2008 Kia RioEnlarge Photo
Kia is conducting a voluntary safety recall of certain 2006 to 2008 model year Rio small cars over concerns about a potential airbag problem.
2007 Kia Rio Rio5 SXEnlarge Photo
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site indicates the potential affected vehicles were built from February 20, 2005 through December 9, 2007. Documentation from Kia (PDF) lists the number of Rio vehicles potentially affected at approximately 72,568.
At issue is a sensor in the front passenger seat that can crack and fail to detect if a child is occupying the seat. Specifically, Kia documentation indicates that the occupant classification system (OCS) passenger seat sensor mat has a serpentine printed circuit “which can experience fatigue cracking over time as a result of repeated flexing during occupant use.” In the event of sufficient cracking, the airbag warning light on the instrument panel will illuminate.
The potential consequence of this condition is that the airbag will deploy during an impact with a child present in the seat, thus increasing the risk of injury to the child.
Kia said that it has not received any reports of undesired airbag deployments or injuries related to this condition.
2006 KIA RioEnlarge Photo
What Kia will do
Kia will notify owners of 2006-2008 Rio vehicles to make an appointment to bring their car into a Kia dealer if the instrument panel airbag warning light is on. The dealer will then replace the front passenger seat OCS mat at no charge.
Once Kia receives sufficient supplies of the OCS seat sensor mats, all owners of 2006-2008 Rio vehicles who did not bring their vehicles in for the recall repair as a result of the airbag warning light being on will be notified by first class mail and instructed to bring their vehicle to the Kia dealer to have the front passenger seat OCS mat replaced.
The Kia safety recall is expected to begin in July 2012. In the meantime, owners of 2006-2008 Kia Rio vehicles involved in the campaign with any questions or concerns may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542. Reference the Kia safety recall campaign No. SC097.
Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov. Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V244000.