Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride Fire Risk Leads to Recall for 280K Vehicles, and Warning to Park Outside

Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been subjected to multiple engine fire risk recalls in recent years.

Kia and Hyundai continue to experience problems with engine compartment fires, leading the auto makers to announce yet another recall impacting nearly 300,000 Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride that may burst into flames, leading to warning that owners need to park the SUVs outside and away from their home or other structures due to the fire risks.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride recall on August 23, warning owners about spontaneous vehicles fires, which may be caused by a short circuiting event.

Although Hyundai and Kia are two separate business entities, they share a corporate parent company, and vehicles often have similar parts, designs, and engineering. Both manufacturers have issued a number of engine fire recalls over the last several years.

The Hyundai Palisade recall involves 245,030 models while the Kia Telluride recall includes 36,417 models. For both SUV’s, the model year includes 2020 through 2022 vehicles that were distributed for sale throughout the U.S. at licensed dealers.

Hyundai and Kia have both issued “stop sale orders” for the vehicles, after a recent investigation identified more than two dozen fires or melting accidents in the U.S. and Canada.

According to the recall, moisture or debris may enter the circuit board of a tow hitch accessory that can cause a short circuiting event. In this event, the short circuit may cause smoldering, melting or a fire to occur while driving or in the parked position.

As a result of the growing number of Hyundai and Kia vehicle fire reports, the manufacturers are instructing customers to park their cars outside and away from homes and other structures they have been repaired by a licensed dealer.

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The recall indicates owners will be formally notified in October, with instructions on how to schedule a free repair at their local dealer. While Hyundai announced the repair will involve inspecting the vehicle’s trailer hitch harness wiring and removing a fuse as a temporary fix, Kia has not released an interim or final repair remedy.

Hyundai and Kia Vehicle Fire Recalls

The concerns over Hyundai and Kia vehicle fires first arose in 2019, after the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer vehicle safety watchdog, presented more than 3,000 customer reports of Hyundai and Kia engine fires, along with a petition for the NHTSA to look into what was believed to be faulty oil pans, catalytic converters, fuel leaks, oil leaks, and other problems that increased the risk of a vehicle fire.

By November 27, 2020, NHTSA officials concluded an independent investigation of Hyundai Motor America, Inc. and Kia Motors America, Inc. finding a total of 3,125 reported non-crash vehicle fires or reports of the electrical wiring melting and smoldering in vehicles equipped with Theta II engines. The agency identified at least six victims have been burned and at least one person has died in connection to the vehicle fires.

The investigation further revealed both Hyundai and Kia Motors reported false information and delayed reporting known safety defects in approximately 1.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty Theta II engines, which were ultimately found to contain leaking anti-lock brake hydraulic control units which could cause the vehicles to catch on fire even when the engines are turned off.

As a result of the recalls and providing false information to auto safety regulators, NHTSA obtained a consent order which forced the automakers to pay $210 million in fines. Kia also had to pay a civil penalty of $70 million, which included an upfront payment of $27 million and an obligation to expend an additional $16 million on specified safety performance measures.

However, in February 2022, the automakers announced another Tucson and Sante Fe engine fire recall impacting more than 500,000 vehicles. The recall includes approximately 357,830 model year 2016 through 2018 Santa Fe, 2017 through 2018 Santa Fe Sport, 20119 Santa Fe XL, and 2014 through 2015 Hyundai Tucson vehicles.

The recall pinpoints a new issue in the Hyundai and Kia vehicles, indicating that internal investigations suggest the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) modules may malfunction and cause an electrical short, which could result in an engine compartment fire.


  • TinaOctober 15, 2022 at 9:45 pm

    2018 hyundai sonata caught fire while driving with my baby. Almost didn't make it out no warning engulfed in flames in minutes.

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