Florida drivers, if you own a Kia or Hyundai from 2011-2014, your car may need serious repairs. The government shutdown has effectively paralyzed the NHTSA from making judgements on car safety. So, while we're not promoting specific vehicles on this site, we are thankful that Kia and Hyundai did the right thing and issued a recall of their own accord without waiting for the to demand it. Most recalls are issued based on a total number of failure amongst vehicles by a specific manufacturer, and the NHTSA was in the process of investigating the number of failures and whether or not the manufacturer should be required to issue a recall when the government shutdown began. Ford has also issued a recall as a part of the Takata airbag recall in lieu of government oversight.
What Cars Have the Defect?
The Optima, the Sorento, and the Sportage have been plagued by engine fires and failures. The specific years of the model are listed below.
Some 2011-2014 Kia Optimas
Some 2012-2014 Kia Sorento SUVs
All 2011-2013 Kia Sportage SUVs (2-liter and 2.4-liter 4 cylinder engines)
In 2011, Kia sold about 130,000 Sorentos in the US (GoodCarBadCar) and over 47,000 Sportages. While they don't have a huge chunk of the market overall, that's a large number of people potentially affected by this defect.
What Is the Defect?
According to Kia, a fuel pipe may have been damaged during engine repairs on previous recall work that was done. If this high pressure component was not installed correctly, fuel will leak, hit hot parts within the engine, and cause fires. However, there have been leaks found in cars that were not repaired for the engine failure, so there is some concern over whether or not more cars need to be included in the recall. This is something the NHTSA could determine if it were functioning.
In the video below, a Florida woman gives details about how her car spontaneously caught fire parked in the driveway.
Who Will Be Covered by the Recall?
Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have decided to cover 168,000 cars that have a major defect that can cause the engine to catch on fire (and not in the way it's supposed to). The problem has been caused by bad repairs on past recalls that were issued over engine failures in the same cars. Between the problems with random engine failure and the problems of engines catching fire, the recall will do some serious damage to the companies' respective reputations. So damage control is a possible motivator, but the reality is that driver safety is the most important factor. An engine fire is a seriously dangerous problem, and it's a relief that despite the NHTSA's inability to work, the companies have gone ahead and issued these recalls.
Additionally, people with cars that have experienced no problems may be eligible for a preventative upgrade. The companies have stated that 3.7 million vehicles will be offered free installation of software that will let drivers know if engine failure is imminent, and put the car in limp mode if there is a serious problem.
What Should I Do If I Own One of These Cars?
The bottom line is that if you are a Florida driver who owns a Kia or Hyundai, you should check your make and model and pay attention to how your car performs. If you own one of these cars, you may not be notified. If your engine acts up or you smell smoke, it's better to be safe and pull over. You could run into serious problems that could put you in harms way. Stay safe out there, drivers!
Would you like to learn more about how the government shutdown is affecting the NHTSA? Read more here>>
Do you need to renew your Florida car registration? Call Auto Tags of Florida at (954)848-4808.