Why Won’t My Kia Optima Start? – All Scenarios Covered

Why won’t my Kia Optima start? The situation can frustrate you since there are different cases caused by various reasons.

However, you don’t need to worry; we are here to help. Our article will cover all possible scenarios and provide solutions to address your problem. Let’s read on for more nitty-gritty details!

Why Won’t My Kia Optima Start?

why won't my kia optima start
Kia Optima Won’t Start

A bad or dead battery, a broken alternator, or a damaged starter are the most common reasons causing trouble with your car’s starting system.

Besides, a struggling-to-start vehicle can be due to other issues such as fuel systems or ignition.

Having the mechanics to diagnose is the best way to clear your problem.

No Crank, No Start

The first and most common scenario is the 2015 Kia Optima with no crank and no start. It can happen due to one of the reasons below.

Faulty Battery

When you see your Kia Optima does not start, the first suspected culprit is a problem with the battery.

It can be because your battery ages, leading to decreased ‘cold cranking amps‘ and incapability to start the vehicle.

You can bring your battery to the repair shop to test whether it has enough charge. If it does, you may want to check the cables as there can be chances of corrosion.

Plus, think of a broken starter when other components are confirmed in good condition.

The second situation is your battery is dead, but the charges back up are good; then you should move on to the battery terminals or alternator.

Have them tested to make sure your battery is properly charged.

Defective Battery Cables

As mentioned above, a corroded cable can be the hidden culprit; thus, checking the connection between the battery poles and cables is recommended.

Cleaning the surrounding green or white corrosion (if any) may make your car run again.

Damaged Starter

When your 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2019 Kia Optima won’t start, have a look at the starter itself. Keep in mind that when it doesn’t operate well, you can’t start your vehicle.

Once you determine the issue is not due to battery or corroded cables, it’s possible that you need a new starter. In general, you may not see many warning signs at first if the part goes bad.

If you’re stuck somewhere and cannot turn on the component, beat it with a hammer. The trick can bring you good results.

Cranking, No Start

When your Kia Optima turns on but won’t start, the reasons can be as follows.

Wrong Engine Timing

Engine timing indicates the ability to ignite the spark plug at the correct time.

When the combustion happens at the wrong time, the camshaft and crankshaft can’t operate at the same pace, leading to 2016 Kia Optima starting problems.

Usually, an OBDII scanner is used to detect and display codes relating to timing issues such as P0013. Besides, crankshaft sensors can deteriorate and cause the vehicle to struggle to start.

Installing a new sensor may be recommended by professionals to solve your problem.

Fuel Issues

The combustion chamber requires a proper amount of fuel to move the vehicle.

If your car doesn’t receive enough power due to any issue, such as bad fuel injectors, fuel pump, or fuel filter, it may crank but not start.

Ignition Problems

Ignition problems such as bad spark plugs, plug wires, coil packs, or computer issues mean there’s no spark and may cause Kia Optima starting problems.

In this case, an OBDII scanner may show some misfire-related code such as P0301, P0300 code, etc.


Manufacturers tend to design smart keys with electronic protection in modern models to protect cars from the risk of being stolen.

This security system can sometimes experience faulty issues, making it difficult to operate your vehicle. A security warning will illuminate while you’re struggling to crank your engine.

Other Issues

My Kia Optima won’t start. Besides the possible causes mentioned above, your situation can result from different variables.

Check this diagnostic flowchart to understand what else you should pay attention to.

Clicking, No Start

2019 kia optima won't start
Clicking But My Car No Start

The last scenario when your Kia Optima won’t start is you hear the clicking sound, and that’s all. Let’s see what the underlying cause you are facing is!

Starter Issues

As discussed above, a bad starter may make your car lose all power to start, yet, sometimes, it might click.

Never overlook this culprit, as when you’re stranded with a faulty starter, you likely need to deal with more serious problems, such as a dead battery.

In addition, when you switch on your key, you signal the starter solenoid to send power to the starter.

However, when you hear the click, it means the solenoid fails to complete its task, and you can’t operate your car.

Furthermore, it’s possible that the starting process can’t go smoothly due to a faulty starter relay. In this case, there will be either a clicking or whining sound.

Bad Battery And Battery Issues

2015 Kia Optima won’t start just clicks. Besides the starter, the battery is another common reason causing the issue.

A bad or dead battery can’t provide enough power to the starter. You may notice the annoying sound or dashboard light illuminations when it happens.

Check your battery’s installation to ensure a stable connection and power sending.

As mentioned above, the local auto part stores can charge the battery. Providing enough charge can stop the sound and run your car unless your battery is dead.

You may also encounter loose cables or connectors and corroded battery posts. When the battery loses charge while the car runs, you can see the flashing light on the dashboard.

You just need to tighten the connections or brush the corrosion off with sandpaper or steel wool, thus, eliminating your problem.

Faulty Alternator

A bad alternator can ruin a battery. When you suspect a faulty alternator, it means your vehicle doesn’t receive power, causing Kia Optima not to start.

Other Electrical Problems

Other electrical issues include an electrical short or defective starter relay. You’d better bring your car to the repair shop for proper diagnosis and fixation.

How To Fix Kia Optima Not Starting Problems?

kia optima won't start
Repair To Kia Optima Not Starting Problems

Battery Replacement

Once your battery is determined dead, you should perform the replacement. Normally, you may have trouble starting or running electrical components when it dies.

You may notice the light in the interior is getting dimmer.

Plus, the engine may crank slowly or not at all when you try to start the vehicle. If there is any charge left, it may produce a fast-clicking noise, yet in most cases, it’s unresponsive.

The cost of the replacement is around $350.

Starter Replacement

You will likely need to change your starter if you switch the key, but the engine does not rotate. It’s the common symptom of faulty starter motors across all models.

In some cases of the 2019 Kia Optima not starting, you can also hear the clicking, whirring, or fast spinning sound, indicating the starter and the starter solenoid are subjected to failure.

The expected replacement cost will be from $400 to $600.

Fuel Pump Replacement

The symptoms of a faulty fuel pump include leakage or noise. Drivers may experience the intermittent flashing check engine light that requires you to have it fixed immediately.

This broken part can’t produce enough pressure in the fuel system, thus, causing engine loss and preventing the vehicle from starting.

The fuel pump replacement is quite expensive, around $1000.

Ignition Lock Cylinder Replacement

One more common repair is to replace the ignition switch lock cylinder. A broken ignition switch lock cylinder leads to trouble in turning on the ignition to run the car.

The issues include the ignition wiggling and shaking before turning on, the ignition running with the removed key, or the key not going all the way into the ignition lock cylinder.

The estimated cost is around $230 – $280.

Crankshaft Position Sensor And Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement 

Changing these two components are less common than previous solutions, yet some professionals still will recommend you to do so to fix the starting system.

As the computer can sense the timing, it can detect an out-of-time situation happening to the engine and blink the check engine light. Your car may start and stall or can’t perform the starting at all.

Even if your vehicle runs, it will operate badly and have bad fuel mileage. So, you’d better change the parts as suggested if they are the root of your problem.

The replacement costs from $175 to $250.

The Bottom Lines

Why won’t my Kia Optima start? Several matters can go wrong with your vehicle’s starting system. Among them, battery, alternator, and starter are the most common reasons.

It’s quite challenging to track down what is really wrong, and you may need enough time and patience to figure it out.

If you think it’s overloaded and you’re not confident, you’d better take your car to professional service so they can start it again.

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