Hyundai and Kia today announced two new recalls resulting from a reported fire hazard. In total, approximately 643,000 vehicles are affected by the campaign, including the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV (2013-2015), Kia Sorento SUV (2014-2015) and Kia Optima sedan (2013-2015).
In its filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Hyundai describes a situation where a brake fluid leak can occur and cause an electrical short circuit. For the Kia Optima and Sorento SUV, fluid may leak into the hydraulic electronic control unit and cause a short circuit, and potentially a fire.
In the case of the Santa Fe, fluid may leak inside the anti-lock brake system module and cause an electrical short circuit. A total of 283,803 Optima, 156,567 Sedona, and 151,205 Santa Fe are affected by the recall. Hyundai said the problem stems from a "suspected lack of rigor and quality at one supplier”.
Owners of the affected vehicles may see a warning light on the dashboard, smell a burning odour or see smoke coming from the engine compartment. If the ABS warning light comes on, Hyundai recommends that owners do not drive their vehicle and disconnect the positive battery cable. Otherwise, vehicles can be safely driven until their owners have them repaired.
Fortunately, the manufacturer is not aware of any fire-related injuries. However, Hyundai is aware of at least 15 fires due to this defect, while Kia knows of eight incidents.
Dealers will inspect vehicles for brake fluid leaks and replace the HECU or ABS modules at no charge, if necessary. Kia owners should begin receiving notices by mail around October 15. Those who own a Hyundai product will receive theirs around October 30.
We have contacted Kia Canada and Hyundai Canada to find out how many models are affected north of the border. Hyundai has responded and says that in Canada, 52,034 2013-2015 Santa Fe Sport SUVs are affected by the recall. We still await a response from Kia Canada.