Are you one of almost a half-million owners who run the risk of your car catching on fire? Hyundai and Kia owners are being urged to keep their vehicles outside, away from buildings, over concerns that a short circuit in the antilock brake system could cause an engine compartment fire .
The recalled vehicles are: 2016-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2017-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL, 2014-2015 Hyundai Tucson, and 2014-2016 Kia Sportage SUVs, and the 2016-2018 Kia K900 sedan, per Consumer Reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says owners can go www.nhtsa.gov and enter their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if their automobile is being recalled.
Why this Recall?
These vehicles all use the same faulty component, called the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), that’s part of the anti-lock braking system (ABS), according to documents Kia provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The component is manufactured by Mando, a major automotive supplier. Neither automaker has determined the cause of the fires.
Drivers may also notice some warning signs of an issue, Kia and Hyundai told NHTSA. These include:
• An illuminated ABS warning light on the dashboard
• A burning or melting smell
• Smoke coming from the engine compartment
In December 2021, the U.S. auto safety agency said it had opened an "engineering analysis" covering about 3 million vehicles to evaluate, among other things, the efficacy of recalls initiated by the two automakers. The agency added that it was aware of 161 fires occurring potentially due to engine failures.
This is not the first investigation into Kia and Hyundai. Both Hyundai and Kia have issued multiple recalls in recent years that include more than 3.5 million vehicles that may be at risk of catching fire for various reasons. Hyundai Motor Company is the largest shareholder in Kia Motors, with 33.88 percent ownership.
What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire
• 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.
• Call 911
•Only attempt to put out the fire 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; the additional air flowing in could cause the fire to enlarge.
• 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.
Tuesday’s recalls come after U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stepped up a series of investigations into engine compartment fires that have plagued the Korean automakers.