Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 3.4 million vehicles in the U.S. due to the risk of engine compartment fires. The recall covers multiple car and SUV models from 2010 to 2019, including Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV and Kia’s Sorrento SUV. The recall is being issued because the anti-lock brake control module can leak fluid and cause an electrical short, potentially leading to fires. Owners are advised to park their vehicles outside and away from structures until repairs are completed.
Hyundai reported 21 fires and 22 “thermal incidents,” while Kia reported 10 fires and melting incidents in the affected vehicles in the U.S. However, no crashes or injuries have been reported. The companies will replace the anti-lock brake fuse at no cost to owners. The cause of the fluid leaks and the reason for the delay in notifying owners are still unclear.
Critics, such as Michael Brooks from the Center for Auto Safety, question why the companies aren’t fixing the underlying problem causing the leaks and why owners aren’t being immediately warned of the serious risk. It remains to be seen if the replacement of the fuse will effectively address the safety concern. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will monitor the repairs and initiate an investigation if necessary. Meanwhile, NHTSA advises owners to park their vehicles outdoors until the necessary repairs are made.
This recall adds to the fire-related issues that have plagued Hyundai and Kia since 2015. The automakers have already recalled over 9.2 million vehicles for fire and engine problems. NHTSA is currently investigating 3 million vehicles made by Hyundai and Kia from 2011 to 2016, following 161 complaints of engine fires. The fines imposed on Hyundai and Kia in 2020 for slow recalls indicate a history of delayed actions related to safety concerns.