Kia has recalled almost 380,000 Sportage SUVs and Cadenza sedans in the U.S. because there is a risk of a fire in the engine compartment. The Korean automaker urges owners to park their vehicles outdoors and away from structures until they are fixed.
According to the company, there could be a short-circuit in the hydraulic electronic brake control unit. This could create excessive current, which could increase the risk of fire. So far, there have been no reports of fires, crashes or injuries from this problem.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating Kia and Hyundai, which are related companies, for engine fire issues since 2019. When that investigation began, NHTSA said that there had been over 3,100 fires reported, along with 103 injuries and one death, from other Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
In November, NHTSA ordered Kia and Hyundai to pay $137 million in fines and make safety improvements because the companies had failed to promptly recall over 1 million vehicles with engines that could fail. Kia, specifically, is to pay a $27-million fine and invest $16 million in safety measures. If Kia fails to meet safety conditions in the future, it would owe an additional $27 million.
According to NHTSA documents obtained by the Associated Press, over 6 million Kias and Hyundais have experienced engine failure or fires since 2015.
You might notice these warning signs
According to the Associated Press, owners might notice tire pressure, anti-lock brake or other warning signals on the dashboard before the short-circuit occurs. You might also smell a burning or melting odor.
Once the recall has begun, Kia dealers will offer a free repair. They will replace the fuses in the electrical junction box. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified beginning on April 30.
Vehicles affected by this recall
- 2017-2021 Kia Sportage SUVs
- 2017-2019 Kia Cadenza sedans
According to Kia, the affected vehicles are not equipped with the Smart Cruise Control system.
To find out immediately whether your vehicle has been recalled, check NHTSA’s recall website. You will need your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is available on most titles and insurance documents. It is also printed in several places on the car, including inside the driver’s door.
If your vehicle is affected, be sure to park it outside and away from anything that could catch fire. Report your vehicle to the dealership for a free repair.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a faulty Kia or Hyundai vehicle, talk to an attorney who handles product liability law.