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The most recent round of Hyundai and Kia recalls involve the potential of fire starting at the tow hitch harness. This danger can occur whether the vehicle is being used or parked. For the time being, owners of affected vehicles are being urged to park their vehicles outside and away from structures and trees to minimize potential damage.

How can the tow hitch harness catch fire?

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Parked near a tree - This truck is on the recall list for fire risks with the tow hitch harness
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The NHTSA reports an electric short that could potentially start a fire in the tow hitch harness module is to blame for this most recent recall. Water accumulation on the circuit board could cause the short and eventually lead to a fire. More than 571,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles are subject to this recall and could catch fire.

Although the number sounds alarming, Hyundai and Kia estimate the potential of a one percent defect rate, but all impacted vehicles should be checked for this possible problem.

How many fires have already occurred in affected Hyundai and Kia vehicles?

To date, the NHTSA has documented six total incidents related to this recall. One was a fire, and five were reported thermal damage that remained isolated at the trailer harness. So far, neither car brand has identified injuries related to this recall.

Which Hyundai and Kia vehicles are subject to this recall for fire risk?

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Parked at the Beach
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

The affected vehicles and model years are:

  • 2022-2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz
  • 2019-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2021-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
  • 2022-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid
  • 2022-2023 Kia Carnival

What solution have these auto brands come up with for this problem?

2023 Kia Carnival Parked with Mountains in the Background
2023 Kia Carnival | Kia

Hyundai intends to inspect affected vehicles and remove the tow hitch harness as necessary while working on a long-term solution. This could leave consumers without towing equipment for several weeks or months. Once the final repair is available, dealers will install a new fuse and wire extension kit.

Kia intends to verify whether the vehicle has a genuine Kia accessory tow hitch and install a new fuse and wire extension kit where necessary. To date, no fire instances have been reported with the Kia Carnival. Still, it has the same tow hitch harness as impacted Hyundai vehicles, which makes it necessary to add the Carnival to this recall.

How can Hyundai and Kia’s owners find out if their vehicles are subject to this recall?

Owner notification letters will be sent to owners of impacted vehicles in May. Before the letter goes out, owners can check for recalls by VIN on the NHTSA website. Until owners know for certain whether their vehicle is part of this recall, they should park outside, away from structures, to avoid the potential of additional fire damage.


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