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.