Hyundai now says 200,000 recalled vehicles should be parked outside; Car leaks can cause engine fires

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DETROIT – Hyundai has canceled a recall to correct a defect that could cause engine fires and is now telling owners of more than 200,000 vehicles to park them outside until repairs are made. South Korean automaker affiliate Kia said Thursday they were recalling more than 600,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada to fix a brake fluid leak that could cause fires. Hyundai initially said it was acceptable for its vehicles to be parked indoors.The recalls cover 203,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015. Also included are over 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 to 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015. Hyundai spokesperson Michael Stewart said that the company’s North American security team had met on Friday and decided that the Santa Fes should not be parked in garages.

“Upon further examination, it was determined that, out of caution, customers should park vehicles outside until the recall is complete,” said Stewart.

The recalls cover 203,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015. Also included are over 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 to 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015.

A message was left on Friday asking Kia if it also recommended parking vehicles outside.

Automakers said in documents released Thursday by U.S. safety regulators that brake fluid could leak inside an anti-lock brake hydraulic control unit, possibly causing an electrical short that could lead to fires.

Kia’s recall will begin on October 15, while Hyundai’s will begin on October 23. Dealers from both companies will inspect the control units for leaks and replace them if necessary at no cost to the owners.

In company documents released Thursday by U.S. safety regulators, Hyundai said it has received 15 reports of engine fires caused by the fluid leaks, while Kia said eight. Hyundai said it was not aware of any injuries and Kia said it did not.

Hyundai said earlier that if the anti-lock brake light comes on, owners shouldn’t be driving their vehicle and should contact a dealership. If there is a warning light, owners should also disconnect the 12-volt battery by removing the positive cable, the company said.

According to documents from Hyundai, the company received its first complaint about an engine fire in a 2014 Santa Fe in April 2018 and has initiated an investigation. Kia began investigating after receiving a complaint about a melted control unit in a 2015 Sorento last February.

The recalls are the latest in a series of engine fire issues that have plagued both automakers and sparked investigations by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Hyundai said the latest recall was unrelated to previous recalls or US investigations.

Engine failures and fire issues with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than 6 million vehicles since 2015, according to NHTSA documents.

Copyright © 2020 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.



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