Kia has recently issued a vehicle defect recall for about 27,030 Niro hybrid-electric hatchback vehicles. According to a news report, the recall involves 2017-2018 models manufactured between Nov. 1, 2016, and Sept. 11, 2017. Even though more than 27,000 vehicles have been recalled, Kia estimates that about 1 percent of these vehicles are defective.
Details of the Recall
The defect issue stems from the vehicle’s power relay assembly that is located under the rear seat, which also houses many of the electrical components. In some of these vehicles, the main relay might not have sufficient connection between its contacts. This leads to a situation where there is increased resistance and heat generation in the component. The heat generated may great enough to cause thermal damage to the rear seat and spark a fire in the process. It might also trigger a dashboard warning light or prevent the vehicle from starting.
The recall may be handled in two different ways. If the power relay assembly shows no signs of heat damage, the dealer will simply replace the main relay. If damage is found, the dealership will replace the entire power relay assembly at no charge to consumers. Even if vehicle owners have already paid to have this particular issue fixed, Kia has a process in place for owners to seek reimbursement. Look out for a recall notice in the mail in late November.
Dangers Posed by Car Fires
Kia has been in the news over vehicles that spontaneously catch fire. So far, 143 Kia and Hyundai owners have complained to federal officials that their vehicles’ engines inexplicably caught fire. About 40 percent of these vehicles were reportedly manufactured at Kia’s plant in Georgia. Federal officials are continuing to look into consumer complaints about these spontaneous fires. However, consumer advocates have criticized federal auto safety regulators for not being aggressive enough with this investigation.
Vehicle fires or even the risk of them are without a doubt a serious matter and truly worrisome for their owners. If you have suffered injuries as the result of a dangerous or defective auto, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, benefits, 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 better advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.