A front image of a silver 2019 Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai added an additional 471,000 Tucson SUVs to an existing recall related to vehicle fires, and warned owners to park their cars outside and away from structures until repairs can be made.

The new list of recalled vehicles—which now includes Hyundai Tucson SUVs from the 2016 through 2021 model years—adds to a campaign announced in September 2020 because problems with the antilock braking system (ABS) could cause a fire. Kia recalled the 2019 Stinger sedan for a similar problem in September as well, and also said affected vehicles should also be parked outside until they are fixed.

Both Hyundai and Kia—which share parts and suppliers—have issued multiple recalls in recent years that include more than 2.5 million vehicles that may be at risk of catching fire. Hyundai is the parent company for the two brands.

“Recalls should always be taken seriously, especially when there is a potential for a vehicle fire,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “Consumers can’t risk putting this one off, and should have their vehicles repaired as soon as a fix is available.”

MORE ON VEHICLE FIRES

Hyundai spokesman Michael Stewart told Consumer Reports that the Tucson recall is unrelated to a different ABS-related recall issued in 2020. The automaker is aware of 12 engine compartment fires, one crash, and no injuries related to the September recall. Stewart says there are no reports of additional property damage, injuries, or crashes related to the recall expansion.

In addition to parking the Tucson outside, Stewart told CR that owners should take these important precautions if the ABS warning light illuminates on the dashboard.

• Do not drive the vehicle.
• Contact your local Hyundai dealer.
• Disconnect the vehicle’s 12-volt battery while it is waiting to be serviced. Make sure to remove the negative battery cable first.
• Ask your Hyundai dealer for a loaner vehicle if necessary.

In September, a Kia spokesman told CR that it identified six instances of fires in Stinger sedans, none of which led to crashes or injuries.

Previous recalls related to fire risk in Hyundai and Kia vehicles involved brake fluid leaksfaulty oil pansfuel leaksoil leaks, and engine problems. In addition, the Hyundai Elantra was previously recalled for a different problem related to its ABS sensor.

After more than 3,000 reports of fires and a petition from the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into Hyundai and Kia vehicles that use a four-cylinder engine design that both companies share. (This engine, the Theta II, is not used in the Stinger.) There is a class-action lawsuit related to the fires as well.

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.

The Details

Vehicles recalled: Hyundai Tucson SUVs from the 2016 through 2021 model years, and Kia Stinger sedans manufactured from June 21, 2018, through July 9, 2019.

The problem: In Hyundai vehicles, a defective circuit board within the ABS system may short-circuit, which could cause a fire. In a statement to NHTSA, the automaker said this may be related to a quality-control problem from the supplier that manufactured the circuit board. Kia is still investigating the cause of fires in Stinger sedans, but it may be related to a problem with the hydraulic electronic control unit.

The fix: Hyundai dealers will replace faulty ABS modules free of charge. Kia is working on a fix for Stinger vehicles.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners of vehicles newly added to the recall will be notified via first-class mail by Hyundai in late February 2021. Other vehicle owners should have already been notified. Owners of affected vehicles may call Hyundai at 800-633-5151 or Kia at 800-333-4542.

NHTSA campaign number: The campaign number for Hyundai vehicles is 20V543. The campaign number for Kia vehicles is 20V518.

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 a 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.

Stay informed about recalls that might affect your vehicle using our Car Recall Tracker. Create a free account now to become a CR member.

A recalled 2019 Kia Stinger sedan, in red. Front view.