Federal Regulators to Investigate Hyundai, Kia Vehicle Fires


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We talked about this on last Saturday’s show because this is a scary situation. After a number of recalls involving engine fire risks, nearly 3 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles are now officially the focus of investigations by U.S. federal auto regulators.

IMPORTANT WARNING:

If you have one of the affected vehicles, DO NOT PARK IT IN YOUR GARAGE OR NEAR YOUR HOME. Leave it sitting away from anything that could catch fire until this issue is solved.

Feds Launch Kia, Vehicle Fire Probe


After a number of recalls involving engine fire risks, nearly 3 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles are now officially the focus of investigations by U.S. federal auto regulators.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched two preliminary investigations following reports of more than 3,000 non-crash fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The fires, which did not occur in collision situations, are linked to more than 100 injuries and one death.

A preliminary evaluation will assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of alleged defects relating to engine failures and stalls in non-collision vehicle fires. We’re also talking about fires that impact more than the engine. Some of the reports involve fires affecting other non-engine components like taillight housings, taillight wire harnesses and/or light bulbs.

Makes/Models

The makes and models under investigation are as follows:

  • 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2011-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2011-2014 Kia Optima
  • 2011-2014 Kia Sorento
  • 2010-2015 Kia Soul

Safety Petition

The decision to open an investigation follows a 2018 petition by the Center for Auto Safety. The consumer advocacy group says it started the petition in June 11, 2018 when they had reports of just 120 fires. At that point, a NHTSA document stated that the majority of those vehicles were the subject of two recalls.

Fast forward to April 2019 and Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in a statement that the decision to launch formal investigations was overdue.

“It is long past time for the full power of the federal government to be brought to bear to answer why so many thousands of Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been involved in non-crash fires. While it may be six months post-due, we are gratified to see NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations open formal investigations based on our petition.

NHTSA Documents

NHTSA documents report that Hyundai and Kia have received reports of more than 3,000 fires that weren’t sparked by a collision. The documents also show one recorded fatality. You can read both below:

Recall History

According to Reuters, Hyundai and Kia combined have recalled over 2.3 million vehicles since 2015 to address various engine fire risks. In January, Kia and Hyundai recalled 168,000 vehicles over fuel leaks after originally recalling those same vehicles in 2017 for engine fire risks.

The investigations into Kia and Hyundai engine fires come just weeks ahead of the all- new 2020 Sonata debut at the New York Auto Show.
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