More Kia Vehicles Recalled for Fire Risk
The Kia Cadenza and Sportage are included in the latest in a series of fire-related recalls
Kia is recalling nearly 380,000 Sportage SUVs and Cadenza sedans to fix an issue that can cause the vehicles to catch fire. The automaker warns owners to park their vehicles outdoors and away from structures until they are updated.
The issue is due to a potential short circuit in the vehicle’s hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU), which is part of the braking system. If the HECU short circuits, it can cause a fire in the engine compartment. Before this happens, drivers may notice various illuminated warning lights on the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, including the tire pressure warning light, ABS warning light, and/or check engine light. There may also be a burning or melting smell, or smoke from the engine compartment.
In documents provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Kia says that it is unaware of any fires, crashes, or injuries in the U.S. related to this recall. However, it follows multiple other recalls involving fires in both Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Although Hyundai and Kia are separate brands, they exist under the same parent company, and their cars often share parts, design, and engineering.
If any vehicle you are driving catches fire, here’s what to do, according to experts CR has consulted with.
- First, pull over and shut off the engine. This stops the flow of fuel.
- Get yourself and your passengers out of the car as quickly as possible. Make sure to stay a significant distance away—100 to 150 feet or more—and never go back into the vehicle to retrieve personal property, advises the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Call 911 or have another motorist make the call to get emergency services on their way as soon as possible.
- Attempt to put out the fire only if you have clear access to the source, have a suitable fire extinguisher, know how to use it correctly, and can maintain a safe distance from the car. Only use an extinguisher approved for Class B or Class C fires; a label on the extinguisher will identify which kind of fire it’s suitable for.
- Never open the hood or trunk if you suspect there’s a fire there; the additional air flowing in could cause the fire to enlarge.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Never stand on an active roadway. If you’re parked by the side of the road, stay far behind the vehicle to avoid being hit if another car strikes your vehicle.
Vehicles recalled: 372,251 Kia Sportage SUVs from the 2017 through 2021 model years, and 7,680 Kia Cadenza sedans from the 2017 through 2019 model years.
The problem: An electrical short circuit within the HECU may short circuit, which could lead to a fire. The cause of this short circuit is unknown, according to Kia.
The fix: Kia dealerships will replace specific fuses in the vehicle’s electrical junction box that will prevent a short circuit in the HECU. These fuses will have a lower amperage than the ones they replace. Certain vehicles will also require a software update.
How to contact the manufacturer: Kia will contact owners of affected vehicles starting in late April. Owners may also contact Kia at 800-333-4542.
NHTSA campaign number: 21V137. Kia’s own number for this recall is SC206.
Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.
If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and this recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any open recalls. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly to see whether your vehicle has had a recall issued.