In the present day, people across the United States rely on cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buses on a daily basis. Whether you’re going to work or picking up groceries, it’s likely that you’re going to either drive to your destination or take advantage of local transit options. While most modern vehicles are designed with the safety of their occupants in mind, defects and design flaws can sometimes put the public at serious risk.
In this article, we discuss the latest recall impacting certain Kia and Hyundai vehicle models, what owners should be aware of, and who may be liable for injuries or damages caused by dangerously defective cars.
What is a Car Recall?
To begin with, let’s cover the basics of car recalls. When a car manufacturer discovers a safety-related defect that is likely to be present in many vehicles, they issue what is known as a “recall.” In a recall notice, vehicle owners are notified of the safety issue and all known remedies for fixing the problem. Typically, the car manufacturer will offer free repairs to fix the problem to protect the public and keep consumers satisfied with the brand.
Drivers can report problems to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) if they feel unsafe on the road. The NHTSA adds complaints to a public database and, if enough similar complaints come in, may open an investigation into a reported problem. This process can lead to a recall, if the NHTSA finds that there is a widespread defect that puts drivers, passengers, and other road users at risk.
What Happens if Your Car is Recalled?
At this point, you probably have some important questions about car recalls. Perhaps you’re wondering how you’d even find out about a relevant recall in the first place or you want to know more about the steps you need to take after a recall. To address the former concern, when a car is subject to a recall the manufacturer sends a letter to the owner’s home. In most cases, the letter urges the vehicle’s owner to call the dealership that sold them the car. The dealership can provide additional information and help you set up an appointment with the service department for repairs.
A recall letter should describe warning signs of the problem, risks associated with using the car, a detailed description of the issue, and steps on what to do next. Keep in mind that if you purchased a vehicle from a third party, you may not receive the manufacturer’s recall letter. It’s always a good idea to check the NHTSA recall database a few times a year, just to make sure your car doesn’t have any known problems. Car recalls never expire, so if you have an older car model that has been recalled you should still look into fixing the issue as soon as possible.
If a recalled vehicle hurts you or a loved one, you may additionally want to contact a local San Antonio automotive defect injury attorney. They can help you understand your legal options and seek compensation for the damages you or your family suffered as a result of an unsafe vehicle.
Analyzing the Recent Kia / Hyundai Recall
As of September 27th, 2023, it was announced that Kia and Hyundai are recalling close to 3.4 million vehicles in the U.S., while also warning owners that their cars should be parked outside due to a risk of engine compartment fires. Multiple SUV and car models from 2010 through 2019 are among the recalled vehicle models. The NHTSA reports that the anti-lock brake control module of affected vehicles can leak fluid capable of causing electrical shorts and subsequent fires. A blaze can break out while the vehicle is parked or being driven.
The anti-lock brake fuse will be replaced at no cost for impacted vehicle owners. However, concerns have arisen due to the fact that Kia and Hyundai have not yet sent out recall notices to drivers of the defective vehicle models. Kia plans to send notification letters beginning November 14th and Hyundai plans to send letters beginning November 21st. Those time frames result in nearly a two-month delay before owners will be notified of the issue. Many owners will likely learn of the recall through the news or NHTSA database, but others may not be aware of the developing situation until letters are sent out.
Vehicle safety experts also question the thoroughness of planned vehicle repairs. Although the car manufacturers are offering to repair the faulty anti-lock brake fuse at no cost, there is currently no plan to address the issues causing leaks in the first place. Neither manufacturer has made a statement on why notifications are being delayed or fluid leaks will not be repaired. The NHTSA plans to monitor the effectiveness of repairs and can open an initial investigation if issues continue to be reported.
What Kia & Hyundai Models Were Recalled?
Recalled Kia models include the:
- 2010 through 2019 Borrego
- 2010 through 2013 Forte, Forte Koup, and Sportage
- 2010 to 2011 Rondo
- 2011 to 2015 Optima
- 2011 to 2013 Optima Hybrid and Soul
- 2011 to 2014 Sorento
- 2012 to 2017 Rio
- 2014 to 2016 Cadenza
- 2015 to 2018 K900
Recalled Hyundai models include the:
- 2010 to 2013 Tucson
- 2010 to 2012 Veracruz
- 2011 to 2015 Elantra, Genesis Coupe, and Sonata Hybrid
- 2012 to 2015 Accent, Azera, and Veloster
- 2013 Santa Fe Sport
- 2013 to 2015 Elantra Coupe and Santa Fe
- 2014 to 2015 Equus
- 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell
Previously Reported Kia / Hyundai Fire Issues
Since 2015, Kia and Hyundai have had recurring fire-related issues. The Center for Auto Safety notes that both manufacturers experienced another fire-related recall in April of 2019. That previous recall resulted in nearly 3 million vehicles being recalled. Both manufacturers were additionally fined $137 million in fines and safety improvements in 2020. These fines were assessed due to the failure of both companies to promptly recall vehicles with problems leading to engine failures.
What to Do if You Own a Recalled Kia or Hyundai Vehicle
If you own a vehicle that falls into the most recent Kia and Hyundai recall, it’s important to schedule repair work as soon as you are able. While you are waiting for your vehicle to be repaired, the manufacturers have advised parking your vehicle outside to minimize the risk of structure fires. At the moment, there are no known dangers to driving your Kia or Hyundai vehicle, even if it’s been impacted by this specific recall, but you should be on the lookout for future safety warnings or updates.