KIA again recalling vehicles over engine fire risk

KIA again recalling vehicles over engine fire risk
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Automobile manufacturer Kia is issuing another recall for hundreds of thousands of its vehicles due to risks of engine fires.

Kia is recalling an additional 440,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. as they examine the cars following reports of fires, telling owners of the vehicles to park them outside and away from structures in case of a blaze that could occur even when the car isn’t running, according to the recall notice shared with The Hill.

The Korean automaker’s recall includes Optima sedans from 2013 to 2015, as well as Sorento SUVs from 2014 to 2015.

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These same models were included in a December recall of 295,000 vehicles due to reports of compartment fires erupting while driving.

Kia in March again announced it would be recalling vehicles due to fire risks. The move included more than 380,000 vehicles, such as the 2017 through 2021 Sportage SUVs and 2017 through 2019 Cadenza sedans.

Kia said Tuesday that the risk of fire in the vehicles could increase with a brake fluid leak into a control computer, which can cause an electrical shortage both while parked and driving.

The automobile manufacturer said warning signs of a fire in these vehicles could include illumination of the MIL or ABS warning lights in its cars, a burning or melting smell, or smoke coming from the engine.

The car owners impacted by the latest recall will be notified with letters starting July 2, Kia said, which will include "instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia dealer to be inspected for leaking brake fluid in the HECU [Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit]."

Kia said in the document that dealers will install a new fuse in the vehicles that has a lower amperage rating, thus reducing the risk for a fire to break out.

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The automaker said that in total, it had received reports of fires involving “isolated melting” in six Optimas and two Sorentos, including in one Optima that had received a fix following last year’s recall.

None of the fires contained reports of crashes or injuries resulting from the malfunctions, Kia said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating engine fires in Kia and Hyundai cars since 2019 following multiple complaints of fires, injuries and one death.

Both automakers were fined in 2020 for failing to recall certain cars, as well as providing inaccurate information on the recalls.