Kia Fire Risk Results in Warning To Park Sportage and Cadenza Vehicles Outside, Away From Homes
Federal highway safety are warning owners of certain Kia Sportage and Cadenza vehicles to park their cars outside, away from their homes or other structures, due to a fire risk that may impact 380,000 vehicles from the 2017 through 2021 model years.
The warning comes after a Kia recall posted on March 4, which indicates that the hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU) in the vehicles may short circuit and overheat, increasing the risk of a fire and injury hazard.
Included in the recall are approximately 379,931 model year 2017 through 2021 Sportages and 2017 through 2019 Cadenzas, which are not equipped with Smart Cruise Control.
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As a result of the Kia fire risk, officials at the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are advising owners to keep the vehicles parked outside and away from their homes and other buildings or vehicles to prevent a possible fire from spreading.
According to a press release issued by the agency, signs of short circuiting that may lead to a fire could include illumination of the tire pressure, anti-lock brake or other warnings on the dashboard cluster. According to warranty claims submitted to Kia, owners have also indicated a burning or melting odor as well as smoke emanating from the engine compartment.
Kia Motors America announced they will begin notifying registered owners by first class mail with instructions on how to schedule a free repair at their local dealer, where dealers will be instructed to install two 30A fuses instead of 40As in recalled Sportage models while impacted Cadenza vehicles will receive a new fuse 25A fuse kit, free of charge.
Both Kia and Hyundai, who are separate businesses, but owned by the same Korea parent company, have been under investigation by the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) since 2019, after more than 3,100 fires, 103 injuries and one death were linked to Kia engine compartment fires were caused by brake fluid leaking inside of the hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brakes.
The investigation resulted in the NHTSA issuing a consent order forcing the automakers to pay $210 million in fines, forcing Kia to pay a total civil penalty of $70 million, which includes an upfront payment of $27 million, an obligation to expend an additional $16 million on specified safety performance measures.
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