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We agree the Kia Sorento and the Kia Optima are both smoking hot vehicles. They are great options to consider. However, if you currently own a Kia Optima or Sorento, check the model year. Some have a recall due to the risk of going up in flames. 

Recall for the Kia Sorento and Optima due to fire risks 

A red 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid driving in the city
2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid | Kia

According to Road Show, it’s best to currently park your 2014 – 2015 Kia Sorento or 2013 – 2015 Kia Optima outside because they could catch fire. This recall affects about 440,370 Kia vehicles, and they need to go back to the dealership for maintenance. 

The Sorento and Optima models may have a brake fluid leak that could damage the hydraulic electric control unit. If the fluid leaks onto the component, then the HECU could short and start sparking. 

As a result, the sparks could start a fire in the engine compartment. The Hyundai Motor Group is currently unaware of any fires related to the issue, but owners are still advised to park their vehicles away from buildings and other vehicles. 

What should you do if your Sorento or Optima is at risk? 

A grey 2020 Kia Optima driving down a city street
2020 Kia Optima | Kia

If you own one of the Kia Sorento or Kia Optima models at risk, you may receive a letter informing you of this issue around July 2. But that’s a long time to wait if your vehicle could ignite. So, you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site here to enter your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). 

You could see an ABS warning light appear to notify you about the issue. Owners may also notice a burning smell or smoke to indicate that their vehicle is experiencing the brake fluid leak. So, pay extra attention to your Kia Optima or Sorento. 

If your vehicle is affected by this recall, you will need to return to a Kia dealership. You don’t have to go to the same place where you purchased your vehicle. A local dealership will be fine. A technician will check the HECU for leaks. If necessary, the HECU will be replaced. 

But if your vehicle doesn’t show any signs of leaking brake fluid, you may still receive a new multifuse for the HECU to prevent the possibility of a short and fire to prevent this issue from occurring in the future. The good news is that you will not be charged for this work. Also, Kia will reimburse any owners who have already had this issue fixed. 

What other Kia and Hyundai vehicles are catching on fire? 

A yellow 2021 Kia Seltos crossover SUV kicking up mud in a field
2021 Kia Seltos | Kia

There are a few. The Kia Seltos and Kia Soul may have improperly heat-treated piston oil rings that could cause a fire in the engine compartment. This affects about 147,000 new vehicles. The 2019 – 2021 Hyundai Kona and Veloster vehicles are at risk for this issue too. So are 2019 – 2020 Hyundai Elantra and 2013 – 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport models. 

On March 9, 2021, another recall was issued for 2017 – 2021 Kia Sportage and Cadenza models, according to the NHTSA. This recall affects about 379,931 models that aren’t equipped with smart cruise control.

The electrical circuit in the hydraulic electronic control unit may short circuit, leading to an increased risk of fire in the engine compartment. If you have one of these models, don’t be concerned. The recalls will safely take care of the issues.


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