Hyundai, Kia recall vehicles due to fire risk


Hyundai and Kia are asking owners of nearly 485,000 vehicles in the US to leave them outdoors because they can catch fire even with the engines turned off.

The recalls from the two Korean automakers are another in a long string of fire and engine failure problems that have dogged the companies for the past six years.

This time, the problem was that contamination in the anti-lock brake control module could cause an electrical short.

Affected are certain Kia Sportage SUV models from 2014 to 2016 and K900 sedans from 2016 to 2018. The recalled Hyundas include certain 2016 to 2018 Santa Fe SUVs, 2017 and 2018 Santa Fe Sports and 2018 Santa Fe XL SUVs. 2019 and 2014 and 2015 Tucson SUVs.

The automakers said they had 11 reports of fires in the US but no injuries.

Documents released by US safety regulators on Tuesday say owners should park their vehicles outside and away from structures until repairs are complete.

Dealers will replace a fuse. In addition, Hyundai dealers will inspect the control modules and replace them if necessary. Hyundai will mail notices starting April 5, and Kia will mail them out on March 31.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says owners can go to and enter their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if their car has been impounded. return or not.

When a safety defect is discovered, Hyundai said, “we will act quickly and effectively to recall the vehicle and fix the problem free of charge for affected customers.”

Kia says there are warning signs that drivers can see or smell. The anti-lock brake warning light may come on and they may smell something burning or molten, or see smoke coming from the engine compartment.

Tuesday’s recall comes after the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stepped up a series of investigations into the engine compartment fires that have afflicted South Korean automakers.

In December, the agency merged two investigations from 2017 into a new technical analysis covering more than 3 million vehicles from the 2011 to 2016 model years. At that time, NHTSA had received 161 applications. complaints of engine fires, some of which occurred in vehicles that were recalled.

According to NHTSA documents, the first batch of recalls from the companies related to engine failure and fires lasted until September 2015. Since then, they have issued at least eight more recalls for vehicles. with a host of engine problems.

The agency said it was assessing whether previous recalls covered a sufficient number of vehicles. It will also track the effectiveness of previous recalls “as well as the long-term viability of related programs and unsafe actions being taken by Hyundai and Kia.”

At the time, the automakers said they had issued multiple recalls to address engine problems, including recalls, new engine monitoring technology and extended warranties. .

Michael Brooks, chief counsel of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said Tuesday’s recall is different from the engine failure issue that has caused most previous Hyundai-Kia fires. “While NHTSA has the authority to issue recalls and potentially buy-back all affected vehicles, the isolated fire faults that have plagued millions of Hyundai vehicles over the years make this a major concern,” he said. a very difficult task,” he said.

In November 2020, NHTSA announced that Kia and Hyundai had to pay $137 million in fines and safety improvements because they moved too slowly to recall more than 1 million vehicles whose engines could fail. The fine settled an earlier investigation into the companies’ conduct related to the recall of multiple models dating back to the 2011 model year.

Kia had to pay $27 million and invest $16 million in safety performance measures. NHTSA said another $27 million payment would be deferred provided Kia met safety conditions.

Kia denies the US allegation but says it wants to avoid a lengthy legal battle.

Data collected by the Centers for Automotive Safety shows more than 30 engine and fire-related recalls from Hyundai and Kia since 2015. The recalls involved more than 20 vehicle models from 2006 to 2021 with a total of more than 8.4 million vehicles.

Many of the recalls are related to manufacturing defects that prevent oil from flowing through the engine block. Many expensive engine replacements involved.

Hyundai and Kia also ran a US “product improvement campaign” that included 3.7 million vehicles to install software that would warn drivers of possible engine failures.

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