More Kia SUVs Recalled. Owners Should Park Their Vehicle Outside Due to Fire Risk.

The trailer hitch on some Kia Sorento and Sportage SUVs could catch fire. There is currently no fix.

Kia says that more than 70,000 owners of newer Sorento and Sportage SUVs equipped with a tow hitch harness should park outside and away from structures because there is a risk that a fault within the harness could cause a fire even when the vehicle is parked and turned off. The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride were already recalled in August 2022 for a similar issue.

The recalled SUVs include the 2016-2022 Sorento, 2021-2022 Sorento Hybrid, 2022-2022 Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, and 2017-2022 Kia Sportage that have genuine Kia tow hitch harnesses installed. These tow hitch harnesses may have been installed on new vehicles before they were sold, or owners could have purchased them at Kia dealerships.

The problem is due to a faulty printed circuit board inside the trailer hitch that can cause a short circuit and lead to a fire. The automaker says it is currently working on a fix for the problem.

In documents provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Kia says that it is aware of four vehicle fires and 31 “localized melting incidents” related to this recall. Fires can take place while driving or when the vehicle is shut off. There have been no injuries or crashes.

In recent years, both Hyundai and Kia have issued multiple fire-related recalls that affect about 4 million vehicles. Previous fire-related Hyundai and Kia recalls involved brake fluid leaks, fuel leaks, oil leaks, ABS sensor issues, hydraulic brake component issues, and engine problems.

Hyundai Motor Company is the largest shareholder in Kia Motors, with 33.88 percent ownership. Both automakers share parts, designs, and suppliers.

In 2020, NHTSA announced civil penalties totaling $210 million for Hyundai and Kia after the agency determined that the automakers did not conduct earlier fire-related recalls in a timely manner.

Learn more about car recalls at CR’s guide to recalls.

The Details

Vehicles Recalled
• Kia Sorento Hybrid SUVs manufactured between Sept. 2, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2022

• Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid SUVs manufactured between June 29, 2021, and Aug. 30, 2022

• Kia Sorento SUVs manufactured between Oct. 27, 2014, and Sept. 12, 2022

• Kia Sportage SUVs manufactured between Dec. 10, 2015, and Dec. 07, 2021

Only vehicles with a genuine Kia tow hitch harness accessory supplied by Mobis Parts America are included in the recall.

The problem: Circuit boards within the tow hitch harness module may have been damaged during the production process, and could short circuit and cause a fire.

The fix: In documents provided to NHTSA, Kia says it is working on a fix for the problem. In the meantime, the automaker says that owners should park outside and away from structures.

How to contact the manufacturer: Kia says it will contact owners of affected vehicles by mail starting on Nov. 14, 2022. Owners may also contact Kia at 800-333-4542. 

NHTSA campaign number: 22V703. Kia’s own number for this recall is SC249.

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.

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Head shot photo of CRO Cars CIA editor Keith Barry

Keith Barry

Despite my love for quirky, old European sedans like the Renault Medallion, it's my passion to help others find a safe, reliable car that still puts a smile on their face—even if they're stuck in traffic. When I'm not behind the wheel or the keyboard, you can find me exploring a new city on foot or planning my next trip.