485,000 Hyundai and Kia owners advised to park recalled SUVs outside

The Hyundai and Kia engine fire risk recall has mushroomed to new proportions: the brands’ crossover SUVs can catch fire even with the engines turned off. The sister automakers advised owners of nearly 485,000 vehicles to park outside away from buildings, according to an AP report published Tuesday. 

The current issue in a string of engine-fire related recalls is that contamination of an antilock brake control module can trigger an electrical short. The short increases the risk of fire during vehicle operation or when it is parked. In documents filed Tuesday with the NHTSA, Hyundai and Kia urged owners to park the cars outside and away from structures until repairs are completed.

The automakers said they were aware of 11 fires related to the issue in the U.S., but no injuries. 

The recall affects certain 2014-2016 Kia Sportage compact crossovers and the 2016-2018 Kia K900 full-size sedan. Affected Hyundai models include certain 2016-2018 Santa Fe compact crossovers, the 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport, the 2019 Santa Fe XL, and the 2014-2015 Tucson. 

Drivers can detect a faulty fuse if the antilock brake warning light illuminates. Or they might notice the smell of burning or melting or the presence of smoke from the engine bay. 

Engine fire recalls have plagued the automakers in recent years. Late last year, the NHTSA combined two investigations launched in 2017 that now cover more than 3 million vehicles with model years ranging from 2011 to 2016, the AP reports. There were 161 complaints of engine fires, and today’s announcement marks at least the tenth recall for increased fire risk across a range of models. 

There have been at least six fire-related recalls in the last 18 months for Hyundai and Kia vehicles, ranging from fires caused by faulty brakes to improperly installed 12-volt outlets. A few are listed below. 

In May 2021, Kia recalled already recalled Optima and Sorento vehicles for a short circuit in the control unit that can cause a fire.  

In December 2020, both brands recalled 423,000 vehicles for connecting rod bearings that could puncture the engine block and cause engine oil to leak, leading to a fire. 

In July 2020, Hyundai recalled certain 2011-2012 Elantra, Sonata, Accent, and Veloster models for an issue with the 12-volt outlet that could spark a fire. 

In February 2020, Hyundai issued a similar recall for 2006-2011 Elantra models due to moisture getting into the ABS module and causing an electrical short, which could trigger a fire, even when parked. 

To check on the status of your car, visit Kia’s recall website or contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Hyundai owners can visit their recall site or call customer service at 1-855-371-9460. 

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