A loose alternator battery nut could lead to catastrophic events.
Revealed less than a year ago, the completely redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage has already been recalled in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the compact SUV could suffer from a loose alternator battery nut that could cause the vehicle to stall while driving or, worse, cause an electrical surge.
This seemingly small issue could increase the risk of a crash, especially if the vehicle stalls at a busy intersection or a busy highway. What's more, the NHTSA notes an electrical surge has the potential to cause a fire. We're guessing Kia wants to deal with this rather quickly, as the brand has a bad history when it comes to vehicle-related infernos.
As per the NHTSA, the alternator battery positive (B+) terminal nut makes sure the electrical connection continues uninterrupted between the battery wire harness terminal plate and the B+ terminal. The issue stems from a simple problem; the nut may not have been properly torqued during assembly.
"If the terminal nut is not properly torqued, it can loosen over time and may result in an engine stall while driving. In the worst case, a fire may occur while driving due to electrical arcing at the B+ terminal," notes the safety recall report.
Thankfully, for Kia, this shouldn't prove to be a nightmare. 19,701 examples of the MY2023 Sportage produced between January 12 and August 8 last year are potentially affected - just 1% of the population is estimated to suffer from the defect.
If your Sportage is involved in the recall, Kia is encouraging owners to bring their vehicle to a dealer for inspection. If necessary, the workshop will tighten the terminal nut - at no cost to the owner, of course. Kia will notify its customers by September 23 but they may also contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. The recall number is SC248.
Production of the popular SUV kicked off in February this year at Kia's facility in Georgia. While this isn't a good look for a new offering, don't let this put you off. The Sportage is a brilliant family SUV that melds practicality, safety, and value in a rather good-looking package.
However, should you seek a more frugal option, it's the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid that appeals most. If the price point of $38,490 doesn't intrigue buyers, the 34 miles of all-electric range and a targeted 84 MPGe figure should attract people into the showroom. The first-ever Sportage plug-in hybrid utilizes a 1.6-liter engine with an electric motor for combined outputs of 261 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Recently, the Sportage's bigger brother was also the subject of a recall. 281,000 units of the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are at risk of catching fire due to faulty trailer hitch wiring harnesses. According to the manufacturer, moisture may enter the harness module and cause a short circuit. This may cause a spark which could potentially result in a vehicle fire.