Kia has announced a recall of the 2008 and 2009 Kia Sportage crossover. According to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of those vehicles may suffer from an electrical problem that could create a fire hazard.
The problem is rooted in the Sportage's hydraulic electronic control unit, which was manufactured in South Korea by Mando. The wiring harness cover that's supposed to shield the control unit from moisture wasn't properly sealed, and as a result, water may be able to reach the component.
That, in turn, can cause corrosion--especially if the water has been contaminated by salt, like the kind used to de-ice roadways. If the corrosion is severe enough, if can cause the circuit board to short out, boosting the risk of a fire in the engine compartment.
The recall affects 2008-2009 Kia Sportage vehicles built between August 9, 2007 and May 13, 2009. NHTSA reports that some 71,704 vehicles registered in the U.S. will need to be repaired.
Kia plans to mail recall notices to the owners of those vehicles by November 28. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their vehicles to dealerships, where the connector pins on the hydraulic electronic control unit will be inspected for corrosion.
If there's no corrosion, dealers will simply replace the faulty cover. If there is corrosion, however, dealers will replace both the cover and the hydraulic electronic control unit assembly.
If you own one of these vehicles and have questions, you're encouraged to contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542 and ask about recall SC138. You can also call NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #16V815000.