have solved the problem right? Wrong. About the change in temperature, I have driven and owned vehicles in New York as well as California. This is my 4th car, and this is the first time I have had this tire pressure issue. Granted you need to put air in your tire every now and then, it has never been EVER WEEK. That is ridiculous and unbelievable. We dismissed that notion about temperature change.

Anyway, this problem continued, with us getting more and more concerned, until December 17th 2013. My wife was driving on the freeway when suddenly the tire came off the rim, making her lose control of the vehicle. She ran off the road. Luckily she was in the slow lane. Thankfully, she and the baby are all right. It’s no secret that it is not good for a 7 month pregnant woman to be under a lot of stress and trauma. I would like to see our baby when I get back, rather than have a memory of what could have been.

My wife was very very shook up after the near accident. She had to call in a tow truck and after waiting they finally came and took the car back to Ball Kia service center. We dealt with Juan Espinoza and Dante Webster who were apparently the managers assigned to take care of the issue. I placed an emergency call from the Middle East to talk to Mr. Webster myself. I told him about the ongoing, almost 2 month issue and about my wife bringing the car in every week to have it checked. He pulled up our account on his computer and he said, Sir based on the records we have here, there is no indication of your wife bringing the car in to us. Wow. Now I understand why a technician might say “oh, it’s a courtesy check...” As a customer you think, great! Free! To the contrary, you are not actually winning, as in this case.

So now we had nothing to back our claim. I asked Mr. Webster if we had to pay for this since for almost 2 months his service men told us that it was ‘good to go’. Mr. Webster said, unfortunately Sir, tires are not covered by your warranty so yes you would have to pay. May I pause here and say that I paid 10K more for this car because I bought extended power train – simply because I wanted to afford myself and my wife better peace of mind if any issues for the car were to come up. Boy was I wrong. So we ended up having to pay for the damage to the car. The tire was completely damaged and had to be replaced along with some sort of fuse apparently. My last question to Mr. Webster was “can you guarantee me, that when my wife drives off with the car today, after we pay for the damage and have had to undergo this crap, that this will not be an issue in the future?” Mr. Webster said yes. He talked about all they were doing, about checking all the tires, changing the wheel, looking into the electronic system, and said yes, you won’t have to worry about this again. Great. I reminded him that my wife is pregnant with our baby inside her and as a result, this is a HUGE safety concern for us. He said yes, he understands, it’s taken care of.

One week later, the tire pressure indicator light came on again.

My wife has yet to take the car back in. She is driving it very carefully and taking it to the gas station to put air in it very frequently.

Can something PLEASE be done about this? Part of KIA's mission is "To become a trusted lifetime partner of our customers...” and you guys are really not building my trust here at all. I have been a loyal customer thus far, but honestly, how loyal can one stay with stuff like this going on?

I would hate to be out here and get a message from my commanders that I have an emergency at home and God forbid, I lose not one, but two of my loved ones. I would sue KIA for everything I could get, but nothing I could sue for would be worth the life of my wife and baby. Please help.


  • eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209

    i seriously recommend black electrical tape over the tpms light, and to congratulate your wife for already knowing to use a real tire-pressure gauge and the gas-station-airpumps.
    (i hope she doesn't believe gas station airpump numeric readings and always checks with a real tire-pressure-gauge. and checks pressure before she leaves home, with tires cold before deciding how many psi to add to each one.)

    don't believe the numeric tpms readings either, even if they give an actual psi number. the tpms readings can be quite far from the real pressure.

    ideas for diagnosis and stopping the weekly or daily air leak:

    • either the tire/bead is defective or the wheel itself is leaking air.
    • tire-dealer/shop for the tire manufacturer should gladly fix/check/replace all tires at no charge to you, under their new-vehicle/new-tire warranty which was included with your purchase.
    • tire-shop guys will be confident in determining whether it is tire or wheel leaking air, and can show it to your wife and baby in a big "bathtub" if they want to see it.
    • if wheel(s) are leaking air, that's kia dealers job to replace for free.
    • in my experience, its relatively recent for any car dealer to do any tire service whatsoever. (they may be rookies at diagnosing tire issues, compared to tire shop.)
    • every 10 degree drop in air temp subtracts about 1 psi from tire pressure, no exception to that rule. locally this weekend temperatures are varying from -20F to +50F...
    • cam_digy, thank you for your service to USA and best wishes to you and wife and baby.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Member Posts: 2,345

    The fact that it is the same right front, even after the new tire replacement, suggests to me that there is a fault with the rim. Either a flaw from the factory, that is not holding the tire in position correctly, or a crack that is letting enough air out that the tire came off due to side forces when going around a ramp etc. Or if she has hit a pothole that has dented the rim (this is easy to do with these newer (CRAPPY) extra tall rims which mean they have to use lower and lower profile tires on them and all that does is leave the rim more prone to road impacts that back when we had good old 75 series rubber, didn't damage the rim. At 38k large, wow, there is no doubt you have the big wheels etc.

    Also though...if the tire came off, that means that there will be even more damage to the rim so that rim may be toast if not before, probably is now for sure..

    I strongly suggest having your wife go to an entirely different Kia dealer and have her ask for documentation no matter what is done or discussed. Sucks that you're not able to be around, as if there isn't enough stress associated with your work.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085

    Something seems amiss with your story. It is very basic troubleshooting to SWAP OUT the suspect item to help diagnose a problem.

    In this case, it would be TRIVIAL for the shop to move the wheels around on the vehicle. (as they would when rotating the tires.) Then see if the problem moves with the suspect wheel/tire. This would have very quickly isolated the issue and allowed the shop to determine the next step to correct the situation.

    For example, if the problem stayed with the tire/wheel after it was moved to another corner of the vehicle. They could have taken steps to correct it.

    Also, you suggest that the TIRES themselves are not covered by the manufacturers warantee... this is true - HOWEVER, the tires are instead covered by a separate tire-warantee provided by the tire-manufacturer.

    BTW: You did not mention if the tire was actually losing air... or was it just a false-reading by the TPMS. A tire that is losing air needs to be REMOVED from the wheel and inspected on the inside. This is basic tire maintenance.

  • cam_digicam_digi Member Posts: 4

    thanks Elias, great tips, well noted...

  • cam_digicam_digi Member Posts: 4

    thanks crkyolfrt, the rims are 18" I believe, and yes they are low profile. they look nice but unfortunately they are not as durable as regular profiles. excellent suggestion on going to another dealer, noted...

  • cam_digicam_digi Member Posts: 4

    thanks bpeebles. to be honest with you, regrettably, we don't know exactly what they have been doing with the tires. my wife's opinion is that they (the technicians) probably saw a seemingly unsuspecting unknowing woman who they probably thought they could probably pull the wool over her eyes. not to be sexist but i agree with her there, the possibility exists. once you drop your car in, you wait in their waiting area until they are done, and then you collect your car. unless you inquire, you do not really know what they did on your car. my wife has done an awesome job managing all this while pregnant by herself, but times like this i really wish i was there. i am a stickler for perfection, and i ask a million questions. i would want to know, what you did, what's the results, how much this will cost me and if possible i would like to be there while you do it. i honestly believe they gave her the run around and we do not know what was done to the car. lesson learnt though. re the tire actually losing air, we confirmed that it was. on one of the days that my wife put air on one day and the next the indicator came on, she checked it. she put it in at 34 the day before and the next day it came on. by the time she got to a gas station it read 20. that is very concerning. i am currently looking into this issue with KIA and i will investigate the tire warranty stuff as well.

Sign In or Register to comment.