Kia and Hyundai “Park Outside” Warning Impacts 3.3 Million Vehicles At Risk of Fires
Federal highway safety officials have issued a recall impacting more than 3.3 million Kia and Hyundai vehicles, which are equipped with faulty anti-brake lock system (ABS) modules and Hydraulic Electronic Control Units (HECU) that may be prone to electrical shorts and a risk of vehicle fires.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Kia HECU recall and Hyundai ABS recall on September 26, urging owners to park their vehicles outside and away from any structures until they have been repaired.
While neither automaker has received any reports of accidents or injuries in relation to the recalls, Kia has become aware of at least one engine compartment fire, three HECU unit fires, and six incidents involving melting components due to overheated HECU modules. Hyundai has become aware of at least 21 vehicle fires in the United States, as well as at least 22 thermal events involving smoking, burning, and melting components caused by the leaking ABS modules.
According to the recall notices, the Kia HECU fuses may short circuit and overheat, which can result in a fire within the engine compartment. The Hyundai ABS modules may be prone to leaking brake fluid, which can cause an electrical short event and result in a vehicle fire.
Kia is still investigating the cause of the HECU electrical shorts, while Hyundai indicated that O-ring seals used in the ABS motor shafts may deteriorate over time and allow moisture, dirt, or dissolved metals to contaminate the brake fluid, which can result in a brake fluid leak.
Although Hyundai and Kia are separate automaker brands, they share the same parent company, and use many of the same suppliers and parts, including the same supplier of the affected ABS and HECU modules.
Kia HECU Module Recall
The Kia recall impacts approximately 1.73 million vehicles equipped with defective HECU modules, and includes the following make and model years:
- 2010 through 2019 Kia Borrego
- 2014 through 2016 Kia Cadenza
- 2010 through 2013 Kia Forte
- 2010 through 2013 Kia Forte Koup
- 2015 through 2018 Kia K900
- 2011 through 2015 Optima
- 2011 through 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid
- 2012 through 2017 Kia Rio
- 2010 through 2011 Kia Rondo
- 2011 through 2014 Kia Sorento
- 2011 through 2013 Kia Soul
- 2010 through 2013 Kia Sportage
The automaker expects to notify owners of the recall beginning on November 14, with instructions on how to schedule an appointment with a licensed Kia dealer to receive new HECU fuses. Owners who have already repaired their vehicles will be reimbursed for repair expenses.
For more information on the recall, owners may contact Kia customer service by phone at 1-800-333-4542 and reference recall number SC284. They may also contact the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline by phone at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or visit www.nhtsa.gov.
Hyundai ABS Module Recall
The Hyundai recall impacts approximately 1.64 million vehicles equipped with defective ABS modules, and includes the following make and model years:
- 2012 through 2015 Hyundai Accent
- 2012 through 2015 Hyundai Azera
- 2011 through 2015 Hyundai Elantra
- 2013 through 2015 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
- 2014 through 2015 Hyundai Equus
- 2011 through 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
- 2013 through 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
- 2011 through 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- 2010 through 2013 Hyundai Tucson
- 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
- 2012 through 2015 Hyundai Veloster
- 2010 through 2012 Hyundai Veracruz
The automaker expects to notify owners of the recall on November 21, with instructions on how to receive a free replacement of the ABS fuse from a licensed Hyundai dealer. Owners who have already repaired their vehicles will receive reimbursement for their expenses.
For more information on the recall, owners may contact Hyundai customer service by phone at 1-855-371-9460, and reference recall number 251. They may also contact the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline by phone at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or visit www.nhtsa.gov.
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Kia and Hyundai Vehicle Fire Problems
Kia and Hyundai have both been subject to multiple recalls since 2019, following thousands of consumer complaints involving electrical wires smoldering or melting, engine fires, oil pump fires, and other reports involving vehicle fires that have affected millions of vehicles.
The recalls involved problems with multiple vehicle parts, including ABS and HECU modules, oil pans, catalytic converters, tow hitches, and engine components, which may increase the risk of vehicle fires due to part deterioration, fuel and oil leaks.
Nearly 92,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles were subject to an electrical oil pump recall last month, after Kia became aware of at least six melting events, and Hyundai confirmed at least four thermal incidents involving the electrical oil pump assembly overheating and causing electrical damage.
The NHTSA launched an investigation into the defects and vehicle fire reports that revealed that both Kia and Hyundai reported false information and delayed reporting known safety defects for approximately 1.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty Theta II engines.
As a result of the reporting violations, the NHTSA obtained a consent order in 2020, forcing the automakers to pay $210 million in fines. In addition, Kia was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $70 million, which included an upfront payment of $27 million and an obligation to spend an additional $16 million to improve safety performance measures.
The investigation also resulted in the recall of more than 600,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles, after the ABS modules were found to leak brake fluid and short circuit, which resulted in the engine compartment fires.
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