(CTN NEWS) – In a recent development that has raised concerns among Hyundai and Kia vehicle owners, nearly 3.4 million vehicles in the United States are being recalled due to the risk of engine compartment fires.
Both automakers have advised owners to park their vehicles outside and away from structures until the necessary repairs are completed.
This massive recall covers various car and SUV models spanning the 2010 through 2019 model years, including popular vehicles like Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV and Kia’s Sorrento SUV.
The Cause of the Recall
According to documents released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall is related to a specific component: the anti-lock brake control module.
This module has the potential to leak fluid, leading to an electrical short circuit that can trigger a fire, either when the vehicle is parked or while it is being driven.
Both Hyundai and Kia are committed to addressing this issue promptly and have offered a solution to affected vehicle owners. Dealerships will replace the anti-lock brake fuse free of charge, ensuring the safety of their customers.
The notification process for this recall is set to begin in mid-November, with Kia sending letters starting on November 14 and Hyundai following suit on November 21.
Hyundai has reported 21 fires and 22 “thermal incidents,” which include incidents of smoke, burning, and melting of parts in the affected vehicles in the U.S. Kia, on the other hand, has reported 10 fires and melting incidents.
Thankfully, neither automaker has documented any crashes or injuries related to these incidents.
Concerns and Questions
Despite the proposed remedy, some experts and organizations have raised concerns regarding the recall. Michael Brooks, the executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, has questioned why the companies are not addressing the root cause of the issue, specifically the fluid leaks, and why they are taking so long to notify vehicle owners.
Brooks raises a valid point, suggesting that merely replacing a fuse does not eliminate the potential for brake fluid leakage, which could pose a continuing safety concern.
Furthermore, he questions why interim letters warning owners of the serious problem are not being sent immediately.
Statements from Hyundai and Kia do not provide clear answers to these concerns, leaving some uncertainty about the effectiveness of the recall process.
NHTSA, the regulatory authority, has stated that automakers can choose their remedy for fixing a defect, but they will closely monitor the effectiveness of the repairs and investigate further if necessary.
The Affected Models
A wide range of models from both Hyundai and Kia fall under this recall, including vehicles from various model years
. Owners are advised to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website with their vehicle’s 17-digit identification number to determine if their vehicle is affected.
A History of Fire-Related Issues
It’s worth noting that Hyundai and Kia have faced fire-related problems since 2015. The Center for Auto Safety has been instrumental in pushing for recalls, successfully petitioning U.S. regulators in 2018.
According to their records, the automakers have recalled over 9.2 million vehicles for fire and engine-related issues, not including the most recent recall.
Furthermore, NHTSA is currently investigating 3 million vehicles manufactured by Hyundai and Kia from the 2011 through 2016 model years due to 161 complaints of engine fires, some of which occurred in vehicles that had already been recalled.
While Hyundai and Kia are taking steps to address the potential fire risk in their vehicles through a recall and replacement of the anti-lock brake fuse, concerns remain about the adequacy of the solution and the delay in notifying owners.
Vehicle owners should stay informed about this recall and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety until repairs are completed.
Additionally, ongoing scrutiny by NHTSA and consumer advocates underscores the importance of vehicle safety and timely recall resolutions in the automotive industry.
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