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Kia Optima 2006 and earlier



  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    I bought the 2003 Sonata shop manual shortly after buying my car - I figure, rightly or wrongly, that I can recoup most if not all it's $60.00+ purchase price off eBay when I trade in a couple of more years. You'll need a new gasket to seal the junction between the purge tank runner end and the intake manifold to which it's bolted. I wasn't aware the KIA Sephia had a V6 option - but that's because I'm not familiar with that model anyway. The engine in the prior generation Optima is the Hyundai "Delta" 2.7L all aluminum V6. I have no idea about the difficulty in changing out the Sonata/Optima's V6 engine timing belt, though from perusing the shop manual, I suspect it's not a fun way to spend a weekend. I do know that the water pump's mounted behind the engine front cover and driven off the timing belt's smooth side. When it's time to change the timing belt, you'd be well advised to consider prophylacticaly changing out the water pump as insurance while you have everything apart. Whatever you have to do to change the timing belt will have to be repeated if the water pump needs to be replaced before the next scheduled timing belt change. Several independent techs I've spoken with also say it's a good idea to change out the timing belt's auto-tensioner while everything's laid bare, too.

    By the way, you can log onto KIA TechInfo, register and view a good portion of your model year Optima's shop manual for FREE :). You'll need Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.
  • buddygleebuddyglee Posts: 44
    Thank you. Good to know about the water pump. Living in the desert it is always a good Idea to replace if you are there anyways. I will check on the idler. i don't know if the Sephia has the v6, it was just the only KIA book in the shop. I passed on it though. I have spent the last couple of months (Off and On) under the hood of a 96 buick skylark changing timing components to no avail (Valves bent I believe) Not a lot of room to work with on a front wheel drive. I will check out the KIA TechInfo for the info they have. Your help has been invaluable. Thank You.
  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    I have a 2004 Optima 4 banger, runs fine not great
    pings like crazy with reg fuel, not great gas mileage
    in town for its size. I also discovered since new the following:

    At 60MPH or more the left ft side has a whining noise
    sort of like a wheel bearing.

    At times when the wheel turns to the extreme left or almost extreme you hear a noise as if its a bad cv joint.
    The dealer said it was some bolts in the ft end that were loose. I am over 50 and know what a cv joint sounds like
    when it goes bad. My mechanic said sometimes the grease is
    not packed and you can get a noise as if it is old but its just dry.

    Also when I first purchased it the smell from the vents after you turned off the AC was really bad like a public toilet? DO you think that there is someone trapped inside?

    Any of you experienced the cv noise? or the whining at high speeds how about the ping in the motor

    My friends have the identical 2004 EX's and dont have the noises. The dealer said to wait I said untilt he warranty runs out?

    Thanks :shades:
  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    What is your experience with Service Departments
    as for the sales they were and continue to be great people.
    I am on the east coast most of these dealers really are not hot on the Kia product.

    Service leaves a lot to be desired :( I really like the car and
    want to get the new Amanti or Azera but if service cannot fix a ft end problem that will cost a bundle when it goes bad and out of warranty what can you do?

    Anyone tried Amsoil syn in the engine? I have ran it since
    the 2nd oil change at 7500 miles really good stuff.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Your two posts suggest your selling dealer has morons running the service department and/or they flatout do not wish to bother themselves with warranty work. (The best warranty in the world is no better than the dealerships' willingness to perform legitimate warranty claims.) I have an '03 Sonata - same car, but different wrinkles in the front and rear end sheet metal. Mine has the 2.7L V6. No pinging, no weird noises from the wheel bearings or CVJs. Highway fuel consumption (70 mph with A/C on) consistently 30 mpg or slightly above over level terrain. The only warranty work I've had done since buying the car in early Dec. '02 was replacement of the overhead domelight switch due to an intermittant contact defect. I'm not trying to make you feel bad - merely pointing out that these cars are reasonably well engineered and will run right if serviced properly. I suppose I needn't inquire whether there are other KIA dealerships within reasonable driving distance for you, right? (If there are, run, don't walk - you're under no obligation to have routine or warranty service performed by your selling dealer.)

    As for routine motor oil service, I run Phillips TropArtic 10W-30 "Premium Synthetic Blend" (their description, not mine) I picked up at Dollar Tree. I figure while the car's under its 10 yr./100,000 mile powertrain warranty, the numbers just don't work running a premium full synthetic like Amsoil. Hyundai, to my knowledge, (and presumably KIA, too) don't recognize the extended oil change potential of full synthetic formulations. Even the lowest denominator conventional motor oils are capable of engine longevity in excess of 300,000 miles these days if changed out at 5,000 mile intervals along with a filter change. Five quarts of my TropArtic stash (84 quarts after I cleaned out three Dollar Tree stores...) and one of the two-buck Castrol 3985 (WIX) oversized oil filters I bought twenty-four of on clearance at K-mart when they discontinued them, is the best bang I've found for my seven-buck oil changes.
  • asumnerasumner Posts: 1
    ACCELERATION LOSSI purchased a used 2003 kia optima - 6 cyl. in 2004. My son drives it to and from college. During numerous trips the car has been driving along at 65-70 mile per hour and then out of no where it losses acceleration down to about 45 miles per hour. This usually happens in freeway traffic (very dangerous)and when the car has been driven for 3+ hours and with an elevation change from about 5200' to approx 1200' and vice versa. Recently it started the same thing in local driving. The car must be stopped completely and turned off before it will accelerate beyond 45 again. Over the last year i have taken it to 3 different kia dealerships, the first one put in a new transmission, the second one drove it for 20 minutes, stuck it on the computer and found nothing and told me to come and pick it up and the third one - where i purchased it, also cannot find anything wrong with it, the last time this happened, the service guy said he blew out the fuel sensor and recalibrated it to see if that was the problem (didn't fix it). A man who was a kia field engineer told me that this was a known problem and its one of three different problems, but the service department won't do anything unless the problem will show up on the computer. I am at my wits end and its time for my son to return to college in a car that can drop acceleration at any time and i am very worried that on interstate 10 through Arizona he will be involved in an accident due to this loss of acceleration. Does anyone know anything that may be the problem or have you experienced this problem?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    REPLACE the fuel filler cap with a brand new one FROM A KIA OR HYUNDAI DEALER'S PARTS DEPARTMENT* and see if that solves the mysterious power loss problem. A failed or incorrect gas cap can cause just the kind of problems you described and Hyundai had several TSBs out to that effect for model year 2003. The previous owner may've replaced the original with an incorrect one. (Just 'cause the threads are the same doesn't guarentee the caps "hold" at the right pressure and vacuum specs.) Additionally, instruct Jr. NOT to top off the gas tank once the pump clicks off. (That was repeatedly mentioned in those TSBs.) When reinstalling the fuel filler cap, turn it past its apparent stop point until several "clicks" are heard - don't worry, it's just an overrun clutch; you're not stripping the threads.

    *Your '03 KIA Optima is bolt-for-bolt a Hyundai Sonata except for the outer front and rear sheetmetal, grillwork, bumper facades, and cabin upholstery. I own an '03 Hyundai Sonata with the 2.7L V6 engine.
  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    My Kia Optima 04

    First thanks Ray_h1 for your advice on the oil changes and
    wasting money. ;) I do want all of the 04 owners to be aware of my case. :D I brought it to another dealer who took the time
    and was reliable. They found slight leaks in the trans area
    which had them believe it was tran axle trouble. This would account for the rough vibrations I felt on the steering wheel after many wheel balances, for two years. The whining noise left front side at higher speeds, also could have been caused by the trans axle according to the dealer.
    They also found the headlamps with a covering almost like a dirt or grime which should have not occurred since the lamps are almost sealed. The bulb inside the lamp. This will be warranty also. One mechanic said the axle was the third he'd
    seen on the 04's. SO if any of you are running close to the
    60K on your Kia get t checked. However they did give me
    a new rental car for the time being. With parts it will take about 6 to 7 days :sick: to get it repaired. Thats a bummer since
    they stock nearly nothing. :confuse:
    I will keep the forum abreast of progress, anyone have a place to buy good horn replacements. Factory horns have no boldness in traffic. ? I just hope my car is not a :lemon:
  • yossiefhyossiefh Posts: 1
    hey I'm new to this forum.
    I recently bought a 2001 Optima. It has 120k miles. The car runs great. No acceleration problems or anything. However, when the car is in "park", there is a slight tapping sound coming from inside the engine. All the mechanics have said that it's either the timing belt or a loose pulley for the timing belt. All and all, it will cost me about $550 for the belt and water pump. Should I get it done or drive it untill it dies?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Good question. Are these KIA dealership or independent mechanics? The reason I ask is that Hyundai (and presumably KIA) issued a TSB about a "knocking" sound at idle. It turned out that the knocking was a harmless resonance noise when certain aftermaket oil filters were used - Fram comes to mind. Hyundai's TSB "fix" was to change the oil and install a genuine Hyundai oil filter. I'm not sure how many independent mechanics are aware of that TSB campaign. However, if that's not the issue, be aware that Hyundai/KIA recommend timing belt replacement at 60,000 mile intervals. If the belt breaks in service, there is real risk of severe engine damage from moving pistons striking HARD against stationary open valves. If you drive it until it dies, it's very possible you'd be looking at the outlay for a new or refurbished engine block if a connecting rod with lotsa kinetic energy and no where else to go punches through. You relayed no information about the previous service history on the car you bought recently, so I have no idea whether the car's on its second belt or even whether the original belt was ever replaced. (Yeah, there really are some morons who drive a timing belt well past its mean time between failure and manage to get away with it, literally leaving the next owner the opportunity to pick up the pieces...) $550.00 is no small chunk of change, but a rebuild engine would run well over ten times that figure. If I were in your shoes, I'd play it safe. If the fixit cost doesn't include a new autotensioner, have the shop add that in, too.
  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    This is Capt4 back with the update on the front end

    1st and foremost the dealer did everything to make me a happy customer. This was the first time they encountered
    this and had to get a " special tool from Kia to put in the new transaxle seals. They had light leakage at 45K

    This should be a must check for all Optima 04 customers
    Take it to Kia now for warranty.....

    We are also working on the wheel bearing noise
    and for the ethynol folks

    Kia will look to make you happy I am very satisfied
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134

    Geeze, Louise - wherever did you get that claptrap? Certainly not from your owner's manual. FACT: All Hyundai engines sold for use in the U.S. are designed to perform reliably over their intended service life on ethanol blends up to 10% by volume. (Methanol is a whole 'nothah mattah, though - very corrosive to rubber and plastic fuel system components at any treat rate.) While ethanol will result in a modest fuel economy hit, it's also a natural octane booster since ethanol burns slower than gasoline. Ethanol is also less, not more, volatile than gasoline. ;) My '03 Sonata 2.7L V6 4-sp automatic returns over 30 mpg at 70 mph with the A/C dialed into Full Arctic Blizzard mode on California's mandated 10% methanol blend unleaded regular which puts it right at or above what other Sonata 2.7L V6 owners have reported. You'll have a difficult time proving that I'm losing any significant fuel economy. :P
  • The dealership wants $600+/- to replace the gasket under the "snout" thru which outside air enters the A/C system of my 2002 Optima. The gasket has deteriorated, and water is leaking into the passenger side of the interior. The techs say it must be repaired or the standing water on the floor of the car will cause rust or cause the electrical system to short out or destroy the car's computer. Anyone else had this problem?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    I have a 2003 Hyundai Sonata - same car except for badging, front and rear styling, and upholstery fabric and tailoring differences. If you have fewer than 60,000 miles on your car and registered it under your name for first use less than five years ago, you just might have a warranty claim. If so, at the very least, I'd contact KIA U.S. for an opinion. You'd also have the legal route if you care to pursue it. No automaker warrants normal "consummables" (those items expected to deteriorate/fail in regular service) such as brake pads, spark plugs, belts, hoses beyond the first year, but a case might be made that a sealing gasket to prevent condensation water intrusion in the A/C system might not rightfully be considered a normal consummable. Before going the lawyer route, you also have the right to enter arbitration through the BBB. Their finding is binding on KIA, but not you - you could still go the legal route if the BBB's arbitrator rules against you. The service is free for the car owner (you). Contact your nearest Better Business Bureau for info about getting a claims form. (All this is also spelled out in the warranty supplement booklet required to be provided by all automakers doing business in the U.S. If you live in the U.S., that booklet would've been packed in the document folder placed in the glove compartment prior to delivery. Best of luck.
  • If you buy a fram oil filter, get the better one. The low priced fram is so crappy they should void the car warranty.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    There's been a lot written about Frams on the internet. While I'm not particularly impressed with the construction of entry-level products from Fram, they do work despite unsubstantiated rumors of poor quality control. I'd say they're the best $1.39 oil filter I've ever come across that sell for $2.79 at discount... What I have been favorably impressed with at a very reasonable price are WalMart's "SuperTech" line of synthetic blend filtration media oil filters that sell for $2.07 nationally. These are made by Champion Labs (no relation to Champion Sparkplug Company). Now that GM spin-off supplier Delphi is on the rocks, most current AC oil filter production has been assigned to Champion Labs. The SuperTech filter for current Hyundai and KIA applications that take a spin-on design is the 3593A. (That's a Fram number, but the SuperTechs are NOT made by Fram.)
  • Hello all, I'm new to this forum, and I'm considering an 05 or 06 Hyundai Sonata, or Kia Optima.(used) I need a family vehicle to last for around 3+ years. In my area, there is approximately a $1000 difference for an Optima(cheaper)

    What about the warranties? I talked to a Kia dealer today, and he said the 5/60 bumper to bumper does transer, but the 100k powertrain doesn't on Kia.

    Oh, and when I say maintenance and problems, I am really good on oil changes every 3000 miles and that's about it. I really don't like to do other things, but I get around to it every once in a while. I don't like dealers, so can an independent work on these things?

  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    I own an '03 Sonata V6. Hyundai's 100K powertrain doesn't transfer to subsequent owners either. What remains of the 5/60 warranty on either make will NOT be jeoparized if you or an independent shop does your car's routine servicing. A federal law, the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975, protects consumers from being held hostage by automaker or dealership abuses while under warranty. (Look it up on the FTC's website.) You do have the responsibility to log what you've done and when, and keep materials receipts for lubes and routine replacement parts in the event you have to submit a powertrain warranty claim if less than 60K miles. I keep a medium size spiral-bound tablet with my hand-written logs in the glove compartment along with a string-tied plastic folder with my receipts. Like you, I'm also a throwback to the glory days when 3,000 mile oil and filter change common sense ruled. I still have trouble believing that allowing contaminants and oil breakdown byproducts (acids, varnish, and sludge precursors) to accumulate for 7,500 miles won't hurt anything in the long run. If you have an independent shop do your routine servicing, that's fine, too. Just keep the receipts and make sure they indicate what was done and what was used.

    (One final note: if you purchase a new or late model Hyundai or KIA, pay particular attention to automatic transmission fluid if you wish to top up or flush. These vehicles require a Mitsubishi spec ATF: "SP III". Unfortunately, Mitsubishi has not licensed the formula for blending and distribution through common retail channels. The only retail sources for SP III ATF are Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and KIA dealership parts departments. [Actual automaker brand is irrelevant as long as "SP III" appears on the label.] Substituting commonly available "Dexron III" or so-called "universal" ATFs is an invitation to a $2,500.00+ rebuild that will not be covered under warranty. This is the only critical fluid I'm aware of for these vehicles. For other fluids and lubes, use whatever you're currently satisfied with.)
  • It looks like my problem is being solved for me. I looked on edmunds price guide and it appears as if there is a $3000 rebate for the 06 Optima which puts it in the 14k range, but then when you go to incentives it only lists a much lower rebate, maybe a 1000, which means both the optima and sonata end up in the 17k to 18k range. I don't think I'm spending that much on a new Korean. I think I'd rather buy a used Korean with maybe 10k miles for 11k. Huge discount, and still get an 05, 06.
  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    Hi Ray

    I have watched you posts and appreciate you knowledge
    which borders on either a mechanic, car buff or even
    a Kia - Hyundai plant. I know dont get in a huff you
    last told us that the Ethanol i posted was not true
    Unfortunately, two national newspapers wrote about this
    after I posted, having said that , you are at least offering
    a good free service to those of us who may or may not service or know how to service a car.

    I would like to update all on the ft end story in another post

  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    This is my latest post for this issue :D

    I made at least 5 trips to the dealer sometimes they felt
    and heard the sound. Other times they could not, thanks to
    a very knowledgeable, Kia Tech he found the TSB from Kia
    and claimed its an unofficial / official problem on 04's and maybe some 05's :confuse:

    Its either the right or left front strut housing clamps?
    Top? bolts ? whatever but they finally replaced it and so far the noise and sound ( like a broken motor mount has gone
    away) GET THIS DONE before you hit 60 K miles or you pay for this. :sick:

    They will also replace the bulbs which is caked
    with mud from not being sealed on the low beam bulbs
    Warranty before 60K again. All in all Kia is striving to
    become a Korean Lexus customer service dealer. Know that
    Kia is seriously looking for customers satisfied. If you
    find you are not happy with the dealer try another one :blush:

    They will bombard you with customer surveys, as to how you wee treated. My dealer is absolutely great. They have
    done it all to make me a happy camper.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    )) "...either a mechanic, car buff or even a Kia - Hyundai plant..." ((

    Not a KIA/Hyundai plant - retired optometrist, more or less car buff, and amateur internet gadfly. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
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  • This "popping sound" comes and goes. If I hear it at all it is at 40 MHP+. I have turned off the A/C, radio and have noticed the sound go away after awhile (sometimes). Of course when I take it in the sound never appears. There is not decrease in power or acceleration. I have checked under the hood and nothing is loose, in fact the engine is still clean. Have been changing the oil every 3K miles. Change air filter once (18K miles on the the car). If anyone has run across this sound please 'steer' me in the right direction.

    Thanks - terry
  • pj42pj42 Posts: 1
    I have a 04 Optima and I can't find anything I want. I want to replace the grile, but all I can find is an insert for the skirting. I need to find a replacement door for the dirver side rear, but the best I find is a hood or fender. So what's up? Is there one great kia store?
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    My God! After reading these horror stories,it really makes me wonder why I bought a new KIa,I should have read these posts before I bought it,Perhaps they have worked the bugs out.I can only hope. :lemon:
  • So far it has been reliable and I hate to say, better than my old domestics. In terms of everything not falling apart, my Optima has been doing wonderful! I have an '04 Optima and it has over 41,000 miles and have yet to replace anything- even the tires or brakes. I am very pleased to own such a reliable car. Before this one I had an '03 Chevy Cavalier: trunk latch broke and rear passenger window would roll down and get stuck on a manual window! I have to admit the Cavalier was good in gas and was a decent drive, but nowhere as good as the Optima. I agree with most professional critics when they say that my Kia is comparable to Japanese quality of about 10 years ago, I agree and think that Japanese quality was at its peak at that time, too! My wife and I have decided to keep our Kia due to horrible resale and the fact it's more cost-efficient not to have a monthly payment when it is paid off. Everyone has their own story and every driver treats their car differently- I happen to treat my car pretty well and it gets good gas mileage- approx. 25 MPG mixed and as high as 32.5 MPG highway (65 MPH on cruise). So be your own judge and be honest when you post on any site. I believe Kia has more potential and someday will be more of a major automotive player.
  • capt4capt4 Posts: 32
    I noticed that the New Kia minivans have the new colors
    However if you were to trade up from an 04 to an 07
    Optima or Amanti there is the old Japanese colors of yesteryear. :confuse:

    The Toyota and Nissan folks have manage to
    not only capture the GM and Ford market but they found the
    success is in new inovative colors. ;)

    I am sorry I missed the Kia chat, if anyone in Kia reads these posts get with it
    Time for new colors ! Red Grey and Silver? so 80's :P

    Now 55K miles and the power steering pump is gone?
    The Water pump @ 51K Two Shock mounts at 51K and we have the same old noises? :lemon:

    I said from the beginning its a front
    end issue or the shocks suck I think the shocks are cheaper
    than that. :sick:

    I am almost our of the 5 yr 60K warranty love the car
    but I see things coming quickly I hope this car holds up
    Dealer techs are great but no one can get the problem
    for many visits. I would hate to have to change to
    anothe brand I like the car.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    A couple of weeks ago we had Kia Marketing VP Ian Beavis in for a chat with members and guests. Click here to read the transcript. Enjoy!
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