Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 591,000 vehicles in the United States to repair a brake fluid leak that could cause engine fires. According to an ABC News report, the recalls cover more than 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 to 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015. Also included in the recall are 151,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015.
History of Problems with Vehicle Fires
The automakers say that in these recalled vehicles, the brake fluid can leak inside the hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brakes, possibly causing an electrical short that can end up causing fires. Kia’s recall will begin Oct. 15 while Hyundai’s will start Oct. 23. When the recalls begin, dealers for both companies will inspect the control units for leaks and replace them if necessary at no cost to owners. Hyundai said it has received 15 reports of engine fires caused by fluid leaks and Kia says it has received eight such reports. Neither automaker reported any injuries or fatalities as a result of these fires.
Hyundai documents stated that the company got its first complaint about an engine fire in a 2014 Santa Fe in April 2018 and initiated an investigation. Kia started its probe after getting a complaint of a melted control unit in a 2015 Sorento last February. The recalls are the latest in a series of engine fire problems that have plagued Hyundai and Kia and have triggered probes by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In April 2019, NHTSA opened two new investigations into fires involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles after getting complaints of more than 3,100 fires and 103 injuries. Engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than six million vehicles since 2015, according to NHTSA documents. So far NHTSA investigations for fire hazards include several models of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Vehicle fires are without a doubt a serious matter. If you have suffered injuries as the result of a dangerous or defective auto, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Those who have lost loved ones due to defective vehicles may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the automaker seeking compensation as well. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.