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Federal Auto Regulator To Investigate Hyundai, Kia Vehicle Fires 

March 2019 – NPR — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened new investigations into fires in five Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motor Corp. vehicle models, following reports of thousands of fires and ­­more than a 100 injuries and one death.

The federal auto safety regulator announced on Monday that it had launched the two investigations into nearly 3 million vehicles in response to a petition from the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group. The probes come on the heels of several years of recalls for both companies over fire risks.

The cars included in the scope of the new investigations by the NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations are Hyundai’s 2011-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe, Kia’s 2011-2014 Optima and Sorento, and Kia’s 2010-2015 Soul.

Altogether, the agency and the pair of South Korea-based vehicle manufacturers have received 3,125 reports of fires that were not sparked by a collision, according to the NHTSA. The agency’s documents also show one recorded fatality.

According to the NHTSA, the investigations will “assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of alleged defects” relating to “non-collision” fires in the vehicles.

The center originally asked the agency to look into the Optima, Sorento, Sonata and Santa Fe vehicles in June 2018, then added the Soul to the list of problematic vehicles the next month. It has also asked Congress to investigate the fires.

Prompted by the center’s original petition, the Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed insurance records and found that certain years of the models under investigation had “significantly higher” rates of non-crash fire claims than comparable vehicles. The institute’s findings suggested that the problem was related to the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter “Theta II” engines, both of which were correlated with elevated claim rates in the Hyundai and Kia models.

The companies have issued several recalls since 2015 as a result of engine failures and fires. In February, the companies recalled more than 500,000 vehicles, bringing the total number of vehicles recalled to over 2.3 million, according to Reuters. February’s number included several hundred thousand Kia Souls, The Associated Press reports, which Kia had been investigating after the center sent its petition to federal regulators last year.


Hyundai, Kia recalls over 500K vehicles for fire risk

February 2019 – Detroit News — Hyundai and Kia have added more than a half-million vehicles to 3 ½-year string of U.S. recalls for engine failures and fires.

Three recalls released Thursday by the government add new problems and vehicles to the Korean automakers’ list of safety woes, which have brought hundreds of complaints about fires from across the nation.

The companies have now recalled nearly 2.4 million vehicles for fire and engine failure problems since September of 2015, and they are under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for potentially being slow to fix faulty vehicles.

The largest of three recalls posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website Thursday covers nearly 379,000 Kia Soul small SUVs from 2012 through 2016 with 1.6-liter engines. Documents show that high exhaust gas temperatures can damage the catalytic converters, which control pollution. That can cause abnormal combustion and damage pistons and connecting rods. A failed connecting rod can pierce the engine block and cause oil leaks that can cause fires.

In addition, Hyundai and Kia are recalling 152,000 Tuscon SUVs from 2011 to 2013 and Sportage SUVs from 2011 and 2012 to fix an engine oil pan leak that also can cause fires.


RECALL SUBJECT: Ignition Timing may Damage Engine , 1 INVESTIGATION(S)
Report Receipt Date: MAR 14, 2019
NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V204000
Component(s): ELECTRICAL SYSTEM , ENGINE
Potential Number of Units Affected: 16,487
Manufacturer: Hyundai Motor America

MARCH 2019 — Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is recalling certain 2013 Veloster vehicles that are equipped with 1.6 liter turbo engines. The engine management software may cause premature ignition (pre-ignition) of the air/fuel mixture in the engine. The resulting excessive cylinder pressure may damage the engine. Engine damage can increase the risk of a fire or cause an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will update the engine management software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 13, 2019. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 182. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


RECALL SUBJECT:: Overheated Catalytic Converter May Damage Engine
Report Receipt Date: FEB 22, 2019
NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V120000
Component(s):: ENGINE , ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Potential Number of Units Affected: 378,967
Manufacturer: Kia Motors America

FEBRUARY 2019 — Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2012-2016 Kia Soul vehicles equipped with 1.6L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines. High exhaust gas temperatures may damage the catalytic converter, possibly resulting in abnormal engine combustion and damage to one or more of the engine’s pistons and possible piston connecting rod failure. Piston damage may result in an engine stall, increasing the risk of crash. A broken connecting rod may puncture the engine block allowing engine oil to escape. The leaking oil may contact the exhaust, increasing the risk of a fire. Kia will notify owners, and dealers will upgrade the Catalytic Overheating Protection Engine Control Unit logic to prevent overheating of the catalytic converter. In addition, the catalytic converter will also be replaced if it has been damaged. Depending on the extent of any damage, the engine may also be replaced, free of charge. Kia’s number for this recall is SC176. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


RECALL SUBJECT:: Engine Oil Leak May Cause Stall or Fire
Report Receipt Date: FEB 15, 2019
NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V101000
Component(s):: ENGINE
Potential Number of Units Affected: 32,296
Manufacturer: Kia Motors America

FEBRUARY 2019 — Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2011-2012 Kia Sportage vehicles. The engine oil pan may leak and, if not addressed, the loss of oil may result in engine damage. A damaged engine can increase the risk of a fire or it can cause an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. The remedy for this recall is still under development. Kia will notify owners beginning April 10,2019. Kia’s number for this recall is SC174. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov


RECALL SUBJECT:: Engine Oil Leak May Cause Stall or Fire
Report Receipt Date: FEB 05, 2019
NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V063000
Component(s):: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Potential Number of Units Affected: 120,000
Manufacturer: Hyundai Motor America

FEBRUARY 2019 — Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is recalling certain 2011-2013 Tucson vehicles. The engine oil pan may leak and, if not addressed, the loss of oil may result in engine damage. A damaged engine can increase the risk of a fire or it can cause an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. The remedy for this recall is still under development. Hyundai will send owners an interim letter informing them of the issue beginning March 29, 2019. A second notification will be sent when the remedy is available. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 181. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


MORE RECALL INFO:  Kia   Hyundai


Center for Auto Safety Demands Recall of 2.9 Million 2011-2014 Kia and Hyundai Vehicles

October 2018 – Center for Auto Safety – Kia and Hyundai Non-Crash Fires

On October 12, 2018, the Center for Auto Safety called for an immediate recall—based on the more than 230 consumer complaints of Kia and Hyundai vehicles bursting into flames—of all 2011-2014 Kia Optima, Kia Sorento, Kia Soul, Hyundai Sonata, and Hyundai Santa Fe, and all 2010-2015 Kia Souls, a total of almost 3 million vehicles.

The Center has also petitioned NHTSA to open an investigation into these non-collision fires and the hundreds of additional complaints of melted wires in the engine bay, smoke, and burning odors emanating from these vehicles.

VEHICLES: 

  • 2011-2014 Kia Optima, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Sonata, and Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2010-2015 Kia Souls

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