Anyone hear of Kia's "characteristic of the vehicle" to get out of warranty work

tseverson1tseverson1 Member Posts: 13
edited February 2016 in Kia
Brief history: My Kia dealership has been attempting to fix my radio since I purchased a 2013 Kia Optima EX at the end of December 2012. I usually listen to FM talk public radio stations and I often hear a high pitched screech in the background. The screech is most apparent anytime there is a pause in a discussion. When no one is talking there is no silent pause. Instead of silence I hear the high pitch screech coming out of the speakers. The screech is limited to only FM stations.

I have been driving 2 cars for the past 3 years and used the Optima EX for long trips. I am now a single car owner (only the Optima EX) and hear the screech too often.

Kia has replaced the radio (in 2013) and recently added a second ground for the radio (in July, 2015). The screech is still present.

Last week I talked individually to both the service manager and the dealership manager and they brought up a phrase I have never heard before “characteristic of the vehicle”. I was told if my Kia screech is a unique experience NOT found in other Optimas like mine, then Kia will fix my problem under warranty. However, if Kia (the company) finds a number of similar screech experiences in a number of Optimas like mine and also deems these experiences as “a characteristic of the vehicle”, Kia will not fix my problem under warranty. The dealership manager told me they were going to investigate if my problem was “a characteristic of the vehicle”.

Does anyone on the board heard of this “characteristic of the vehicle” concept?

Thanks for viewing this post and any input from this board is appreciated.


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    If it's a “characteristic of the vehicle”, all 2013 Optima's would screech. And if there was nothing wrong, why did Kia replace one radio and recently try to fix it again?
  • tnflashtnflash Member Posts: 1
    I don';t know about their weird warranty dodges but they need to put a helicoil in line on the power supply to the radio. Its simply a coil of wire around a metal center. It eliminates stray out of phase current going to the radio that creates back ground noise. It is especially helpful when your plugs do not have inline resistors.
  • haggardhaggard Member Posts: 92
    Kia warranty, Kia corporate and Kia dealers = Lies and the lying liars who tell them. Always need a scalding hot shower after dealing with Kia.
  • tseverson1tseverson1 Member Posts: 13
    My FM radio squeal started when I purchased my Optima (in late 2012) and now (in 2016) Kia has declared the squeal is “normal” and “there is nothing we can do.” I listen to my local FM public radio “talk” station and I hear the squeal during one-to-one interviews (e.g. National Public Radio “Fresh Air” program host by Terry Gross)

    My Kia Optima EX has both the EX Premium Package (with an Infinity Audio System) and the EX/SX Technology Package with Navigation System (this replaces UVO Infotainment System and HD Radio Technology).

    There could be other owners of a 2013 Optima EX with the same options as I have experiencing the same squeal as I do. If you own such a vehicle (i.e. both the EX premium Package and the Technology Package), tune into your local public FM radio talk station and listen to an interview. The squeal is most apparent when there is a pause in the interview. When I am driving and have normal highway/road noise, I usually turn my radio volume level to 18 or 19 (out of a maximum 35) and I hear the squeal. When I am driving on local streets with little road noise or I stop at a stop sign, I can hear the squeal at volume levels of 13 or 14.

    If you have an Optima similar to mine, give the talk radio interview program a try and post your result here. I would not be surprised if 2014 or even 2015 Optimas equipped like mine also produced a squeal when listening to FM talk radio stations (I have not tested any 2014 or 2015 Optimas yet).

    Many owners of Optimas like mine could have the squeal because I recently sat in six 2013 Optimas like my Kia (at 3 different Kia dealerships) and five of the six Optimas had the squeal (when I dialed in a FM public radio station). A couple of Kia salesmen also heard the squeal and thought the squeal was caused by the broadcasting radio station (not true). I will add the squeal does not immediately appear when the FM station is initially turned on. It takes perhaps 30 to 50 seconds to let the radio warm up before the squeal starts. When the squeal starts, it remains in the background. My quick test is to turn the volume up to the upper 20's and down again listening carefully for a squeal in the background,

    I took my Optima EX to my auto mechanic and (after a few hours) he told me the squeal was coming from the amplifier. He told me I had Infinity speakers but a JBL amplifier. Does anyone know of a decent amplifier as a candidate to replace the JBL amplifier?

    Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.

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  • cmhj2000cmhj2000 Member Posts: 381
    Had similar problems when I owned a Kia, never again,
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