Hyundai, Kia Recall Issued Over Brake Light Switch, Air Bags

A recall has been issued for roughly 1.9 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles that may have faulty brake light switches and air bags, posing a potential crash hazard and increased risk of serious injuries for drivers and passengers. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the brake light switch recall (PDF) on April 1, indicating that the recall will impact at least 1.7 million Hyundai and Kia models made between 2007 and 2011.

NHTSA also announced a Hyundai recall (PDF) for an additional 194,000 of the 2011 through 2013 Elantra compact vehicles, due to a bracket potentially coming loose in the air bag deployment procedure.

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Vehicles affected by the brake light switch recall include the Hyundai 2007 through 2009 Accents and Tucson models, 2007 through 2010 Elantras, 2010 and 2011 Genesis Coupes, 2007 through 2011 Santa Fes, 2011 Sonatas, and 2008 through 2009 Veracruzes. The Kia models included in the brake light switch recall are the 2011 Optimas, 2007 through 2010 Rondos and Sportages, 2010 to 2011 Souls, 2007 through 2011 Sorentos, and the 2007 Sedonas.

NHTSA announced the faulty brake light switch can lead to many safety hazards when the bulbs do not illuminate upon the brake being engaged. According to government officials, if the lights fail the following hazards may occur; the brake lights may not go on, the cruise control may not turn off when the driver presses the brake, a feature that prevents the driver from shifting out of park when their foot is not on the brake may fail, and the “push-to-start-” feature may fail.

To date, no known injuries or accidents have been related to the faulty brake light switch.

The Hyundai Elantra 2011 through 2013 air bag recall was issued as a result of a faulty support bracket, which may come loose on the side air bags, posing a laceration hazard to the driver. When the air bag is inflated, the bracket can deploy towards the driver with the air bag.

A report in April 2012 indicated a driver’s left ear was sliced due to the bracket striking them when the air bag deployed. The incident was investigated and it was later determined that technicians in the U.S. that installed automatic rear-view dimming mirrors may have dislodged the bracket.

Hyundai and Kia dealers are preparing to notify owners of the brake light switch in the next two months and will offer replace the switches free of charge at a certified dealer. For the air bag recall, Hyundai will notify owners in the second quarter and plan to install adhesive strips to keep the bracket stationary during airbag deployment.

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