Kia is recalling 71,704 Kia Sportages from model years 2008 and 2009 because of the risk that they might catch fire. According to documents submitted to the NHTSA, these same vehicles were the target of a previous recall. While Kia estimates that only one percent of the vehicles still have a defect, it’s telling all customers to park outside and away from structures or other vehicles until the recall is complete.
2008 and 2009 Kia Sportage SUVs that were a part of the 16V815 recall, which took place back in 2016, will need to get their vehicles back into a dealer soon. Improper sealing of the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) was the issue back then and it’s still the problem now. At the time of the original recall, a short circuit due to water ingress was thought to be the only way a fire could start.
This new recall shows that at least 15 vehicles included in that recall have since had “localized melting/damage incidents”. In addition, Kia identified eight vehicle fire incidents. Thankfully, no crashes, injuries, or fatalities have been associated with the fire risk at this point.
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Kia moved pretty quickly to call these vehicles back in once it knew there was an issue. It says that it first learned of a potential problem in mid-August of this year after a customer reported a vehicle fire. During its investigation, it found that the vehicle in question was recalled under 16V815 and had its HECU connector cover replaced.
By September 2nd, it had found 15 separate reports of thermal damage in the HECU to vehicles involved in the original recall. Over the next month it continued its investigation and even today, it has yet to specify what’s causing these post-recall incidents. For now, safety is the main focus.
That’s why the official direction says “Owners are advised to park outside and away from structures and other vehicles until the recall repair has been performed. The remedy is currently under development.” Those who aren’t sure if their vehicle is affected can call their local dealership or contact Kia’s customer service at 1-800-333-4542.