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Kia and Hyundai owners warned about potential engine fires

The automakers say certain models should only be parked outdoors

Vehicle fire concept
Photo (c) Vladimír Jankovič 500px - Getty Images
Hyundai and Kia are warning the owners of 484,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. that their cars could be a fire hazard.

The companies say certain recalled vehicles should remain outside and away from buildings and other vehicles because some cars have reportedly caught fire, even when the engine is turned off. Officials trace the issue to contaminants in the anti-lock brake computer control module. The contaminants can cause a short circuit that could lead to a fire in the engine compartment.

The following vehicles are affected:

Hyundai

  • 2016-2018 model year Santa Fe SUVs

  • 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport SUVs

  • 2019 Santa Fe XL models

  • 2014-2015 Tucson SUVs. 

Kia 

  • 2016-2018 K900 sedans

  • 2014-2016 Sportage SUVs

NHTSA probe

Vehicle fire concept
Photo (c) Vladimír Jankovič 500px - Getty Images
In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stepped up its investigation into reports of the automakers’ vehicle fires, which have persisted for about six years. ConsumerAffairs reviewers report that the problem has affected several different models.

“I purchased a 2014 Kia Forte on August 24, 2013,” Marlene, of Rayne, Ind., wrote in a recent review. “On August 26, 2021 I reported an electrical fire in the trunk of my car to the dealership. My car was towed home. The insurance company totaled the vehicle.”  

Beth, of Painesville, Ohio, tells us she purchased a used 2015 Santa Fe based on positive reviews she had read.

“Unbeknownst to me the vehicle had recall and service campaign issues after class actions alerted the public to defective engines produced for many years, known to cause dangerous engine failures and fires,” Beth wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. 

It should be noted that neither Marlene’s or Beth’s vehicles would have been covered by this latest warning that focuses on a specific concern in a specific part of the engine.

The NHTSA says it performed an engineering analysis investigation covering more than 3 million vehicles from the 2011 through 2016 model years. To date, the agency said it has received 161 complaints of engine fires, some of which occurred in vehicles that had already been recalled.

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