About 168,000 Kia and Hyundai sedans and crossover SUVs are subject to a recall over a fire risk, the automakers said Wednesday.
At fault is a fuel pump and fuel pump outlet that could leak flammable gasoline. The recall covers 2011 through 2014 Kia Optima, Sorento, and Sportage models, and 2013 and 2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe Sport. Kia and Hyundai are sister brands and their models share powertrains, platforms, and other components.
Kia said 68,000 vehicles are affected, while Hyundai will recall 100,000 vehicles over the fuel pump issue. The companies said the fuel pump may have been damaged, misaligned, or improperly torqued during a previous engine-related recall, which can allow fuel to leak. Any time fuel is present near an ignition and combustion engine, the chance for a fire increases. Both companies said they are not aware of any injuries due to fires.
According to filings with the NHTSA, drivers in 43 states have reported 250 fires in the recalled Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
Kia and Hyundai will notify owners of the recalled vehicles via mail and technicians will inspect the high-pressure fuel pipe and fuel pump outlet. If a technician discovers leaking fuel, a new fuel pipe will be installed free of charge for the owner. Since the issue arose after a previous recall, Kia and Hyundai will also reimburse owners who have repaired the fuel pump before the recall was issued.
Both brands forged ahead to issue the recall despite the current U.S. government shutdown. While Congress and the Trump administration battle over border wall funding, NHTSA employees remain furloughed and have not officially approved the recalls.
Without funding, the NHTSA is unable to approve and execute recall campaigns, or investigate potential problems. Key functions of the agency will remain suspended until funding is restored, and 13 active investigations will remain paused. Until then, automakers bear the weight of notifying the public about new recalls.