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2013 Kia Optima LX
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have a 2013 Kia Optima LX with the 2.4L NA I4 GDI "Theta II" engine. I am commuting about 45 miles round trip each day in this car. The car currently has around 111,000 miles on it. Assuming that the engine is well maintained (I'm currently doing full synthetic oil changes at every ~5,000 miles and using fuel additive once a year or so to combat carbon buildup), does anyone have any idea what the reliability of this engine is like?

The reason I ask is because I'm considering doing a suspension rebuild on this car, but I want to know if it's worth it or if the engine will fail too soon to make the suspension rebuild worth my time and money. I'm a bit concerned because I know that crankshaft (or maybe it's connecting rod?) bearing failure is a common issue with these engines. However, from the reading that I've done it seems like those who experienced this type of failure saw it at much lower mileage than what I'm currently at. Additionally, this engine passed a recall inspection that was supposed to detect this issue.

A bit more background on the suspension: a while ago I bumped the right front wheel into a curb hard enough (at about 15 mph) to tear a hole in the sidewall of the tire and throw the alignment way off. I replaced the tire and had the vehicle aligned and all seemed well for a time, but then the vehicle began pulling to the left. I took it to an alignment shop and they said that even when the numbers on the alignment rack were set perfectly, the car still pulled to the left. They concluded that there is probably some mild suspension damage causing this issue. About 8 months ago I also had a mechanic tell me that the suspension bushings are starting to wear out. Hence, I am considering a suspension rebuild. I would do all the work myself, so I think the total cost would be about $1200 - $1600 plus a few weekends of my time.

Thanks for your time!
 

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2011 Kia Optima
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Just a question, what's the difference if the engine seizes, then they'll do a replacement.

Nobody can tell when the engine will go, if it ever does. Some go at 15k miles, some 40k,
some 70k, some over 100k, some over 200k miles, some never, so just do what you want
and hope you're not driving too fast when it seizes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You bring up a good point. There's a part of me that would rather buy a new car than have the threat of engine failure hanging over my head (the event would be at the very least a hassle, and probably also dangerous). If I were to spend $1500 on the car now, that's money that I could save away for a new car later. So essentially I'm hoping to get some input here for a cost/risk analysis.
 

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Can you elaborate on what parts are driving the cost to $1500 - like where does the money go to bring the total up that high?

If you've decided to use fuel additive annually, which are you going with? I'd suggest instead using at each oil change, if you are using Techron?

But I agree with Turbonut - if you invest in the car's suspension now, you can be comforted that even in a worst case scenario engine failure, Kia should replace the engine for you so that you will enjoy the investment even longer. In a way, having that might make it more likely to want to invest in the car, because getting a new engine would give the car another boost of longevity so you can enjoy the new suspension even longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Prices are for OEM parts, estimated from kiaparts.com. In my experience doing a couple of repairs a few months ago, their prices are about the same or a little bit lower than going through a dealer. Lower prices can be had by going with aftermarket parts or by hunting through eBay.

Front Suspension:
Strut: $200
Coil Spring: $90
Lower Control Arm: $200
Stabilizer Bar Link: $40
Total per side: $530
Both sides: $1060

I haven't investigated the rear that thoroughly yet but on the rear I would be willing to just replace all of the bushings, the spring, and the shock absorber. I'm guessing this would make the cost on the rear a little bit lower.

Again, I'm just a little concerned about what would happen in the event of engine seizure. How dangerous is it? Would I completely lose control of the vehicle or just lose the ability to accelerate? I do mostly highway driving somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 mph. I've read elsewhere that Kia might replace the engine if there are signs of imminent failure such as grossly excessive oil consumption or engine knock, but it sounds like the failure is still unpredictable.
 

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Why would one replace suspension components if there is nothing worn? There is no mileage limit
on struts, shocks, springs, etc, but the end links are a weak link. The '08 Optima had 296,000 miles
when I sold the car with original suspension, minus end links, and the '11 2.0T has 197,000 same,
and still rides just as hard as when it was new. Save your money and just drive the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I stated in my first post, I am considering a suspension rebuild because of some mild suspension damage that causes the car to pull to the left. Hence the new struts, control arms, end links. Also, the bushings are worn according to a mechanic that inspected the car several months ago.
 

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2020 Kia Soul X-Line 2.0 MPI
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As I stated in my first post, I am considering a suspension rebuild because of some mild suspension damage that causes the car to pull to the left. Hence the new struts, control arms, end links. Also, the bushings are worn according to a mechanic that inspected the car several months ago.
As stated in your first post, fuel additives in your tank do not clean-up carbon buildup on the back of the valves.

You would need to seek professional cleaning at this stage of your engine, if not mechanically-inclined.
 

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Again, I'm just a little concerned about what would happen in the event of engine seizure. How dangerous is it? Would I completely lose control of the vehicle or just lose the ability to accelerate? I do mostly highway driving somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 mph. I've read elsewhere that Kia might replace the engine if there are signs of imminent failure such as grossly excessive oil consumption or engine knock, but it sounds like the failure is still unpredictable.
So I can tell you what happens. Because on my 2013 Kia Optimia LX I just had this problem.

I was accelerating pretty fast. I was racing my friend. And my car stall/turned off. All the lights will turn on the dash. You can’t accelerate.

then you pull over hopefully and turn it off. Wait a minute turn it back on. Everything will be fine.

Pretty soon though your car will roar and make weird sounds. The check engine light will flash. And you need to pull over ASAP.

Now I did pass the original test. And they upgraded my software to detect the issue (they did that because the problem continued after the initial test they did on many cars). So if you haven’t done that, your car might not act exactly as mine did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I can tell you what happens. Because on my 2013 Kia Optimia LX I just had this problem.

I was accelerating pretty fast. I was racing my friend. And my car stall/turned off. All the lights will turn on the dash. You can’t accelerate.

then you pull over hopefully and turn it off. Wait a minute turn it back on. Everything will be fine.

Pretty soon though your car will roar and make weird sounds. The check engine light will flash. And you need to pull over ASAP.

Now I did pass the original test. And they upgraded my software to detect the issue (they did that because the problem continued after the initial test they did on many cars). So if you haven’t done that, your car might not act exactly as mine did.
Thanks for sharing your experience - that's valuable info for me. My 2013 Optima LX passed the test, and they also upgraded the ECU software to detect the issue so it sounds like my vehicle is in a pretty similar condition to the one yours was.
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience - that's valuable info for me. My 2013 Optima LX passed the test, and they also upgraded the ECU software to detect the issue so it sounds like my vehicle is in a pretty similar condition to the one yours was.
I’ll try to remember to come here and let you know what Kia says tomorrow. This all happened yesterday, and I am really glad I came on this forum because I was going to pay to tow this to a mechanic I use. I’m sure he would have told me to go to Kia, but that’s still a waste of time and money. If I was you, though, I would invest in a OB2 scanner if you don’t already have one and/or a smart device similar to Hum by Verizon.

Also. I’ve watched YouTube videos of people who have upgraded the engine and they still replace it. Just search “Kia P1326” and “Kia Optima Engine Recall” and you’ll see the videos.

and no problem! I’m always happy to share what happens with my car. I love my Kia, and I really hope tom Kia doesn’t make me mad and try to pull some crap.Reading on this forum, I don’t think I’ll have much trouble.
 

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2018 Optima EX, 2019 Stinger GT2 AWD
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Hi all,

I have a 2013 Kia Optima LX with the 2.4L NA I4 GDI "Theta II" engine. I am commuting about 45 miles round trip each day in this car. The car currently has around 111,000 miles on it. Assuming that the engine is well maintained (I'm currently doing full synthetic oil changes at every ~5,000 miles and using fuel additive once a year or so to combat carbon buildup), does anyone have any idea what the reliability of this engine is like?

The reason I ask is because I'm considering doing a suspension rebuild on this car, but I want to know if it's worth it or if the engine will fail too soon to make the suspension rebuild worth my time and money. I'm a bit concerned because I know that crankshaft (or maybe it's connecting rod?) bearing failure is a common issue with these engines. However, from the reading that I've done it seems like those who experienced this type of failure saw it at much lower mileage than what I'm currently at. Additionally, this engine passed a recall inspection that was supposed to detect this issue.

A bit more background on the suspension: a while ago I bumped the right front wheel into a curb hard enough (at about 15 mph) to tear a hole in the sidewall of the tire and throw the alignment way off. I replaced the tire and had the vehicle aligned and all seemed well for a time, but then the vehicle began pulling to the left. I took it to an alignment shop and they said that even when the numbers on the alignment rack were set perfectly, the car still pulled to the left. They concluded that there is probably some mild suspension damage causing this issue. About 8 months ago I also had a mechanic tell me that the suspension bushings are starting to wear out. Hence, I am considering a suspension rebuild. I would do all the work myself, so I think the total cost would be about $1200 - $1600 plus a few weekends of my time.

Thanks for your time!
Years ago when I had my SVT Mustang Cobra, I had a similar problem with it pulling to one side even though the alignment number were OK. The shop (a racing shop) said that a bad tire can also cause this. To prove it, they unmounted the front tires from the rim and swapped them left to right (these were directional tires, so you couldn't just rotate the rim/tire left to right), and the car would pull the other way. A new set of tires fixed the problem.

So try rotating the tires (front to back) and see if the problem persists before assuming the front end needs a bunch of work.
 

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if the alignment shop could not find any loose parts and was able to set the alignment to spec i doubt you have any "bent" parts that to the point of causing a pull. I would do as Rpoffen suggests and switch the tires around and see if it changes. You could have created wear to the tires with an out of alignment condition prior to the curb hit. That is not presenting itself as pulling now that the alignment is good. I certainly wouldn't just throw 1500 bucks at cause the alignment shop said something (that they couldn't find) might be damaged.
 

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Pulling to one side or the other can also be caused by a tilt in the road surface. Try driving back and forth over the same exact ground, preferable with the wheels going over the same wheel tracks.
 

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Wouldn't bother with changing the spring or control arm. You'd really have to beat the crap out of the suspension to damage those. The struts and shocks are just awful in our generation of vehicle. I just ordered a loaded strut for the front left online to replace a cheaper loaded Detroit Axle strut replacement that I'm unhappy with. You can try places like autozone or similar for parts at lower prices, if you have your heart set on replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks to everyone for all of the posts today - these are all things that either I or the alignment shop have already tried/considered (rotating the tires to check for bad tires/rims, driving across multiple road surfaces in multiple directions, driving across the same road surface in opposite directions, etc.). I might have to look for another shop for a second opinion.
 

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If you want to check, you can use string to check the toe-in yourself. And you should also be able to use the string to confirm the center-to-center distance on one side of the car is the same as the other. If it's not, then that would help you understand if one of the control arms is pushed too far forward or backward. The string will let you know very precisely.

If the toe-in is biased more to one side, that's a quick easy adjustment you can do at home to fix yourself.

You run the string along the side of the front and rear rims, and check distance from the string to both edges of each rim, at the point along the circumference that is closest to the string. You can set the height of the string to get it to pass through the midpoint of the rim, but that's not necessary as long as you use the same height on both sides.

See here - when I did this, I used a caliper and got the measurements exact to precision of less than one mm, by measuring from the string to the metal rim (not the rubber tire). Also I used some high-school geometry to calculate the angle of the tire, so I didn't have to approximate like these guys are doing with a tape measure:

 
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