Which models are involved? Read on.
If you're the owner of a 2017 to 2021 Kia Sportage or a 2017 to 2019 Cadenza, then you need to pay attention to this. The South Korean automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have announced plans to recall almost 380,000 of those vehicles due to an engine fire risk. The specific problem has already been identified: a short circuit in the hydraulic electronic brake control unit could cause excessive current, thus increasing the chance for a fire.
What affected owners need to start doing immediately is park these vehicles outside and not in garages. Kia further advises to keep them away from structures (as in people's homes) until the necessary repairs are completed.
That will involve replacing fuses in the electrical junction box. Although owners won't be notified until April 30 at the earliest, the recalled vehicles are not equipped with the brand's Smart Cruise Control system. This piece of information will immediately indicate to some Sportage and Cadenza owners that their vehicles are just fine.
Owners whose vehicles are not equipped with that system should be on the lookout for the tire pressure, anti-lock brake, or other dashboard warning lights turning on, which could indicate a problem. Or, more troublingly, they might smell a burning or melting odor. In that case, stop driving the vehicle immediately.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of any crashes, fires, or injuries related to this problem. However, this isn't the first time Kia has come under fire over problematic engines.
Last November, Hyundai and Kia were forced to pay a total of $210 million in various fines for their failure to recall several models in a timely manner over allegations of premature engine failure dating back to 2011. Both brands denied the allegations but opted to reach a settlement with the US government in order to avoid a long legal fight that would have definitely harmed their image. This time around, they're not taking any chances.