Amid concerns an electrical short in the antilock brake system may cause Hyundai Tucscon SUVs to unexpectedly catch on fire, the automaker is warning more than 471,000 owners to make sure their vehicle is parked outside until it is repaired.
Hyundai announced an expansion of a Tucson SUV recall on January 8, as part of an ongoing investigation that determined older SUV’s may contain defects in the antilock brake system computers, which could malfunction internally and cause an electrical short.
The problems initially resulted in a recall for Hyundai Tucson vehicles in September 2020, which impacted only about 180,000 vehicles from the 2019 through 2021 model years. That action was taken after dozens of reports involving SUV fires, and an investigation which suggested the anti-lock brake Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) could corrode internally and cause an electrical short, possibly resulting in an engine compartment fire.
Since the initial recall, Hyundai has received additional reports of overheating and fires from customers involving older vehicles, leading the manufacturer to add another 471,000 vehicles from the 2016 through 2018 model years, as well as 2020 and 2021 model years, which could be subject to similar fire risks.
Owners are being instructed to keep the vehicles parked outside and away from structures until a Hyundai recall repair is complete, warning the vehicles could catch on fire even when the engine is not turned on.
Hyundai announced it will begin notifying registered owners of the recall, and will provide instructions on how to schedule repair at their local dealer. Dealers will be instructed to replace the HECU, free of charge. Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall are being asked to contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-371-9460.
Hyundai and Kia have been at the center of several fire-related issues impacting more than a million vehicles equipped with Theta II engines that have had issues related to faulty oil pans, catalytic converters, fuel leaks, oil leaks, and other problems that increased the risk of a vehicle fire.
On November 27, 2020, the U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded an investigation of Hyundai Motor America, Inc. and Kia Motors America, Inc. untimely recall on these vehicles, ultimately resulting in a consent order, requiring the auto manufacturers to pay a $210 million civil penalty.