Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 600,000 cars in the U.S. because of a defect that the companies say could cause the vehicles to catch fire.
The affected vehicles are the 2013 through 2015 model years and include 283,803 Kia Optimas from 2013 to 2015 and 156,567 Kia Sorentos from 2014 and 2015. The recall involves 151,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from the 2013 to 2015 model years.
The jointly owned companies say the problem is caused when brake fluid leaks inside a hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brakes. When that happens, it can cause an electrical short which can spark a fire. It’s not exactly a new issue because the automakers have been investigating it since 2018.
Hyundai has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it has received 15 reports of engine fires caused by the leak. Kia has reported eight such incidents. Fortunately, neither brand has reported any injuries.
Earlier this year Hyundai recalled 429,686 model year 2006 through 2011 Elantras and model year 2007 through 2011 Elantra Touring vehicles for a similar fire-related issue.
The company said moisture could enter the anti-lock brake (ABS) module and result in an electrical short. The company cautioned that an electrical short within the ABS module may cause an engine compartment fire, even when the car is turned off, increasing the risk of an injury.
In the most recent recall, Hyundai-Kia said it would notify owners of affected vehicles and recommend that they take the cars to a dealer for inspection and repair.
In the meantime, owners who want to find out if their car is part of the recall can go to the NHTSA website and enter their vehicle’s VIN.