Hyundai, Kia recall vehicles for leaks that can cause fires
04 September 2020
Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 600,000 vehicles in the US and Canada to fix a brake fluid leak that it said could cause engine fires.
The recalls cover more than 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 through 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015. Hyundai is recalling 203,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015.
The automakers say brake fluid can leak inside a hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brakes, possibly causing an electrical short that can lead to fires. Both carmakers said no injuries due to passengers have been reported.
Kia's recall will start on 15 October, while Hyundai's will start on 23 October. Dealers for both companies will inspect the control units for leaks and replace them if needed at no cost to owners.
US safety regulator’s report citing documents posted by Hyundai said it had 15 incidents of engine fires caused by the fluid leaks, while Kia had reported eight such incidents.
Hyundai said in a statement that there's no need to park vehicles outdoors before the problem is fixed, but if the anti-lock brake warning light comes on, owners should not drive their vehicles and should contact a dealer. They also should disconnect the 12-volt battery by removing the positive cable, the company said.
Hyundai documents said the company received its first complaint about an engine fire in a 2014 Santa Fe in April of 2018, and it started an investigation. Kia began investigating after getting a complaint of a melted control unit in a 2015 Sorento last February.
In February, Hyundai recalled nearly 430,000 small cars for a similar type of problem. The company said water can get into the antilock brake computer, cause an electrical short and possibly an engine fire. That recall covered certain 2006 through 2011 Elantra and 2007 through 2011 Elantra Touring vehicles.
The company then said the electrical short could cause a fire even when the cars are turned off.
Hyundai said the latest recall is unrelated to the previous recalls or the US investigations. The company said it monitors safety concerns, including non-collision fires “and acts swiftly to recall any vehicles with safety related defects."