Hyundai and Kia are recalling about 90,000 cars and SUVs in the United States and warning owners to park them outside and away from structures and other vehicles because they could catch fire.
The recall is just the latest in a long and large series of other fire-related recalls of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the past few years for a number of reasons.
This recall, affecting several different models, stems from an issue with the electronics in a transmission oil pump, a part of the vehicle’s “Idle Stop and Go” system. The system shuts the engine down whenever the vehicle comes to a stop, then starts again when the driver lifts their foot off the brake. It’s a feature common in many newer models from different automakers.
But in the recalled Hyundais and Kias some electronic components can overheat, causing damage that increases the risk of “localized melting,” the automaker said, and of fire.
Hyundai is aware of at least 4 “thermal incidents” related to this issue but no confirmed crashes or injuries. Kia is aware of six incidents of “localized melting” but, also, no crashes, injuries or deaths resulting from the problem, according to statements from both.
Drivers are advised to watch for signs of a possible problem including various warning lights in the gauge cluster. Drivers should also watch for smoke coming from underneath the vehicle as well as burning or melting odors, according to documents posted to the National Highway Traffic Administration’s auto safety website.
New models involved
Hyundai models involved in the recall are 2023 Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, Tucson and Kona as well as 2023 and 2024 Palisade. There are a total of more than 52,000 Hyundai vehicles in the US recall and an additional roughly 11,000 in Canada.
Kia is recalling an additional nearly 40,000 vehicles in the US. These include 2023 Kia Soul and Sportage vehicles and 2023 and 2024 Kia Seltos models.
The companies will begin notifying owners about the recall beginning in late September. Owners will be advised to take their vehicles to a dealership to have the oil pump replaced, if necessary, at no charge.
Last year, owners of nearly 500,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles were, similarly, warned to park their vehicles away from structures because of a risk of fire. In that case, there was a problem with anti-lock brake control electronics.
Hyundai and Kia also recalled over 250,000 vehicles in 2022, again warning drivers to park outside, because of the potential for fire from a trailer hitch wiring issue.
In a 2021 recall, owners of 380,000 Kia vehicles were also warned to park outside because there was a risk of fire from electronic circuits under the hood.
In 2020, Kia recalled 295,000 vehicles because they could catch fire while driving because of fuel leaks. Hyundai also recalled 82,000 electric vehicles in in 2021 because a defect in the lithium-ion batteries could cause them to spontaneously start burning even when the vehicles were parked.
Kia and Hyundai operate as separate companies in the United States, but both are part of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, and their vehicles share many components.
Both companies have also been the subject of an extraordinary rise in auto thefts because many of their earlier models lacked common anti-theft technology. Both Hyundai and Kia have been taking steps to equip those models with anti-theft hardware and software.
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