Fire Risks Spark Massive Recall for Hyundai and Kia

Hyundai Elantra

In unfortunate news no automaker wishes to deal with, Hyundai and Kia announced the largest recall the automotive industry has seen this year.

Over 3.3 million of their vehicles, mostly models from 2010 to 2015, have been flagged as potential fire hazards, even when they are not being operated.

The Burning Issue

The recall has cited issues with electrical components, which could spark a fire at any time – even if the car is parked and the engine is turned off.

Kia and Hyundai are urging vehicle owners to park outside and away from any structures, if possible, as a safety precaution.

Depending on which brand someone drives, the problems and their causes differ. Both automakers are allegedly dealing with brake fluid leaks. Kia has said their investigation into what caused this initial in their vehicles is still ongoing.

Six thermal incidents, meaning melting components, smoke, or smoldering, have been reported with Kia vehicles. The cause of those incidents has been reported as malfunctions with those vehicle's hydraulic electronic control units.

According to recall documents filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, four fires have also been reported involving these Kia vehicles.

Hyundai's fire issues have been more severe, on the other hand. NHTSA recall documents tally 21 fires involving their vehicles and 22 thermal events.

All 43 of those incidents were reportedly caused by an internal break fluid leak in those vehicles' anti-lock brake modules. This fluid leak can result in the vehicle short-circuiting. Fortunately, neither Kia nor Hyundai has reported fatalities, crashes, or injuries caused by their leaking brake fluid issues.

By The Numbers

The list of vehicles recalled is extensive, with 25 models being recalled by Hyundai and Kia.

Of the vehicles on the list, the Hyundai Elantra has the most recalls, with 777,145. The Kia Sorrento, Kia Soul, Kia Optima, and Hyundai Accent round out the top five cars with the most recalls on the list, with a few hundred thousand recalls each.

Curiously, the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and the Kia Borrego are the vehicles with the lowest number of recalls, with 60 and 62 apiece.

The Hyundai Group is urging vehicle owners to park outside while these issues are being addressed.

The solution for these faulty anti-lock brake modules and hydraulic electronic control units is to replace the fuses of those respective components in the affected Hyundais and Kias.

Since this is a safety recall, Hyundai and Kia dealerships will perform these replacements for free. The automakers are sending out notifications to affected vehicle owners starting in November.

Hopefully, the replacement parts provided by Kia and Hyundai will be more effective than the steering wheel locks they've been giving out to customers to deter “Kia Boys” thefts.

Author: Jarret Hendrickson

Title: Writer

Expertise: Automotive Industry News, Film, Drama, and Creative Writing.


Jarret Hendrickson is a writer. He got his start when he was accepted into San Francisco State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in 2018. While earning his degree, his short plays, The Captain (2019) & Fight Night (2020), were performed at San Francisco State University's annual Fringe Festival. His feature-length play Bill & Jenna (2021) was selected for the 2020 Greenhouse Professional Play Development Workshop at Z Space in San Francisco. While studying dramatic writing and screenwriting, he concluded that Se7en is the perfect modern screenplay. He received his MFA in the fall of 2021. In addition to his interest in writing and movies, Jarret also has a long-standing interest in automotive news, which dates back to his picking up a copy of MotorTrend when he was ten. His interest in all things automotive really blossomed at age 15 when he test-drove the 1994 Volvo SE that would accompany him for the next decade. His ongoing interest in cars helped him secure his first freelance writing job when he was hired to cover automotive news for, where over 1,000 of his articles were published. You can find him on X (the social media platform formally known as Twitter) @jarrethsfpa and on Linkedin. Jarret currently covers the daily ebb and flow of the automotive industry for Wealth of Geeks.