Hyundai and Kia last month widened a fire risk recall to include nearly 380,000 Kia Soul hatchbacks.
In documents filed with the NHTSA Feb. 22 and released last week, Kia said that 378,967 2012 to 2016 Soul models with a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine are included in the recall. The NHTSA has been investigating other Hyundai and Kia models with a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine and Kia and its parent Hyundai have recalled the Sonata, Santa Fe, Sportage, and others.
While Kia said a faulty oil pan seal is responsible for the fire risk in the other recalls, the Kia Soul recall involves the catalytic converter. According to the automaker, the catalytic converter may overheat if exhaust gas temperatures rise to a certain level. Should the part overheat, particles may enter the engine and cause abnormal combustion cycles. Damage can occur to the pistons and result in piston rods breaking, and the potential for the piston rod to puncture the engine block itself. If the engine block is punctured, oil could escape. Leaking oil surrounded by hot components and a combustion cycle increases the risk of a fire.
Owners may see the check engine light illuminate or hear a knocking sound from the car's engine if the damage has occurred.
Kia said the remedy includes dealers upgrading the catalytic overheating protection and engine control unit logic to prevent the catalytic converter from overheating. If damage has already occurred to the catalytic converter, Kia will replace the part as well. In the event particles from the catalytic converter have already caused damage to the engine, Kia will also replace the damaged engine with a new one.
Owners who had work completed prior to the recall will also be eligible for reimbursement. Owners will receive notification of the recall no later than April 8.