If you drive a Hyundai Tucson SUV or a Kia Stinger sedan, you should immediately stop driving the vehicle and park it outside. There is a potential risk of engine fires. The two automakers, which are related, have recalled more than 651,000 of these models.
This is not the first time the companies have had to recall vehicles recently for fire risk. Both of these recalls build on previous ones, for a total of over 2.5 million vehicles affected.
The problem with the Tucson is apparently a defective circuit board within the ABS which could short-circuit. The problem with the Stinger is still under investigation but may be related to a faulty hydraulic electronic control unit.
There have not yet been reports of crashes, injuries or property damage involving the expanded recall. That said, if your Hyundai Tucson’s ABS warning light comes on, you should stop driving it and disconnect the vehicle’s 12-volt battery. Be sure to remove the negative battery cable first. You can then contact a local Hyundai dealer for a free fix and, possibly, a loaner vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated an investigation into Hyundai and Kia vehicles that use the Theta II engine. There have been over 3,000 reports of fires in vehicles with the Theta II. The Kia Stinger, however, does not use the Theta II.
Which vehicles are being recalled?
- 2016-2021 model year Hyundai Tucson SUV
- Kia Stinger sedans manufactured between June 21, 2018 and July 9, 2019
Hyundai will begin notifying owners of the defective vehicles in February. You can also call Hyundai at 800-633-5151. NHTSA’s campaign number for the Tucson is 20V543. Hyundai will replace your car’s ABS module for free.
Kia is still working on a fix for the Stinger. To find out if your car is affected, you can call Kia at 800-333-4542. NHTSA’s campaign number for the Singer is 20V518.
A good way to find out if your particular vehicle is affected is to use NHTSA’s online recall tool. You will need your 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN). You can obtain this on many insurance forms, your car’s title, or from the vehicle itself. For example, the VIN is printed inside the driver’s door and at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side. NHTSA’s tool will tell you if your vehicle has any unrepaired recalls from the prior 15 years.
What to do if your car catches fire
- Immediately pull over and shut down the engine to stop fuel from flowing.
- As quickly as possible, get yourself and all occupants of the vehicle out. Get about 100-150 feet away and do not go back for personal belongings.
- Leave the trunk and hood closed if there could be fire inside. Opening them could make the fire larger and more aggressive.
- Get off of the active roadway so you are not hit by another motorist. Be aware that other drivers may not see your disabled vehicle and could hit it from behind. Stay a safe distance away.
- Call 911 to get emergency services on their way.
- Do not attempt to put out the fire unless you have a Class B or Class C fire extinguisher, you are trained how to use it, you can remain a safe distance away from the vehicle, and you have clear access to the source of the fire.
If someone is injured, seek immediate medical attention. Then, discuss your case with an attorney who handles product liability law.