No car manufacturer is immune to the dreaded recall. It happens to the most reliable and popular brands. And some would even surprise you because they aren’t largely talked about outside of notifying affected car owners. Sometimes, recalls happen before the car has even left the lot. Other times, they don’t come to light right away. These are the ones that usually draw attention for being safety hazards rather than benign issues like a loose window seal.
Recalls have dogged the carmaker Hyundai, Kia’s parent, for the past several years. And the severity of the situation has only recently come to light.
Hyundai and Kia cars are usually great buys
For years, consumers and experts have respected Hyundai and Kia for their reliability and generous warranties. In fact, Hyundai ranks sixth on AutoGuide‘s top 10 list of most reliable brands. And RepairPal shows why Hyundai is the fourth most reliable car brand. Over the years, Hyundai and Kia have rallied to compete with more established brands and even come out on top on occasion.
Consumers love Kia and Hyundai vehicles because they’re generally inexpensive and offer many standard features. But recalls have dented their solid reputation.
Hyundai and Kia’s recall dumpster fire
In April 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation to look into Kia and Hyundai’s failure to listen to consumers about their fire safety concerns. The Center for Auto Safety also got involved after Hyundai ignored over 300 reports from consumers.
“When consumers are telling their car company and their government their cars are catching on fire, it should not require a third-party watchdog to force life-saving action, but that’s exactly what happened here,” executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, Jason Levine, said.
The complaints also describe hundreds of instances of smoke and burning odors coming from the vehicles and melted wires in the engine bay. Ultimately, Hyundai and Kia recalled over 600,000 models from 2010 to 2020 due to fire hazards.
The automakers ended up paying a hefty fee for handling the recall poorly. But perhaps it can be a lesson to other manufacturers. Though Kia and Hyundai aren’t the only brands who’ve faced fire hazard recalls — Ford and Toyota have too, for example — they’re still serious issues.
The full recall list
The Center for Auto Safety is a member-supported and independent nonprofit that advocates for consumers. The organization strives to improve vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy for all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Founded in 1970, the Center for Auto Safety has continued to help push for things like lemon laws in all states, airbags for all cars, and no-cost recall repairs for consumers. The Hyundai/Kai recall fight is just one of the center’s many efforts to advocate for consumers.
The nonprofit also compiled this list of all the Kia and Hyundai vehicles in the past 10 years that have been affected by the fire-hazard recalls. Almost 6 million cars have been recalled just from this one issue. And though not all recalls occurred in this batch initiated by the Center for Auto Safety, it shows how big the fire hazard problem has been for the brands.
Would you take a chance?
How do you feel about Kia and Hyundai? Have you dealt with a recall like this with your car?