Things catching on fire are never good.
If you're driving a 2020-2021 model year Kia Soul or Seltos powered by the base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder then this affects you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a recall coordinated with the automaker for a total of 147,249 vehicles over engine fire concerns.
The problem was traced back to when the small crossovers were manufactured; the supplier did not properly heat treat the piston oil rings and this could result in engine damage. In turn, there might be a loss of power, thereby increasing the chances of a crash. Equally worrying is a potential fire risk. The oil could leak onto nearby exhaust components and ignite.
Owners should keep an eye on the oil pressure warning light. There could also be strange engine noises and increased oil consumption. The good news is that Kia is not aware of any related injuries or crashes related to the issue. However, the report states there were four fires that could be related, but the investigation continues. It's estimated that only one percent of recalled vehicles are affected.
The bad news is that affected vehicles will require a completely new engine. During the inspection, a Kia technician will determine if the Soul or Seltos has a faulty engine.
If they're given the all-clear, new software designed to better monitor the problem going forward will be installed. As usual with recalls, affected owners will have the work done completely free of charge, including a possible engine swap. Kia says it'll begin notifying these owners in early June.
Both the Soul and Seltos are two of Kia's best-selling models. Last year, a total of 71,772 Soul and 46,280 Selto models left dealership lots. Bear in mind it was the first model year for the latter, meaning sales got off to a slow start but quickly increased. Seltos figures this year are expected to be significantly higher.