2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: Illumination Restored
April 01, 2011
My uber-reboot worked! The lights are back on inside our 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo after I disconnected and reconnected the negative cable from the battery. Ten seconds with a 10mm wrench was all it took. The photos don't to it justice on account of my utter lack of a tripod, but you get the idea.
Incidentally, the steering wheel illumination is dimmer on purpose; a little goes a long way when something is close to your face. This level is fine at nighttime. You wouldn't want those buttons to glow as hard as the ones in the background.
So this was a reboot issue. Lest you think this is a Kia problem, remember that we've seen reboot-related electronic issues before in a half-dozen or more cases. At one point I was keeping track, but that Excel file disappeared two laptops ago.
A partial list includes the time the stereo went out in the Cadillac CTS. And then there was the BMW 750i that set something like 200 fault codes in one go and wouldn't move. There have been other examples covering other brands. No one, it seems, is immune.
To me this is a side-effect of the increasing role of software/firware code running behind the scenes in our vehicles. Our computers and smartphones get bug fixes, patches, reflashes and updates all the time and we don't even blink.
For me, that's not acceptable in a car. A car feels like hardware, not software, and I don't like having to hit the reset button. Let's hope this doesn't happen again...and again.
Also, get off my lawn. ;)
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 4,004 miles