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.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

Recall bounty hunters needed as millions ignore deadly Takata airbag recall

It's the recall campaign from hell and too many people aren't responding. Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Carma Project want to give financial rewards to people who alert family and friends to the deadly Takata airbag recall.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.