Hyundai and Kia are telling owners of almost 500,000 cars and SUVs in the United States to park outside and away from buildings due to a possible defect that can cause the vehicles to spontaneously catch fire even when not running.
The problem is that, due to “foreign contaminants,” the anti-lock brake computer control module can short circuit and possibly start a fire in the engine compartment. Hyundai issued a recall for 2016-2018 model year Santa Fe SUVs, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport SUVs, 2019 Santa Fe XL models and 2014-2015 Tucson SUVs. Kia is recalling 2016-2018 K900 sedans and 2014-2016 Sportage SUVs. In total, Hyundai is recallng 357,830 vehicles while Kia is recalling 126,747.
Dealers will inspect the vehicles’ anti-lock braking control module, a small computer system that controls the vehicle’s emergency anti-lock braking system, and may replace it with a new one. Dealers will also replace a fuse that controls the electric current to the anti-lock braking control unit at no cost to owners. The new fuse will reduce the amount of power going into the module.
South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are closely related. Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai’s parent company, owns a controlling interest in Kia, and the two companies share a lot of engineering in their various models. In the United States, however, they operate as two entirely separate companies.
In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kia said it is aware of three vehicles that have caught fire. The companies also said owners could safely continue driving the vehicles, but they should be parked away from any buildings or structures.
Kia owners who think their vehicle might be involved can contact a Kia dealer or the company’s customer service department. Owners can also check NHTSA’s auto safety website.