Car Problem Reports

Kia Optima Software Update Available to Correct Transmission Issues

Kia Optima Problem
95 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Average Mileage: 51,104 mi (8,988 mi - 198,560 mi)


Reprogramming the transmission control module with the latest Kia transmission software may fix abnormalities in the automatic transmission and erroneous transmission-related Check Engine Light illumination. Software updates are commonly most effective on newer vehicles. Higher mileage vehicles may exhibit a similar symptom caused by a component failure. However, whenever major transmission repairs are performed the transmission software should be checked and updated as necessary.

  •  Rookie

    I have the same issue with the downshift being jerky. Dealer keeps telling me that they can't duplicate the problem and that there is nothing wrong with it. It also matches everyone's complaint of occurring around 22mph. I contacted KIA and discussed my frustration with them and they told me that they have never heard of this issue before. I say BS, they need to issue a recall! I am considering contacting an attorney to file a class action lawsuit! I drive my child around in my vehicle only to find out that this issue can actually cause/increase the risk of an accident on icy roads. It seems that KIA just doesn't want to cover these costly repairs.

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  • , , 62,000 mi

    I have the same lurching issue, when the Optima slows down to 20mph the car lurches with a hard down shift to 1st gear. This phenomena is especially acute when the car is cold or when I just start driving it.

    My dealer, Nationwide KIA first replaced the transmission, but that didn't really help. I took it in a 2nd time and they updated the Transmission Software, but that didn't help. The 3rd time because it was out of warranty (62,000 miles) they said, that I would have to pay $700 bucks of brake work at Nationwide Kia for them to fix the problem. This was crazy talk since it didn't suddenly become a brake problem. These guys are inept, and I paid them $110 bucks to give me a defective diagnosis of the issue.

    I took it to another Kia dealership near me, Jones KIA and they fixed the problem within a couple hours and for free! They basically updated the software AND reset the relearn module. It seems my first KIA dealer forgot to reset/clear the relearn procedure after updating the software.

    I recommend you tell your dealer if after the Transmission Software update, and you still have a hard down shift problem at 20mph, to make sure they reset/clear the relearn procedure! Both steps must be done to eliminate the lurching!

    The new updated software cannot update/download into the relearn procedure if the old one is still in the memory, therefore, resetting/clearing the relearn procedure is required for the new transmission software to take effect.

    Good Luck!


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  • , , 33,000 mi

    Hard down shift when slowing , took to dealer, they notified me this is known issue in 2009 and installed upgrade module and relearn procedure, No problems since.

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  • , , 21,000 mi

    hard down shift @20mph before coming to a stop.

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  • , , 50,600 mi

    Downshifting jerks from 2nd to 1st.

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  • , , 114,000 mi

    my kia lost compression & the more gas i gave it , the slower it got. It wont climb a hill & the engine light comes on & stays but then goes off by itself, but evenually comes back on. It has pretty good take-off but then cmpression drops & speed slows down to about 5 mph.

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  •  Rookie

    Rough transmission down shift when vehicle slows down to 20 miles per hour. It is as though it is being shifted into a lower gear when the vehicle is going too fast causng the car to be going to fast for the gear and a rapid slow down causing a very uncomfortable jerk to the passengers.

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  • , , 25,000 mi

    Had same tranny problem with downshift. Dealer reprogrammed. Didnt work. Took it back and they installed a new tranny. Didnt even try to repair old one. Excellent service.

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  • , , 34,145 mi

    Hard down shift from second to first.not when its cold or at running temp. only does it when in the middle of warming up.

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  • , , 14,000 mi

    Well taking my Optima 2009 back in for the fourth time tomorrow. Hoping they can corret this problem. Ready to give it back.

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