Hyundai recalls 1.6M cars for greater engine fire risk, again

Hyundai as recalling 1,642,551 vehicles in the U.S. for an electrical short that can lead to an engine fire, the NHTSA disclosed this week. Owners of the affected cars have been urgently advised to park their vehicle outside and away from other structures. 

This marks at least the sixth recall for an increased engine fire risk in the last three years, mostly for different reasons, and this recall shares some characteristics of a Kia recall of 1.7 million cars. While both recalls involve fires stemming from the electronic control unit, and the sister companies urging owners to park outside until the recall is fixed, the Hyundai recall relates to the module for the antilock braking system (ABS), which is a problem Hyundai has had in the past. 

In this instance, the ABS module can leak brake fluid onto the electronic circuit board, causing a short circuit that can lead to a fire in the engine compartment. In September 2020, Hyundai recalled the 2019-2021 Tucson for an ABS module that can corrode and trigger a short circuit and engine fire.

In May 2021, Kia expanded the recall of the 2013-2015 Optima sedan and Sorento crossover for brake fluid that can leak onto the electronic control unit, cause a short circuit, and trigger a fire.

In the current Hyundai and Kia recalls, the electronic circuit board was manufactured by the same supplier, and while Kia doesn’t know what’s causing the short circuit, it says it stems from the stability control system, which relies on the ABS to function. 

The results are the same. The electrical short could result in too much current going to the ABS module, triggering a fire in the engine bay while the car is being driven or while parked. Drivers may notice smoke from the engine compartment, a burning or melting smell, and the check engine light or ABS light in the instrument cluster could be illuminated. 

The issue affects the following cars:

  • 2011-2015 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011-2015 Genesis Coupe
  • 2011-2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • 2012-2015 Hyundai Accent
  • 2012-2015 Hyundai Azera
  • 2012-2015 Hyundai Veloster
  • 2013-2015 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
  • 2013-2015 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2014-2015 Hyundai Equus 
  • 2010-2012 Hyundai Veracruz
  • 2010-2013 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
  • 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Hyundai said it knows of no known crashes or injuries related to this issue, but there have been 21 vehicle fire and 22 thermal incidents (burning or melting) in the U.S. in a six-year span. 

For the current recall, Hyundai will alert owners by mail as early as Nov. 21 to take the affected car to a Hyundai dealer, where a lower amperage fuse or fuses will be installed. Owners who have paid to have the work completed will be eligible for reimbursement. For more info, contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-371-9460 or visit Hyundai’s recall page here.

Check the for other Hyundai/Kia recalls.

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