Kia Motors, Hyundai recall 6 lakh cars due to potential engine fire risk
- Both companies decided to pull out some of their popular models after receiving complaints from customers of engine fire.
Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have announced recall of more than 6 lakh vehicles to fix a brake fluid leak that could lead to fire. According to the carmakers, the brake fluid leak could possibly cause electrical short that can lead to fires.
The recalls are the latest in a series of engine fire problems that have plagued the two carmakers and have touched off investigations by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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Kia Sorento SUVs (produced between 2014 and 2015), Kia Optima sedan (produced between 2013 and 2015) and Hyundai Santa Fe SUV (produced between 2013 and 2015) are the vehicles that have been recalled in US and Canada.
Hyundai said it had 15 reports of engine fires caused by the fluid leaks, while Kia said it had eight. Hyundai said it's not aware of any injuries, and Kia said it had none.
Hyundai said in a statement that there's no need to park vehicles outdoors before the problem is fixed, but if the anti-lock brake warning light comes on, owners should not drive their vehicles and should contact a dealer. They also should disconnect the 12-volt battery by removing the positive cable, the company said.
Dealers for both companies will inspect the control units for leaks and replace them if needed at no cost to owners.
Hyundai received its first complaint about an engine fire in a 2014 Santa Fe two years ago, and it started an investigation. Kia began investigating after getting a complaint of a melted control unit in a 2015 Sorento in February this year.
In February, Hyundai recalled nearly 430,000 small cars for a similar but apparently unrelated problem. The company said water can get into the antilock brake computer, cause an electrical short and possibly an engine fire. That recall covered certain 2006 through 2011 Elantra and 2007 through 2011 Elantra Touring vehicles. Hyundai said the latest recall is not related to the previous recalls or the US investigations.
In April last year, NHTSA began two new investigations into fires involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles after getting complaints of more than 3,100 fires and 103 injuries. The investigations include the 2011 through 2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe, the 2011 through 2014 Kia Optima and Sorento, and the 2010 through 2015 Kia Soul. The complaints came from consumers and from data provided by both carmakers.
NHTSA had previously said it would incorporate the non-crash fires into a 2017 investigation that examined recalls of Hyundai and Kia vehicles for engine failures. It opened the new probes “based on the agency's analysis of information received from multiple manufacturers, consumer complaints and other sources." Engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than 6 million vehicles since 2015, according to NHTSA documents.