Hyundai and Kia have announced a recall of approximately 3.4 million vehicles across the United States. The basis for this substantial recall is a potential engine compartment fire hazard. As a precautionary measure, vehicle owners have been advised to park their vehicles outdoors and away from buildings until the necessary repairs are completed.
The recall impacts various car and SUV models from the 2010 to 2019 model years, notably including models such as Hyundai's Santa Fe SUV and Kia's Sorento SUV. The core issue revolves around the anti-lock brake control module, which has the potential to leak fluid. This leakage can lead to an electrical short, thereby sparking a fire either when the car is parked or in motion.
To address the defect, dealerships will replace the anti-lock brake fuse at no expense to the vehicle owners. Notifications for Kia owners will be sent on November 14, while Hyundai owners can expect to receive their recall notifications on November 21.
The seriousness of the situation is underscored by the fact that Hyundai has reported 21 fires and 22 other "thermal incidents" involving the affected vehicles in the U.S. Kia has reported 10 such incidents. Fortunately, there have been no reports of any accidents or injuries stemming from the issue. Hyundai has emphasized that the recall is a proactive measure to guarantee the safety of its customers.
Despite assurances from Hyunadai and Kia, there are concerns from safety advocates. Michael Brooks, the executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, raised concerns about the effectiveness of merely replacing the fuse without addressing the root cause – the leaking O-ring. "You’re combating a symptom or part of the problem without actually fixing the underlying design issue,” he explained in an interview with the Associated Press. Brooks also questions the delay in notifying owners and the decision not to send immediate interim warnings.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has clarified that, based on federal law, automakers have the discretion to choose how they wish to address a defect. However, the NHTSA will monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to launch an investigation if deemed necessary.
Owners keen on checking if their vehicles fall under this recall can visit the NHTSA's official website and enter their vehicle's 17-digit identification number. See here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
We will continue to monitor the status of the recall and advise of any significant developments.