Three new recalls were posted to the NHTSA website Thursday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posted a new string of recalls for fire risks and engine failures in certain Hyundai and Kia models. The two companies have recalled vehicles over the past three years for these problems. Now, the latest recalls add more than half a million cars to the list. Over the past few years, hundreds of complaints about engine fires have rolled in from around the country, according to a recent Associated Press report.
The largest stint of recalls in Thursday’s round involve the Kia Soul. NHTSA documents show that high exhaust gas temperatures can damage the cars’ catalytic converters. That can result in abnormal combustion and damage to the pistons and connecting rods. If a connecting rod fails, it can pierce the engine block, causing oil leaks and potentially starting a fire. This recall affects 379,000 Souls with 1.6-liter engines built between July 8, 2011 and August 11, 2016.
Kia’s number for this recall is SC176.
Hyundai and Kia are also recalling their compact crossovers for engine oil pan leaks. The NHTSA identified the leaks as a fire concern in Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage models. 120,000 Tucsons built between 2011 and 2013 and 32,296 Sportages built between 2011 and 2012 are affected under this recall.
Kia’s number for the Sportage recall is SC174.
Hyundai’s number for the Tucson recall is 181.
Recall campaign details
The company will sent out letters to affected Kia Soul owners with 1.6-liter engines starting April 12. Hyundai spokesperson Jim Trainor said Hyundai’s version of the 1.6-liter engine, like what’s in the Hyundai Accent and Elantra use different control software to prevent the catalytic converter from overheating, according to the AP report. Kia said it would also look into other models fitted with the 1.6-liter engine.
As for the Tucson and Sportage recalls, the companies are still working on a fix. Hyundai owners will be notified starting March 29, while Kia owners will get letters from April 10, 2019.
The Center for Auto Safety sent a letter to legislators Wednesday. They urged Congress to take action that holds the two companies responsible for the fire risks. “The better-late-than-never recall of Kia Souls hopefully will remedy this fire-causing defect,” said Jason Levine, the center’s executive director. “Yet one has to wonder why Kia’s initial reaction was to deny the validity of our petition, particularly as there were dozens of reports of fires involving these vehicles all the way back to last summer.”
Last October, we reported that the center called for action on other engine fire recalls for Hyundai and Kia models. Owners can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-(888) 327-4236 for more information.
Hyundai also has a customer service line at 1-(855) 371-9460. Kia’s customer service line is 1-(800) 333-4542