Kia and Hyundai recall another 500,000 vehicles over fire risk

Kia Motors and parent automaker Hyundai are recalling more than a half million vehicles in the U.S. because of issues that could cause an engine fire.

The largest recall affects almost 380,000 Kia Soul vehicles, all with 1.6-liter engines, built between 2012 and 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), high exhaust-gas temperatures have the potential to damage the vehicle’s catalytic converter, which could lead to piston-related failure. The issue could result in an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash, the NHTSA said, but could also cause a fire if a broken connecting rod punctured the engine block and caused engine oil to leak.

Kia plans to contact owners of affected Soul cars, and dealers will make the necessary repairs free of charge. Kia’s number for this recall is SC176.

In addition, around 32,000 Kia Sportage SUVs made between 2011 and 2012, as well as 123,000 Hyundai Tucson vehicles made between 2011 and 2013, are being recalled over a potential engine oil pan leak, which, if not addressed, may result in engine damage or even fire. The NHTSA said the remedy for the issue is still “under development,” but adds that Kia and Hyundai will notify owners from April 10, 2019. Kia’s number for this recall is SC174. Concerned Tucson owners can enter their vehicle’s ID number on Hyundai’s recall page to find out more.

Another recall affects around 95,000 Kia Sedona minivans manufactured between 2015 and 2018. Over time, the wiring beneath the front passenger seat’s Occupant Detection System (ODS) could break. A broken ODS wiring harness will fail to prevent the front passenger air bag from deploying in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury to a child (in a child seat) in the front passenger seat, the NHTSA said. Again, owners will be notified by Kia, and a fix will be issued by a dealer free of charge. Kia’s number for this recall is SC175.

For further information on the above recalls, owners can call Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542, or Hyundai at 1-800-633-5151.

Ongoing issue

The two South Korean automakers have now recalled more than 2.3 million vehicles in the last four years to deal with a range of engine fire risks, Reuters reports, while a number of owners across the country have launched lawsuits after their cars went up in flames.

This week the Center for Auto Safety — a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit consumer advocacy group — accused Kia and Hyundai of failing to address the fire-related safety issues in a more effective and timely manner, and urged Congress to investigate the matter.

Kia told Digital Trends that the safety of its customers is “one of our highest priorities” and claimed the Center for Auto Safety had chosen to “ignore the facts.” The company said it has always openly shared its information and data with the relevant authorities and continues its work to solve any safety issues affecting its vehicles. Kia’s full statement can be seen here. Hyundai also told Digital Trends that the Center for Auto Safety had “chosen to ignore the facts,” adding, “Nothing is more important than the safety and security of Hyundai customers.” It said concerned owners can make use of an online resource that offers information and help regarding Hyundai recalls.

Millions of cars from multiple manufacturers were recalled over a slew of issues in 2018, and the early signs are that this year will be no different. Besides Kia and Hyundai’s recalls, Toyota and Ford, for example, have already called in a huge number of vehicles to fix problems relating to airbags and gears, respectively.

Updated with information from Hyundai.

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