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Honestly, there have been so many of these Kia and Hyundai fire risk recalls it is hard to keep track of them all. But this one is big. The South Korean automakers are recalling 3.4 million vehicles in this latest one. To put it in perspective, Hyundai and Kia combined sold 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2022. So, the total number of vehicles in this recall amounts to almost three years of combined sales. 

Why are Kia and Hyundai models in this recall?

White 2015 Kia Optima on cobblestones
2015 Kia Optima | Kia

The risk of fire is serious enough that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges owners to park their Hyundais and Kias outside until dealers correct the problem. And models in this recall are from 2010 to 2019, and it is a lengthy list. 

The problem is antilock brake control modules could leak. This results in an electrical short that can trigger a fire, including while being driven. In the field, Hyundai says there have been 21 fires and 22 “thermal incidents,” which sounds like fire to us. For Kia vehicles, it says there have been 10 fires and 10 thermal incidents. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries as a result of the fires.

Leaky O-rings are the problem, but not the recall

2015 Kia Sorento with trees, mountains background
2015 Kia Sorento | Kia

The leak is from an O-ring that can degrade from moisture, dirt, and dissolving metals in the antilock brake motor shaft. “Excessive current” can then cause a short, although Kia says it doesn’t know why there is a short. The fix is to replace a fuse, but this is confusing. If the problem is a leaky O-ring, shouldn’t that be what needs fixing?

It seems that a lower amp fuse would kill the circuit quicker, possibly alleviating a short. But that also raises certain concerns about why the circuit is having “excessive current.” So, are Hyundai and Kia saying that the modules are designed to leak? We’re not the engineers; we’re just asking questions.

What Kia and Hyundai models are part of the recall?

Red 2017 Hyundai Tucson on pavement
2017 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

Kia and Hyundai Fire Risk Recalls: Will Yours be a Fireball

While we puzzle over that, here are all the models in this recall: 

Kia: 2010 through 2019 Borrego, 2014 to 2016 Cadenza, 2010 through 2013 Forte, Forte Koup and Sportage, 2015 to 2018 K900, 2011 to 2015 Optima, 2011 to 2013 Optima Hybrid and Soul, 2012 to 2017 Rio, 2011 to 2014 Sorento, and 2010 to 2011 Rondo.

Hyundai: 2011 to 2015 Elantra, Genesis Coupe, and Sonata Hybrid, 2012 to 2015 Accent, Azera, and Veloster, 2013 to 2015 Elantra Coupe and Santa Fe, the 2014 to 2015 Equus, 2010 to 2012 Veracruz, 2010 to 2013 Tucson, 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell, and 2013 Santa Fe Sport.

Since 2015, 9.2 million Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been in a fire risk, covering over 25 recalls. These also include engine problems connected to some of the fire issues. The NHTSA has ongoing investigations for several other Kia and Hyundai models from 2011 to 2016 models, according to the Associated Press

If you have questions or concerns about your Kia or Hyundai, you can contact the NHTSA website. Make sure to have your VIN handy to plug in when necessary.