The Kia Optima stands out among typical humdrum midsized sedans with a well-tailored coupe-like silhouette. It also comes with a generous helping of standard equipment for the price. But look past these initial draws and the Optima proves quite ordinary. Neither noise isolation nor ride comfort are stellar. This iteration of the Optima remained a good choice, but was showing its age relative to the newer-designed competition.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2011 Kia Optima has been recalled 4 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years *Redesign year
Worse Better
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01*
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05
06*
07
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11*
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16*
17
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 420,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2019 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 Kia Optima owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"HAD A NEW ENGINE AT 64000 MILES. THE NEW ENGINE HAD CONTINUAL PROBLEMS WITH THE COOLING SYSTEM"

Ray M., UT (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The engine began knocking last spring; took to dealer we purchased from. The engine was in group of engine blocks with issues, so they promptly replaced it. Then took car back multiple times to fix subsequent oil gasket and exhaust leaks"

Ruth M., MD (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Strong knocking sound coming from the lower part of the engine"

Anonymous, PA (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"It has been shop a number of times with engine problems. At one point the talked about an engine replacement. Not sure if the replaced total engine or just multiple parts"

Anonymous, AZ (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Bad connecting rod caused the engine to seize. This was covered under Kia's extended warranty for that model year"

Chad C., CO (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Sudden engine failure with no warning lights. empy of engine oil. Replaced by extended warranty"

Anonymous, OH (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Without warning the engine began making a rattling/grinding noise. The mechanic had to replace the engine with a used engine because Kia didn't make the faulty engine any longer. Now the second engine is beginning to make ticking noises"

Peg O., OH (2011 Kia Optima Unsure Unsure)
Head gasket

"HEAD GASKETS WERE REPLACED ON A NEW ENGINE WITH ONLY 14000 MILES"

Ray M., UT (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Turbo or supercharger

"Had to be replaced. Would not cover under warrantty"

Anonymous, IL (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The tech said it was something to do with the turbo exhaust. Took it in and it was fixed in less than an hour. I think it was just an adjustment"

Michael A., NV (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Warning light"

Anonymous, PA (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Smell of raw gas inside cabin, still unresolved"

Anthony C., MN (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Multiple returns to the dealer. Several misdiagnosis. Problem finally corrected"

Anonymous, VA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Fuel cap

"Can almost never get it to register full"

Jay O., NJ (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Broken cap triggered check engine light"

Anonymous, CT (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel pump

"Hi Pressure pump failed"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

"pauses during sat. radio use"

Anonymous, FL (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"Part of the electrical issue is a surge that causes the radio display to brighten and dim"

Jonathan M., SC (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Radio loses power completely several times each day, and speaker cones are broken"

Anonymous, MN (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The back-up camera failed at 65000 kms. That's way too early in its service life and the replacement cost is absolutely outrageous...$850 Canadian for the dealer to replace. Wish the car also had back-up sensors...these worked well in my previous car"

Rick E., ON (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"When using a smartphone to make or receive a call, the entire interface loses power and the call is dropped"

Anonymous, MN (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Fog light switch inoperative; was replaced twice in earlier years"

S P., VA (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced interior dome light panel"

Anonymous, WV (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"There are times when the trunk will not open using the key fob and it must be opened from inside the car"

Anonymous, IL (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
USB port

"Does not work with any Iphone...Why put it there"

Jay O., NJ (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seats

"The switch for turning on the passenger heated/ventilated seat needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, NC (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"Shocks required replacing due to poor performance"

Jon S., WA (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"Wheel bearing, right front, failed st approximately 84000 miles. Left front bearing is starting to become noisy at 90000 miles"

Anonymous, IN (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Rubber steering coupler failed causing loud steering noise and vibration. Had coupler replaced"

Craig B., CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tie rods

"Both left and right front 'axles' needs to be replaced at $500 a pop. Mechanic said this should not happen at 50,000 miles and contact Kia. Kia dealership said no recall. Will not buy another Kia"

Mark M., CT (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I expected these to last much longer than the service they provided. The tie rods had to be replaced at 60000 kms. and the trailing arms replaced at 35,000 kms. Seems to be poorly lubricated joints at the factory (this unit is Korean built)"

Rick E., ON (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Transmission would shift roughly on upshifts and downshifts"

Craig B., CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"VERY HARD shifting, repaired with a software update"

Larry P., IL (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The car always shifts rough from 1st to 2nd gear. Repair shop said this was typical of Kia Optimas"

Anonymous, OH (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

"Computer was rweprogrammed to repair rough shifting"

Craig B., CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"It broken during the first 60,000 miles. Should have been covered by warranty but our repair guy did not mention it. We had to pay $1100 to fix the air conditioning system"

Anonymous, VA (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Compressor operation was intermitant. Kia relpaced it under warranty and i works fine now"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Refrigerant leaks

"I've had multiple refrigerant leaks, a compressor failure, and a control valve failure. Now the blower is making noise. I also have a persistent electrical bug that two dealers can't find, and that may be directly related to some of the A/C issues"

Jonathan M., SC (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"front bumper rubber,kept loosening and had to be replaced"

William S., NY (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"trim piece on front grill kept falling off. Poor design - kept bumping cement stops in parking lots. Kia was supposed to call after the fourth time we had it in to the dealer but we have not had any response"

P S., VA (2011 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"paint in general does not hold up. easily scratched"

Anonymous, WV (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

"Door sensor issue - the "open door" light stays on. Told it would require the entire door to be taken off and repaired from inside the door. This wouldn't be covered by warranty so we've had to live with it"

Linda A., NC (2011 Kia Optima LX Unsure)
Locks and latches

"RR door latch stopped working from the inside"

Robert R., FL (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"electrical problems with switch. had to take it to dealers four (4) different times before it was fixed (or at least we haven't had problems with it since)"

P S., VA (2011 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

"The clutch quit working and we were 30 miles from home. We called a tow truck and took the car to a local repair shop. The transmission had to be removed to fix the problem. It cost $900 to repair"

Anonymous, OH (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"transmission failed a computer analysis yet do not remember the specific problems warranting a full replacement of the transmission"

William B., AZ (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"Dash speaks and rattles and pacemakers can't or will not help. kia CA is giving me the run around"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The problem started after a repair to Nav system. KIA unable and unwilling to fix"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Took several trips to dealer to resolve, but finally temp sensor replaced"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Extreme cold caused a turbo charger waste gate problem greatly degrading engine performance. A program change was needed to correct"

Samuel Z., NJ (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

"Needed new brakes"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Compare 2011 Models

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:HOSES, LINES/PIPING, AND FITTINGS
Dec 19 2018
A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source can increase the risk of a fire.
Summary:
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2011-2017 Optima, 2012-2017 Sorento and 2011-2018 Sportage vehicles that previously received an engine replacement under recall number 17V-224, warranty, or the Knock Sensor Detection System (KSDS) Product Improvement Campaign. The high pressure fuel pipe that connects to the fuel pump outlet may have been damaged, misaligned or improperly torqued during the engine replacement procedure, possibly causing a fuel leak.
What should you do:
Kia has notified owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the fuel pipe, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began January 17, 2019. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC172.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 18V907000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 71653
AIR BAGS: AIR BAG CONTROL MODULE
Jun 01 2018
If the frontal air bags and seat belt pretensioners are disabled, there is an increased risk of injury to the vehicle occupants in the event of a vehicle crash that necessitates deployment of these safety systems.
Summary:
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2010-2013 Kia Forte, Forte Koup, 2011-2013 Kia Optima and 2011-2012 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona vehicles. In the event of a crash, the air bag control unit (ACU) may short circuit, preventing the frontal air bags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying.
What should you do:
Kia will notify owners. For model year 2011 Sedona vehicles, Kia will instruct dealers to verify the ACU part number and, if necessary, install an extension wire harness kit between the ACU Connector and the Vehicle Harness Connector. For all other affected vehicles, Kia will instruct dealers to install the extension wire harness kit. The recall began September 28, 2018. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC165.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 18V363000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 507587
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING:ENGINE
Mar 31 2017
Bearing wear may result in the engine seizing, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Kia Motor Company (Kia) is recalling certain 2011-2014 Optima, 2012-2014 Sorento and 2011-2013 Sportage vehicles. Machining errors during the engine manufacturing process may cause premature bearing wear within the engine.
What should you do:
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the engine assembly, and replace the engine if necessary, free of charge. The recall began June 20, 2017. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC147.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 17V224000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 618160
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:SWITCHES:BRAKE LIGHT
Apr 01 2013
Failure to illuminate the stop lamps during braking or inability to disengage the cruise control could increase the risk of a crash. Additionally, when the ignition is in the 'ON' position, the transmission shifter may be able to be moved out of PARK without first applying the brake. This may lead to unintentional movement of the car which may increase the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Kia Motors Corporation (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2007-2010 Rondo, model year 2007-2011 Sedona, Sorento and Sportage, model year 2010-2011 Soul, model year 2008-2011 Optima, model year 2010 Forte, model year 2007-2009 Amanti, and model year 2009 Borrego vehicles. Originally, in April 2013, Kia recalled 623,658 model year 2007-2010 Rondo and Sportage, model year 2007-2011 Sorento, model year 2007 Sedona, model year 2010-2011 Soul, and model year 2011 Optima vehicles. In September 2013, Kia informed the agency that it was adding an additional 356,719 vehicles to this campaign. The total number of vehicles being recalled is now 980,377. In the affected vehicles, the stop lamp switch may malfunction. A malfunctioning stop lamp switch may cause the brake lights to not illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed or may cause an inability to deactivate the cruise control by depressing the brake pedal. Additionally, a malfunctioning stop lamp switch may also result in intermittent operation of the push-button start feature, affect the operation of the brake-transmission shift interlock feature preventing the shifter from being moved out of the PARK position and cause the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) malfunction light to illuminate.
What should you do:
Kia will send an interim notification to owners in May 2013. When parts are available, owners will receive a second notification and dealers will replace the stop lamp switch, free of charge. Owners may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's recall campaign number is SC098.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 13V114000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 980377
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