Kia is telling owners of nearly 380,000 vehicles in the U.S. to park them outdoors due to the risk of an engine compartment fire. The recall applies to some models year 2016 through 2021 that do not have Smart Cruise Control. Smart Cruise Control is the feature that enables the vehicle to use radar and automatically maintain a safe distance from other cars on the highway. Until these recalled vehicles have been repaired, the safest place to park them is outside and away from homes and other structures.
Why are Kia’s being recalled?
An investigation of Kia and Hyundai engine fires in 2019 opened after the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety filed a petition seeking the investigation. When the inquiry began, the agency said it had owner complaints of more than 3,100 fires, 103 injuries and one death. According to the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration the electrical circuit in the hydraulic electronic control unit in these vehicles may short circuit, which could cause a fire in the engine compartment. Hyundai, which is a major shareholder in Kia, recently recalled 82,000 electric SUVs, which ended up costing roughly $11,000 per vehicle to fix. That recall was also due to fire risk due to a problem with the vehicle’s battery packs. These are not the only instances of Kia and Hyundai vehicles spontaneously catching fire as instances have surfaced all over the country in multiple models. The recent recall was issued for Sportage compact sport-utility vehicles from 2017 to 2021 and Sportage sedans from the same time period. 2016 to 2019 Candenzas are also included in the recall. The report says, “dealers will be instructed to install a new fuse kit which contains a 25A fuse instead of 40A. Kia will reimburse owners for repair expenses already incurred pursuant to Kia’s General Reimbursement Plan filed May 11, 2020.”
Has your Kia been recalled?
If you have any of the likely affected models some things to watch out for are illumination of various warning lights on the instrument panel including tire pressure warning light, ABS warning light, and MIL warning light. Other signs include burning or melting odors and/or smoke coming from the engine compartment. Vehicle owners can visit NHTSA.gov/recalls and enter their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if their vehicle is under recall. If it is, vehicle owners should call their nearest dealership immediately to schedule a free interim repair. Owners can also download NHTSA’s new SaferCar app for Apple or Android. You can enter information about your vehicle, carseat, or various other parts in the app and it will send notifications if a recall is issued. Owners will be notified starting April 30. Dealerships will replace fuses in the electrical junction box to fix the problem. Kia is denying U.S. allegations and according to Fox they want to avoid a “protracted legal fight,” but engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than 6 million vehicles since 2015.
In November, NHTSA announced that Kia and Hyundai must pay $137 million in fines and safety improvements since they moved slowly to recall more than 1 million vehicles which had engines that could fail. The fines come from the behavior of the company involving recalls of multiple models dating to the 2011 model year. Kia was to pay $27 million and invest $16 million in safety performance measures. Another $27 million payment will be deferred as long as Kia meets safety conditions. If you drive a Kia, or any vehicle for that matter, it is always better to be safe than sorry and check for any recalls associated with your vehicle.