Hyundai, Kia Tell Owners of Nearly 485,000 Recalled Vehicles To Park Outside Due to Fire Risk

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
February 9, 2022 Updated: February 9, 2022

Hyundai and Kia are urging customers of nearly 485,000 recalled vehicles to park outside and away from other vehicles or structures due to a risk of fire, even when engines are turned off.

According to a statement from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the two Korean automakers have identified an increased risk of an engine compartment fire.

The manufacturers believe an electrical component in the anti-lock brake system may experience an internal electrical short circuit that could increase the risk of fire both while the vehicles are being driven or parked, although the cause remains unknown.

The recalls are another in a long string of fire and engine failure problems that have dogged the companies for the past six years.

The recalled Kia vehicles are certain Kia Sportage SUVs from 2014 through 2016, and the 2016 through 2018 K900 sedan. Hyundai has recalled certain 2016 through 2018 Santa Fe SUVs, 2017 and 2018 Santa Fe Sports, the 2019 Santa Fe XL, and 2014 and 2015 Tucson SUVs.

There have been 11 reports of fires in the United States but no reports of injuries, according to Hyundai and Kia.

“Kia and Hyundai will notify owners by mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia or Hyundai dealer for a free repair,” the NHTSA said.

The NHTSA statement said dealers will install a fuse designed to mitigate the risk of fire. Owners of the affected vehicles should park outside and away from structures and other vehicles until repairs are made, it said

Hyundai dealers will inspect the control modules and replace them if needed. Hyundai will mail notification letters starting April 5, and Kia will send them March 31.

The NHTSA said customers can visit www.nhtsa.gov and enter their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if their vehicle is among those being recalled.

Hyundai said it will “act swiftly and efficiently” to recall a vehicle if it finds a safety defect, and will fix the problem free of charge.

Some warning signs of a vehicle fire include smelling something burning or melting, visible smoke coming from the engine compartment, and the antilock brake warning light turning on, Kia said.

It comes after the NHTSA launched a probe in 2019 into previous engine fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The automakers were asked to pay $137 million in fines and for safety improvements in November 2020.

Michael Brooks, chief counsel for the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said the recalls Tuesday are different from the engine failure problem that caused most of the previous Hyundai-Kia fire recalls. “Although NHTSA has the authority to order a recall and potentially a buyback of all affected vehicles, the separate fire defects that have plagued millions of Hyundai vehicles across multiple model years makes this a very difficult task,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.