Kia Optima Recall Issued Over Engine Fire, Stall Risks

This is the latest in a series of engine fire recalls which have been linked to both Kia and Hyundai vehicles in recent years

Federal highway safety officials have announced yet recall for Kia Optima vehicles, after the manufacturer identified that certain engine components may wear prematurely, increasing the risk of an engine stall and fire risk.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Kia Optima recall on November 5, warning owners that the connecting rod bearings may prematurely wear.

According to the recall notice, Kia has identified that the connecting rod bearings within the engine may become damaged for various reasons, potentially resulting in an engine stall. In addition, Kia indicates that customers may hear an abnormal knocking noise from the engine if the problem develops. If the vehicle continues to be driven under this condition, the connecting rods could puncture the engine block, allowing oil to leak on to hot surfaces, potentially creating a fire risk.

Vehicles impacted by the recall include certain model year 2017 through 2018 Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-In Hybrid vehicles manufactured by Kia Motors America from June 27, 216 through April 27, 2018. NHTSA officials indicated the recall impacts approximately 10,731 vehicles distributed for sale throughout the U.S. at licensed Kia dealers.

Kia Motors announced it will begin sending notification letters to owners by November 29, with instructions on how to have their vehicles inspected a local dealer. According to the remedy outlined by Kia, dealers will be instructed to inspect the engine for bearing damage and replace the engine if necessary. All vehicles will also receive a software upgrade which will install a Knock Sensor Detection System.

Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall are being asked to contact Kia customers service at 1-800-333-4542 and reference the recall campaign number SC218.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

The recall comes amid an ongoing series of Kia vehicle fire recalls. In 2020, Kia recalled more than 440,000 Optima and Sorento vehicles following at least 23 reported fires occurring in the engine compartments of vehicles equipped with similar anti-lock brakes hydraulic control units.

Concerns over Kia vehicle fires first arose after the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer vehicle safety watchdog, identified more than 3,000 customer reports of Hyundai and Kia engine fires, believed to be caused by faulty oil pans, catalytic converters, fuel leaks, oil leaks, and other problems which increased the risk of a vehicle fire.

Shortly after the Center petitioned the NHTSA, the agency opened a formal investigation in early 2019 following reports of more than 3,100 fires, 103 injuries and one death linked to Kia engine compartment fires

The investigation resulted in the NHTSA seeking 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.

One of the latest Kia and Sorento fire recalls was announced in May, after the manufacturer received eight additional warranty claims indicating the hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU) smoldered or caught on fire.

The recall prompted NHTSA officials to release a warning customers to keep the vehicles parked outside and away from buildings or structures to prevent the risk of fires spreading.

Image Credit: Image via dcwcreations /


Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Articles