Kia is telling owners of nearly 380,000 vehicles in the United States to park outdoors because of the risk of an engine compartment fire. According to an ABC news report, the Korean automaker is recalling certain 2017 through 2021 Sportage SUVs and 2017 through 2019 Cadenza sedans to fix the problem. Owners are asked to park their vehicles away from structures until recall repairs can be made.
The Problem with These Vehicles
The company says a short circuit in the hydraulic electronic brake control unit (HECU) can cause excessive current, increasing the fire risk. Before this happens, drivers may notice various illuminated warning lights on the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, including the tire pressure warning light, ABS warning light and/or the check engine light. There may also be a burning or melting smell or smoke from the engine compartment.
In documents submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Kia says that it is unaware of any fires, crashes, injuries or fatalities in the United States related to this recall. But, it does follow multiple other recalls involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles. While they are separate brands, they exist under the same parent company. Kia and Hyundai vehicles share parts, design, and engineering. Kia has also said that these recalled vehicles are not equipped with Kia’s Smart Cruise Control System. Vehicle owners will begin getting notifications starting April 30. Dealers will replace fuses in electrical junction boxes to remedy the problem.
History of Issues
NHTSA began to investigate Kia and Hyundai engine fires in 2019. The federal regulator opened the investigation after the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety petitioned to seek the probe. When the inquiry began, NHTSA said it had owner complaints of more than 3,100 fires, 103 injuries and one death.
In November, NHTSA announced that Kia and Hyundai must pay $137 million in fines for safety improvements because they were too slow to recall more than 1 million vehicles with engines that can fail. According to NHTSA documents, engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than 6 million vehicles since 2015.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to defective autos, you may receive compensation for the injuries and damages losses suffered. Injured victims and their families would be well advised to contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing their legal rights.