Recall Alert: Over 600,000 Kia and Hyundai Vehicles Have Faulty Latches

If you have a Hyundai or Kia vehicle from 2016 to 2020, then you may have a recall. Models such as the Kia Forte, Hyundai Sonata, Rio, Azera, and more now need service to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle safety standards. 

Kia and Hyundai recall due to faulty latches 

2021 Hyundai Sonata driving in the city
2021 Hyundai Sonata | Hyundai

Hyundai and Kia recall 601,232 vehicles due to having faulty interior trunk latches that no longer comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 401, “Internal truck release.” This could make it more difficult to escape from the trunk. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the interior latches could become damaged and stop working. The NHSTA lists the 2016-2018 Kia Forte, Forte Koup, 2018-2020 Kia Rio, 2017-2018 Hyundai Sonata, 2016-2018 Sonata Hybrid, 2018-2020 Accent, and the 2016-2017 Azera as the affected models. 

The trunk latch design may break after prolonged exposure to high temperatures, making the emergency release inoperable. Kia shared that this means the subject vehicles fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 401. 

The standard states that in the rare event that a person is inside the trunk compartment, at the same time the latch pawl cracks, the person may not be able to get out of the trunk. The trunk could get dangerously hot with a person trapped inside too. 

What to do if your vehicle is at risk

2021 Kia Forte kicking up dirt
2021 Kia Forte | Kia

You probably don’t want someone to become trapped in your trunk due to this issue, so it’s essential to have your Hyundai or Kia model serviced if it’s affected by this recall. Kia will begin notifying owners on October 5, and Hyundai will start telling owners on October 1. 

But you don’t have to wait that long. You can visit the NHTSA site here and enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN). Your VIN can be found inside the driver’s side door and is usually printed on state registration documents. 

Kia and Hyundai vehicles at risk need to be taken to a dealership. The trunk latches will be replaced for free. We recommend calling ahead of time to schedule an appointment. This way, you may reduce waiting time, and you can learn about what precautions are being taken to protect customers and team members from the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

If you have questions about this recall, you can contact the Hyundai Customer Service Department at 10855-371-9460 with recall number 208. You can contact the Kia Customer Service Department at 1-800-333-4542 with recall number SC216. 

How to escape a trunk 

The Kia and Hyundai recall has inspired a bit of true crime information. Because people do get kidnapped in trunks sometimes. I’m sure we’ve all seen a movie about someone being tied in a trunk as the criminal speeds away. 

The first thing you should do is pull the emergency release handle. All American cars manufactured after 2022 are required to have a trunk release inside of the trunk. It may be a glow-in-the-dark handle, but it could also be a cord, button, or handle that doesn’t glow. 

If you have your phone, call the police. Provide information about your location and the type of vehicle you’re in. If the driver has exited the car, exit through the backseat. The middle seat in the second row usually provides access to the trunk. You might be able to push it open. 

Other methods involve pushing out the brake light, using a tool to open the trunk latch, or using the jack to pry open the trunk. You can also bang on the top and make noise to attract attention. Stay safe out there, and get those latches fixed.

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