And the brand is telling owners to park outside as a result.
Hyundai Motor America has issued two recalls in the last two months affecting nearly a million vehicles that are at risk of catching fire, urging owners to park outside and away from homes and other structures to minimize the risk of the fire potentially spreading.
The first recall, issued at the start of February, concerns 357,348 older Hyundai models between the 2014 and 2019 model years with a faulty ABS unit that may short and ignite. The fix is as simple as replacing the ABS multi-fuse at a dealer at no cost. However, it affects a broad range of vehicles including the 2016-2018 Santa Fe, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Santa Fe XL, and 2014-2015 Tucson.
The second and most recent recall is even bigger.
Affecting 567,912 Santa Fe SUVs (including hybrids and plug-in hybrids) from 2019-2023 (model dependent) and the 2022-2023 Santa Cruz pickup truck, a factory or dealer-equipped tow hitch harness module has the potential to take on moisture, resulting in a short and a potential fire. Kia has issued a separate recall for the same issue on 3,555 Kia Carnival minivans (MY2022-MY2023).
Again, the fix is relatively simple, but Hyundai/Kia is advising owners to park outside, and given the sheer volume of cars potentially affected by the recall, it may take some time to resolve completely.
The fix entails the installation of a new fuse and wire extension kit for the tow hitch harness module which will be completed free of charge.
However, this isn't the first time Hyundai and Kia have dealt with this particular problem.
Late last year, the two brands recalled 245,030 Hyundai Palisades and 36,417 Kia Tellurides for an identical issue, meaning the total number of vehicles affected by the two issues so far has risen to just over 1.2 million.
The first event appears to have occurred at a dealership on March 1, 2021, involving a 2020 Palisade that "experienced a fire originating in the bumper area while parked."
"Water accumulation on the tow hitch harness module printed circuit board (PCB) may cause an electrical short, which can result in a fire," says the recall report. "A fire while parked or driving can increase the risk of injury" is the reported consequence. A lesser resulting, but no less concerning, consequence is the tow hitch accessory wiring module melting.
In August 2022, Hyundai had only confirmed three unique fire incidents in Canada and none in the U.S. It is also "aware of eight related incidents of melting in the U.S. and eight incidents of melting in Canada from January 16, 2020, through July 15, 2022."
Until a final remedy is ready for the tow hitch module issue, dealers will inspect the tow hitch module and remove the fuse, as necessary, without charge. A second notice will be issued when the final remedy is available. If you owned one of the models mentioned here but haven't received a notice, you can check the NHTSA website using the vehicle's seventeen-digit VIN.
Despite the apparent low amount of incidents, this is a huge combined recall and a PR nightmare. No automaker wants to tell people to park their vehicles outside and away from buildings as the car can suddenly catch fire. It's worse than having to recommend owners spray their cars with Fabreeze.
Join The Discussion