Question about 2003 Kia Optima

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My power door locks as soon as my 2003 Kia Optima starts and won't open until I open it from outside

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: Electronic locks/ stuck door

DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOUR DOOR PANEL!!!!!

For those of you whose door is shut and you cannot open it, here is the trick that the Kia mechanic taught us: Insert the key into the door lock. In one quick motion, simultaneously turn the key to the unlock position AND pull the handle. It took us several attempts to finally get it to work.

Once the door is open, the check the diagnosis and repair instructions below.


*****

A couple months ago, our 2004 Kia Optima started exhibiting the same symptoms you describe: Door lock mechanism feels jammed, actuators automatically relock, etc.

We took the car to the local Kia dealership where we had purchased the car new, and the shop told us that it was a faulty door lock actuator. The mechanic did not open the door, but said that this was a common problem. They estimated $200 plus labor to repair.

This weekend, I decided to open the door and look for myself. What I found is that the actuator was fine. The fault was with the latch mechanism, called "door checker" in the Kia service manual. Not the lock... the latch; the actual part that latches onto the striker when the door is closed.

Here is my walk-through of the diagnosis and repair:

To determine the fault, I first removed the door panel. Remove 1 screw in the grab handle pocket, 1 behind the door open lever, and 2 screws at the forward edge, the bottom edge, and the rear edge. Remove the small window-corner speaker if equipped. Then lift off the door panel. Don't lift too far, there are wires to disconnect.

Once the door panel was removed, I removed the exterior door handle. Two bolts on the inside of the door secure it. Use 10mm socket to remove them. Then remove the connecting linkages by flipping the plastic catches on each to the side. This should allow you to pop the linkage from the socket. The heavy linkage is a little harder, as it has a locking groove. You may need a jewelers screwdriver or dental picks to open the plastic socket a little. Be very careful not to get forceful or you risk breaking the plastic catch. The actual lock mechanism turns 1/8 turn and slides out of the handle assembly. Set the handle aside.

Now disconnect the linkage from the actuator, again by flipping the plastic catch to one side and slipping the linkage from the socket.

Finally, disconnect the linkage that goes to the interior lock above the door-open handle.

With these linkages disconnected and the door handle out, remove the plastic cover on the latch mechanism. You should now be able to peer in and work the lock and opening levers independently and find the fault.

On my particular latch, the plastic bits (yes, they used plastic) had worn and become loose. This allowed the rotating part of the latch to rotate too far, which in turn caused a bind when you try to unlock the mechanism. The security system senses that the latch is not properly unlocked, causing the actuator to immediately engage and relock the doors.

If you confirm that this is your problem, then remove the three screws that hold the mechanism in place and replace the mechanism. I obtained mine from a salvage yard for $30.

Total time to diagnose and repair was about 3 hours - but you now will have an advantage in knowing what you're looking for!

Posted on Sep 16, 2008

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: Kia Optima

I had the same problem with my drivers side door.  The locking mechanism is made of plastic and it broke inside the door.  The mechanic said that he was surprised that the Kia dealer had the locking mechanisms in stock (i.e. it is a common problem). It cost me about $400 to fix.  Most of the cost was the labor time just to get the frickin door open!

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

co7196
  • 3433 Answers

SOURCE: Electronic locks/ stuck door

Your door latching mechanism is loose or defective. or maybe Christines' deendent. Spookuy huh?

Posted on May 30, 2009

  • 299 Answers

SOURCE: 2005 kia driverside door

Will have to roll down window and take very long screwdrive and sli in door and bust door latch assembly,Best to take to shop,You have to know just where latch is to keep from causing major damage.

Posted on Jun 19, 2009

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: driver's side door will unlock but will not open

On mine if I lock the door while I was inside ,I could'nt open the door unless i rolled down the window and use the door handle,it was a bar inside thr door pannel that came loose and I had to re atached it.

Posted on Aug 11, 2009

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Drivers side door won't open on Kia Optima 2006. All other doors unlock and open, Can't open the drivers side door from the inside either. Any suggestions?


I have this same issue,I'm told other kia's also have this issue. Friend of mmine says little pin/rod that goes from lock 2 handle needs adjusting,don't know.have body shop check it out 4 u or call kia.I'm sure they have heard of this problem.That's what i'm gonna do if I can get mine running,been down 4 about 2 wks. good luck

Feb 08, 2013 | 2006 Kia Optima

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2004 Kia Optima LX gas door and trunk lid will not open using buttons on drivers sdie door?


Most vehicles that have a power release, also have a manual release. Check inside the vehicle, around the location of the outside filler door. You might have a removable panel, that will reveal the fuel door release cable.

Jun 05, 2012 | 2004 Kia Optima

1 Answer

Am about to buy a used car KIA Optima V6 2003 with 65000 miles on it. What are the common problems with this kind of car? I never had one before though it looks pretty cool


I have a 4 cylinder 2003 Optima and I'm having all kinds of trouble with it. I got it last year and it had 76000 miles on it. When I bought it, the driver's side rear window didn't work, and the locks were iffy on unlocking with the button. NOW, it has 103000 miles and I need new axles, already had to get a new timing belt, the driver's door lock is broken (can't unlock from the inside OR outside), and the gas tank is screwed up. Don't think I'll ever buy a Kia again.

Dec 31, 2009 | 2003 Kia Optima

1 Answer

Driver door won't unlock


I would check the lock linkage inside the door and make sure the actuator arm is in the right place and not worn.

Sep 15, 2009 | 2003 Kia Optima

1 Answer

Driver's side door will unlock but will not open


On mine if I lock the door while I was inside ,I could'nt open the door unless i rolled down the window and use the door handle,it was a bar inside thr door pannel that came loose and I had to re atached it.

Aug 08, 2009 | 2003 Kia Optima

4 Answers

The driver door on my 2004kia optmia wont open.


If you have tried the inside, and outside door handle, and it does not open you need a new door latch assembly.

Jul 11, 2009 | 2003 Kia Optima

1 Answer

Electronic locks/ stuck door


Your door latching mechanism is loose or defective. or maybe Christines' deendent. Spookuy huh?

May 30, 2009 | 2004 Kia Optima

5 Answers

111


sorry, i am not sure what happened there!

Jul 14, 2008 | 2003 Kia Optima

4 Answers

Kia Optima


I am currently having the same problem. It strikes me odd that there are so many with the same problem. This seems to be a safety issue as well. If I need to get out of my car quickly and can't because I accidently locked the doors while inside. You would think there would be a recall on something this serious.

Jul 14, 2008 | 2003 Kia Optima

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