Hyundai Extends Fire Risk Recall, Tells Drivers to Park Outside


It is not a happy day at Hyundai headquarters. After announcing a recall of more than 600,000 vehicles, the Korean automaker is adding another 180,000 SUVs.

Urgent Warning from Hyundai

If you own a 2019-2021 Hyundai Tucson, then you could be at risk. A manufacturing issue has caused multiple fires in a variety of Hyundai vehicles. However, the automaker issued its most dire warning yet on Friday, telling drivers to park their SUVs outside.

Hyundai also recommended that if the anti-lock brake warning light comes on, you should stop driving the SUV. Park it outdoors away from trees and structures, and disconnect the positive battery cable. The fire risk is so severe on these vehicles that Hyundai is offering loaners through authorized dealerships until the problem can be fixed.

What’s the issue? It all comes back to the anti-lock brake control unit. The exact problem varies slightly from recall to recall, but in all cases the control unit causes an electrical short that can then spark an engine fire. This short can happen even when the vehicle is put in park and turned off.

The most recent recall of the Hyundai Tucson’s claims that corrosion in the ABS control unit is the culprit. So far, the company admits to a dozen engine fires because of this short. That issue tracks with previous recalls, which were caused by water getting into the control unit.

Why Does This Keep Happening?

As far as we know, that control unit has been the cause of multiple recalls–and multiple fires. As we reported last week, Hyundai (and their subsidiary, Kia) is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the 3000+ fires reported to the agency. Two of those fires, both in a Kia Soul, were fatal.

However, the total of non-crash fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles could be much, much higher. The NHTSA believes that more than 6 million fires and engine failures have affected Hyundais and Kias since 2015.

The ABS control unit isn’t the only problem, it seems. Last weeks’ recall was prompted by brake fluid leaks that could also cause engine fires. It seems wildly suspicious that so many Hyundais and Kias keep catching on fire. Especially when those fires can happen even when the vehicles are parked and the engines are off.

It makes the “flying frunk” issue currently affecting 2020 Corvettes seem almost quaint, doesn’t it?

If you think your Hyundai or Kia might be part of one of the ongoing recalls, then check your VIN in the NHTSA database. The automaker plans to send out notices beginning October 30, but until then park outdoors and away from your home, just in case.