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Hyundai, Kia Recall Over 500K Vehicles As Fire Risk Spreads

February 28, 2019 - 8:23 am

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than a half million vehicles in the U.S. because of new problems that can lead to engine fires.

Documents posted Thursday by the government show the Korean automakers are adding three recalls after reports of fires across the country.

The largest recall covers nearly 379,000 Kia Soul SUVs from 2012 through 2016 with 1.6-liter engines. Abnormal combustion can cause connecting rods to break and pierce the engine block. That can cause oil leaks and fires.

In addition, Hyundai and Kia are recalling 152,000 Tuscon SUVs from 2011 to 2013 and Sportage SUVs from 2011 and 2012 to fix an engine oil pan leak that also can cause fires.

The companies say owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by letter. 

U.S. safety regulators have been investigating Hyundai and Kia engine failures since May of 2016.

The automakers started recalling 1.7 million vehicles in 2015, about 618,000 of which are Kias, because manufacturing debris was restricting oil flow to connecting rod bearings -- which caused bearings in 2-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines to wear and fail. The problem also caused fires. The repair in many cases was an expensive engine block replacement.

Earlier this year, the companies acknowledged that the engine replacements may not have been properly done in all cases by dealers. A Kia statement said the high-pressure fuel pipe may have been damaged, misaligned or improperly tightened while the engines were being replaced under recall. That can allow fuel to leak and hit hot engine parts, causing fires.

Kia says it has six reports of fires among the vehicles being recalled for possible fuel leaks, while Hyundai says it has no fire reports. Neither company had any reports of injuries.