2018 Kia Optima Problems and Complaints


Ranked #13 in Midsize Sedan

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2018 Kia Optima Sedan Problems, Issues, Complaints, Recalls, and Which Year to Avoid

Updated on: May 4, 2022

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

The Kia Optima is a popular name in the affordable midsize car segment. It has got enough features and ratings to make it float around the mid rankings, while not being too expensive for people to buy. The adult-friendly seats and easy-to-use infotainment system please most, add to that the number of features it provides, the vehicle is a nice deal for all. Though the vehicle is far from perfect, with 1 recall, one open investigation on faulty airbags, and a total of 69 complaints made officially. Most common issues revolve around the headlights, how they would without any action randomly switch off. The other was the engine giving a lot of problems of different kinds to different users. How does it fair compared to the likes of the Ford Fusion, the Chevrolet Malibu, and the Buick Regal? Let’s find out.

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2018 Kia Optima User Complaints and Problems

Mechanical Problems

  • Engine gives various kinds of problems -. The 2018 Optima engine problems are always varied but always end up with the user paying heavily for it. Almost in all cases, the engine would stall and lose power. For one user, it was the engine overheating repeatedly and was declared by the dealership as engine failure. For another, it was when they noticed the engine guzzling a refill of oil in just one week, in this case as well it was declared as “engine failure”. But the most bizarre of them all was the engine losing power in intervals causing great distress to the users. As of now, there has been no long-lasting solution or help from KIA.
  • Transmission hesitating- A couple of users feel like the transmission is hesitant in shifting gears. One dealership did provide a vague explanation for it being a “software bug”.
  • Vehicle making noise while accelerating -  Two users complained that the vehicle was making noises when it was accelerating, the cause is yet to be determined by anyone.

Electrical Problems

  • Headlights switching off on their own - The Kia Optima headlight issue was the most persistent and common one for a lot of users. The headlights would switch off either without any instigation or when the turn signals were switched on. Subsequently, the headlights were kept on “automatic” and when the issue would arise, the automation would switch off without any action. Dealership thinks it’s a computer malfunction, but no further detail is available as of now.
  • Annoying warning sounds for no reason- For some users, the vehicle would give out warning sounds, even when the occupants were complying. Such as the seatbelt warning sound and the door ajar warning sounds. No solutions were provided.

Safety Problems

  • Airbags failed to deploy - Some users have stated that during the event of an accident, the airbag failed to deploy. In all cases, there were some form of injuries, though fortunately no deaths were reported. This might be linked to an issue the NHTSA is investigating, you can find out more using the NHTSA ID: EA19001

Recalls for the 2018 Kia Optima

S. No



Issues Noticed

Additional remarks.



8th March 2018


Voltage Protection device might activate prematurely.

The VPD might activate while the vehicle is in operation in the EV mode which would result in the loss of power and possibly lead to a crash.

The dealership will remove the old VPD and install two newly designed Battery Management Systems (BMS) that contain improvised Overvoltage Protection Devices (OPDs), free of charge.

Should you buy the 2018 Kia Optima

The 2018 Optima gives you the bang for your buck, providing you with a lot of features for the price range. Not to mention the roomy cargo room and excellent safety ratings. The vehicle is not without problems, but no vehicle is not without them. But as a safety, always check the car you are about to purchase. Make sure, especially, that the electrical connections for the sensors and headlight are alright and that the engine is okay, a quick glance will do the job. The 2018 Ford Fusion would be the next best alternative.

Important 2018 Kia Optima Links:

Used Kia Optima For Sale

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Sacramento, CA

2017 Kia Optima LX

LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $158/mo
Excellent Deal
$3,761 Below market
RMV: $15,429
Listed On 11 Jun 2022 (235 Days)
Lake Worth, FL

2019 Kia Optima LX

LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $158/mo
Excellent Deal
$3,749 Below market
RMV: $15,440
Listed On 01 Nov 2022 (92 Days)
Price Drop, $300
Earlier Price: $11298
26 Dec 2022
Inglewood, CA

2018 Kia Optima LX

LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $149/mo
Excellent Deal
$3,469 Below market
RMV: $14,467
Listed On 14 Oct 2022 (110 Days)
West Palm Beach, FL

2019 Kia Optima LX

LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $200/mo
Excellent Deal
$4,657 Below market
RMV: $19,445
Listed On 12 Aug 2022 (173 Days)
Richmond Hill, NY

2019 Kia Optima SX

SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Est. $271/mo
Excellent Deal
$6,287 Below market
RMV: $26,267
Listed On 11 Jun 2022 (235 Days)
Price Drop, $550
Earlier Price: $12992
12 Oct 2022
Dallas, TX

2017 Kia Optima EX

EX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $168/mo
Excellent Deal
$3,843 Below market
RMV: $16,285
Listed On 14 Jul 2022 (202 Days)
Dallas, TX

2018 Kia Optima LX

LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $190/mo
Excellent Deal
$4,272 Below market
RMV: $18,271
Listed On 02 Jan 2023 (30 Days)
Price Drop, $500
Earlier Price: $15000
20 Oct 2022
Little Rock, AR

2019 Kia Optima S

S 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $196/mo
Excellent Deal
$4,411 Below market
RMV: $18,911
Listed On 17 Jul 2022 (199 Days)
Price Drop, $454
Earlier Price: $11444
29 Dec 2022
Midland, MI

2018 Kia Optima LX

LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Est. $149/mo
Excellent Deal
$3,321 Below market
RMV: $14,311
Listed On 13 Jul 2022 (203 Days)

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