Kia Motors America is recalling more than 377,000 Sorento crossovers from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 model years. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of those vehicles suffer from a poorly made component that could allow them to roll away.
The component in question is a brake-shift interlock manufactured by SL Tennessee. NHTSA says that if drivers use excessive force on the Sorento's gear shift lever, the interlock can crack or chip. Should that happen, the interlock won't work as intended, allowing the vehicle to be shifted out of "park" without depressing the brakes. If the Sorento is parked on an incline when that happens, the vehicle may roll, injuring passengers, bystanders, or other vehicles.
The recall affects 2011-2013 Kia Sorento vehicles built between October 19, 2009 and January 31, 2013. All told, 377,062 vehicles in the U.S. are included in the recall.
Kia has received a total of 54 warranty claims related to the issue, as well as 14 customer complaints. Three injuries may be linked to the problem; in one case, an owner alleges that his damaged Sorento hit his son, causing a fractured leg.
Kia says that it will mail recall notices to owners around November 24, 2015. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their vehicles to Kia dealers, who will replace the brake-shift interlock mechanisms on their vehicles at no charge.
If you have questions about this recall, you're encouraged to call Kia customer service at 800-333-4542 and ask about recall SC124. You can also contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V626000.