Kia Optima, Sorento Recall Issued Over Fire Risks, Owners Urged To Park Vehicles Outside

Following a string of recalls issued due to a risk of engine fires, owners of more than 400,000 Kia Optima and Sorento models are being warned to park their cars outside and away from structures, due to a risks that they may catch on fire even when turned off.

The latest Kia recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on May 17, due to a risk brake fluid may leak into the electrical components of the braking module in certain Optima and Sorento vehicles, increasing the risk of a short-circuit and fire event.

According to the manufacturer, the recalled Kia vehicles are equipped with a similar hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU) supplied by Mando America Corporation. An internal investigation by the Korean auto maker and its parts supplier determined the brake fluid leak issue is the result of “suspected quality deviation issues,” which occurred during the manufacturing process.

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While no injuries or crashes have been reported to date, Kia has become aware of at least eight warranty claims indicating the HECU overheated, smoldered or caught on fire.

The recall involves an estimated 440,370 model year 2013 through 2015 Optima vehicles, which were manufactured between July 12, 2013 and October 2, 2015, as well as 2014 and 2015 Sorento vehicles manufactured between June 17, 2013 and December 11, 2014.

Customers are being instructed to keep the vehicles parked outdoors and away from structures until the recall remedy can be applied, because fires could happen whether the engine is turned on or off.

Kia officials have announced they will begin notifying customers of the recall with a mailed notice and accompanying instructions on how to schedule a free repair at their local dealer. Those dealers will be instructed to install a new multi-fuse, inspect the HECU for leaks and replace the HECU if necessary.

Ongoing Vehicle Fire Problems

The same vehicles included in the current warning were also subject to a Kia Optima and Sorento recall last year, which was issued on August 27, following at least 23 reported fires occurring in the engine compartments of vehicles equipped with similar anti-lock brakes hydraulic control units.

That recall involved 440,370 model year 2013 Kia Optima and 2014 through 15 Kia Sorento models, along with an additional 151,205 model year 2013 through 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport vehicles.

While Kia and Hyundai are separate brands, they share the same parent company, commonly resulting in similar designs, engineering and part suppliers to overlap.

Concerns over Kia and Hyundai vehicle fires first arose after the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer vehicle safety watchdog, presented 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.

Image Credit: Image via dcwcreations / Shutterstock.com

4 Comments

  • AmandaFebruary 7, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    So when you call in you have to speak to an agent who is versed with the fire recall issue… this is difficult to get done because they will give you the run around but if you are patient you will get ahold of someone who is versed in this issue… I have a case file number now, waiting on how they will compensate me but luckily at least I’m fully insured, hopefully they’ll give some kind of credit t[Show More]So when you call in you have to speak to an agent who is versed with the fire recall issue… this is difficult to get done because they will give you the run around but if you are patient you will get ahold of someone who is versed in this issue… I have a case file number now, waiting on how they will compensate me but luckily at least I’m fully insured, hopefully they’ll give some kind of credit towards a new vehicle or a new vehicle

  • UdondaSeptember 2, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    My Kia put me down at the light with no signs just cut off and wouldn't started. My engine light fired. Drove my car all week without any problems. What's my next step because everyone that I know that have one has gotten a motor put in except me.

  • BarbJune 20, 2021 at 10:14 am

    My 2015 optima suddenly stop working and an engine fire occurred this happened with no sign and suggestions what the next step should be?

  • Mary annJune 17, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    On 5/25/21 my car suddenly lost power and then an engine fire was noted. It was an optima 2014 and Kia pretended to want to assess and determine if they owned the problem but getting no where and no answers. Insurance per Kia wants to total it. I sense this isn’t going to work well in my favor. Please guide and respond.

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