A faulty control unit that could prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a wreck has prompted Kia to recall 508,000 2010 through 2013 model year vehicles, the automaker said last week.
Kia said in a government filing that the airbag control unit, which tells the airbag and the seat belt pretensioners when to activate, could be "susceptible to electrical overstress" in the event of a frontal collision. If the control unit is damaged internally, it may not relay the severity of the crash to the airbags and seat belt pretensioners.
The recall covers a wide swath of Kia vehicles, including the 2010-2013 Kia Forte sedan and Forte Koupe, 2011-2013 Kia Optima sedan, 2011-2012 Kia Optima Hybrid sedan, and 2011-2012 Kia Sedona minivan.
The vehicles were built through August of 2012.
The recall stems from a lawsuit filed in 2014 when a 2012 Kia Forte sedan was involved in a wreck and its airbag didn't deploy. A Forte Koup—the two-door version of the Forte sedan—was involved in a similar in wreck which the airbag didn't deploy in 2017. Kia, the NHTSA, and the supplier that produced the supplemental restraint system used in the Forte conducted an investigation in May to determine what was at fault and what needed to be repaired.
Although Kia has not yet detailed the remedy for the recall, the company says it will begin alerting dealers on July 24 and that around July 27 owners will start receiving notices instructing them how to take their cars in for free repairs.