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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
ELI5/TLDR version:
1. 2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4 had an engine replaced at 99k miles; has electrical issues with doors and windows, at 130k miles now
2. Had to recently replace the battery
3. Upon replacing the battery it was fine for 2 weeks, but I didn't drive it for 2-3 days and the key opened the car, I tried to start and nothing, not even lights on the dashboard but the interior lights are functional + brake lights
4. When I left the car to replace the key fob, the buttons no longer worked. I replaced the key fob battery and still nothing, but both before and after I replaced the key fob battery the red light turned on in the key fob to indicate that the battery is still working, but I think it lost sync with whatever it communicates with.
5. Insurance called a guy to try to start it and he tried two remote kits, no go.
6. Had it towed to a non-dealer mechanical shop, nothing worked.
7. Had it towed to a Kia dealership, they say they have no idea but the first step is to pay $1180 to replace the key fob + smart key module and see if that does it, otherwise spend money to fix other things. Does this make sense or should I ask for verification / error codes?

LONGER VERSION:

Historical context: My 2011 Kia Optima EX had its engine replaced at 99k miles with that same engine issue (recall).. it's at around 130,000 miles and the rear windows have electrical problems (once the left once goes down, it can't go up. the right one I was able to do a trick by going down and then up which used to work on the left side); the passenger door is sensitive that if you lean on it, the lights come on. I never had any alternator/timing belt issues.

A month ago I had a dead battery 2 months ago and a new battery let it come back to life.

A week ago, I didn't start it for 2-3 days and since it was in a parking lot without front access, Insurance sent a guy to jumpstart and he had 2 kits, no-go. The lights like the interior lights function, but on Start Engine both the regular way and the manual-insert on the passenger side don't trigger anything/not even lights on the dashboard. Also, I was obviously able to get in to try to start the car but when I tried to close the car, my key fob didn't work although the red light still lit on when I pressed the buttons. I immediately replaced the key fob battery and same deal - so seems like there's no sync between the key fob and whatever it communicates with.

I sent it to one mechanical shop and they had no luck, so I had it towed to a Kia dealership and they claim they have no idea and since nothing works they have to "guess" by replacing the key fob and smart key module for $300ish in parts + $800 labor = $1180ish. They claim they can't get any error codes because nothing works obviously - but I called another shop and they said they had a similar issue and while nothing started, they tried the error reader 3 times and on the third try they were able to get a code that indicated the issue was the PCM to which they replaced the PCM.

Given the fact that there were prior electrical issues, could it make sense that the PCM is the culprit since it is the main brain, or are the windows/doors divided enough that this could indeed be just the smart key module? I just didn't like their lack of confidence saying we can start with that based on the other shop (which is actually across the country but was reachable due to timezones since I wanted to get information when eastcoast shops closed).

1. Was that error code read of the PCM in that other shop's example a lucky moment or is it common to get error codes for components in this situation?
2. Does it make sense that the smart key module is the culprit? Someone else suggested try just resetting the key fob and pay that $100ish fee but if the smart key module is truly dead, they wouldn't be able to do that?

Would appreciate any advice! Thank you
 

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Could be the body control Modual? would explain the electrical issues you were having as it can effect other systems if not fixed in a timely manner. But that is something I would think they could scan for?
 
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