Kia Optima Problems

Software Update Available Which May Correct Transmission Issues on Kia Optima

Problem Description and Possible Solution

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.

(186 people reported this problem)

Kia Optima Vehicles With This Problem

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Average mileage: 62,467 (7,000–198,560)
15 model years affected: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, more2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
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Viewing 1-20 of 120 comments
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.
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!

When I am approaching a stop light or stop sign, when my 2016 Kia Optima SXL downshifts from 3rd to 2nd it throws me forward! It seems to be downshifting very hard between those gears. It almost feels like I am tapping (hard) my brakes right around 30-32 MPH when slowing down. Super annoying...esp for a $33,000 car. Anyone had this isue before or know how to correct this issue?
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.
My 2002 Kia optima with 136635 miles doesn't shift from 1st to 2nd when I start the car. I put the cat into sports mode and shift to 2nd. Otherwise it will shift a very hard shift to 3rd. Once it is in 2nd I can't get it to shift to 3rd in sports mode. I let it go and the car shifts hard to 3rd then I have to shift back to 2nd manually not automatic and it won't go to first. So basically in sports mode it's 1st---2nd"hard shift to 3rd"3rd----2nd that's it. I've replaced the input AND output speed sensor and other codes are:
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.
I have 2016 Kia Optima and right at 35mph it shift so hard into first it throws me forward!! I will be taking it in this week!!
Transmission grabs or bumps when coming to a stop. Took it to dealer who said we need new transmission but they won't cover it because we didn't change transmission fluid at 30,000 mi. Love this car. Can't believe this minor problem warrants a new transmission. Very disappointed. HELP!
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.
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.
2013 Kia Optima SX - Yesterday I was pulling out of my company's parking lot after work when I felt a significant jerk while shifting to second gear at about 3,000 RPM. I drove to the gym a few miles away when I also noticed an abnormal downshift to first gear when pulling into the gym parking lot. I noticed a trail of fluid behind my car when grabbing my bag from the trunk. Looking under my car I saw fluid dripping continuously from the under the engine compartment. Partially reversing my car to investigate the pool of fluid I realized that it was transmission fluid (pink oily fluid). Kia Roadside Assistance towed my car to the dealership and I'm waiting to hear back from the dealership. I suspect a cracked transmission housing or gasket judging by how quickly the transmission fluid drained from my car.

When I first moved to Houston 1.5yrs ago (at ~10,000 miles) I did experience the jerking downshifts, but the Kia dealership told me that there weren't any firmware updates for my transmission. Since then I believed the jerking downshifts to be normal, but now I am suspecting that the jerking downshifts caused my transmission troubles yesterday.
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.
Hard downshift at around 20 mph. Not always. Around town driving. Does not seem to do it after highway driving. Also had a couple up shift jolts into 2nd gear
Transmission shift very rough. High motor RPMs. Very hard shift when it would finally slip into the next gear. Took to the local Kia dealership and they updated the softwear and solved the issue. No problem has occurred since.
Loud buzz/humm from tranny. Told it is normal condition of transmission pressure solonoid. Clunky downshift coming to a stop - not reported or repaired yet.
Hard downshift to first gear when approaching stop sign. Usually happens in early morning when going to work, sometines after setting for long periods of time.