The Korean automakers are recalling more than 281,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of the problem, but they haven’t figured out how to fix it yet. The automakers reported 25 fires or melting incidents in the U.S. and Canada caused by the problem, but no crashes or injuries.
The recalls cover more than 245,000 Hyundai Palisade and over 36,000 Kia Telluride SUVs from the 2020 through 2022 model years.
In documents posted Tuesday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the companies said debris and moisture can accumulate in a circuit board in the tow hitch wiring. That can cause an electrical short, which can lead to a fire.
Hyundai said that dealers will inspect the wiring and remove a fuse as an interim repair. Kia doesn’t have an interim repair. The companies say a final repair is being developed.
In addition, dealers from both automakers have stopped selling the affected SUVs until repairs are made.