Hyundai and Kia have announced a couple of recalls in the United States following a number of vehicle fires.
Kia will conduct a voluntarily “Product Improvement Campaign” that impacts 1,677,640 million vehicles including Optima (939,655), Sorento (425,662) and Sportage (312,323) models equipped with the 2.0-liter T-GDI and 2.4-liter GDI engines. These vehicles are from the 2011-2018 model years, with the exception of the Sorento which is from the 2012-2018 model years.
According to Kia, dealers will update the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to protect the engine from suffering bearing damage. The update involves the installation of Knock Sensor Detection System software which acts as an early detection system for engine failures. As Kia explained, the software detects vibrations which indicate the onset of excessive connecting rod bearing wear.
When this is detected, the software will cause the Malfunction Indicator Lamp – aka the Check Engine light – to blink continuously. The vehicle will then be placed into limp mode to minimize any further damage. While limp mode is unpleasant, especially if it occurs on the highway, it will allow owners to drive home and contract their dealership.
As part of the campaign, Kia will be providing lifetime engine warranty coverage to new and used vehicle owners in regards to engine bearing damage. The company will also reimburse owners for repairs that have already been paid for.
Kia is also conducting a recall to perform inspections on approximately 68,000 Optima (50,051), Sorento (17,024) and Sportage (1,052) models which had their engine replaced as part of a previous recall. This recall will have dealers verify that the high pressure fuel pipe was properly installed.
Kia says the “high pressure fuel pipe may have been damaged, misaligned or improperly torqued during the engine replacement procedure” and this could result in a fuel leak which increases the risk of a fire. However, the company says it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries as a result of the issue.
On the Hyundai side of the equation, the automaker will recall approximately 100,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles from the 2011-2014 (Sonata) and 2013-2014 (Santa Fe Sport) model years. Like the Kia recall, Hyundai dealers will double check to ensure the fuel tubes on replacement engines were properly installed.
The automaker will also install Knock Sensor Detection System software on approximately 2 million vehicles including all 2011-2018 Sonata and 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport models. As with Kia models, the software with monitor engine vibrations and activate the check engine light as well as limp mode if anything is amiss.