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Kia Recalls 71,000 Sorento, Sportage Over a Tow Hitch Component Fire Risk

2022 Kia Sorento PHEV
Photo: V.Aubé
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Daniel Rufiange
The fire risk is traced to a circuit board in the hitch’s wiring harness

Kia is recalling around 71,000 Sorento and Sportage SUVs due to a potential fire risk related to an accessory – more specifically, the tow hitch’s wiring harness circuit board.

Recalls regarding potential fire problems are piling up at Hyundai-Kia Group, though they’re not necessarily interrelated. In some cases the cause has been under the hood; other times the issues have been found elsewhere, as with the Palisade (Hyundai) and Telluride (Kia) SUVs recalled last month over a problem with a circuit board in a towing system accessory.

This week Kia is issuing a new recall of 71,000 Sorento and Sportage SUVs to fix a similar problem. While the Palisade and Telluride were recalled due to contaminants and moisture on the circuit board, chloride contamination on the circuit board is causing the problem with the Sorento and Sportage. The contamination occurred during the manufacturing of the vehicles, damaging the boards in the process.

As was the case last month, the problem only affects vehicles equipped with the Tow Hitch Harness Accessory; that component may have been installed at the factory or at a dealer, before or after the sale. The models included in the recall are:

- 2016-to-2022 Kia Sorento, assembled between Oct. 27, 2014, and Sept. 12, 2022.
- 2021-2023 Kia Sorento hybrid, assembled between September 2, 2020, and August 31, 2022.
- 2022-2023 Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid (PHEV), assembled between June 29, 2021 and August 30, 2022.
- 2017-2022 Kia Sportage, assembled between December 10, 2015 and December 7, 2021.

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2020 Kia Sportage
2020 Kia Sportage

Kia says it is not aware of any accidents, injuries or deaths related to this issue. Four fires and 31 incidents where parts melted have been reported in connection with the recall. Dealers have been told to stop selling the accessory.

It’s important to note that since the circuit boards are live even when the vehicle is turned off, a fire can occur at any time. Kia is thus advising owners to park their vehicles outside and away from structures. The automaker has not yet found a fix, but will begin notifying owners of the next step to take as early as November 14.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists