Hyundai and Kia Fire Risk Recall


If you drive a Hyundai or Kia, take note! The automakers issued a recall for almost 600,000 vehicles over a serious fire risk. Here’s what you need to know.

The Recalls

Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia announced recalls this week after multiple reports of engine fires. The culprit appears to be the hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brake system. Fluid can leak from the brakes, potentially causing an electrical short that starts a fire.

This recall includes the following vehicles:

  • 2013-2015 Kia Optima sedans
  • 2014-2015 Kia Sorento SUVs
  • 2013-2015 Hyundai Sante Fe SUVs

The Kia recall begins October 15, while the Hyundai recall starts the following week on October 23. If your vehicle is affected by this recall, you will get a notice in the mail. Then you can make an appointment with your local dealership to have the control unit inspected and, if necessary, replaced free of charge.

Related: Fiat Chrysler Announces Truly Bizarre Recall of 1 Million Minivans

A Pattern of Deadly Fires

Luckily, there appear to be no injuries resulting from these specific engine fires. However, it’s obviously a very serious problem that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. Hyundai and Kia have been under investigation since as early as 2015 over non-crash engine fires.

Although the automaker reported less than 25 fires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating a larger pattern of problems with Kia and Hyundai.

On August 17, a 34-year-old from Texas passed away after a year of medical treatments for the severe burns he sustained in a Kia Soul. The rental vehicle caught fire while Jordan Carlton and his mother were on vacation in Hawaii. While his mother escaped with only minor injuries, Jordan sustained burns on more than 80% of his body.

Carlton marks the second death in the US following a Kia fire. A Tennessee man named Keith Nash died in 2017 when his parked Kia Soul erupted into flames.

Hyundai and Kia have recalled over 6 million total vehicles in recent years due to an engine fire and failure issues, according to the NHTSA. Each time, they indicated a different issue causing the problem.

A recent recall claimed that water getting into the anti-lock brake system could cause an electrical short. Now it’s leaking brake fluid.

There’s clearly some kind of fundamental problem given the number of fire complaints registered by the NHTSA. As of April 2019, that agency received reports of more than 3100 fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles. That’s significantly more than the 23 mentioned in the most recent recall notice, which is limited to only the specific SUVs and sedans listed above.