If you own a Hyundai or Kia vehicle with a tow hitch harness installed, you may want to park it outside and away from any structures until you get it fixed. That’s because the automakers have just recalled more than half a million vehicles over a fire risk related to the tow hitch harness.
The recall affects 567,912 Hyundai models and 3,555 Kias. The Hyundai and Kia models include the following:
- Santa Fe SUV (2019-2023)
- Santa Fe Hybrid SUV (2021-2023)
- Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid SUV (2022-2023)
- Santa Cruz pickup truck (2022-2023)
- Kia Carnival minivan (2022-2023)
The problem is that water can accumulate on the tow hitch harness module’s printed circuit board and cause an electrical short. This can increase the risk of fire and injury while parked or driving. The tow hitch harness module is installed as original equipment or purchased as an accessory through Hyundai or authorized retailers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), six incidents could be related to this issue, and only one fire has been reported so far, all involving Hyundai vehicles. No accidents or personal injuries have been reported.
Hyundai will notify owners of affected vehicles starting May 16, 2023. Dealers will inspect the tow hitch module and remove the related fuse if necessary for free. Once available, dealers will also install a new fuse and wire extension kit to prevent water ingress to the module.
Kia will also notify owners of affected vehicles starting May 16. Dealers will replace the tow hitch harness for free.
Owners of affected vehicles should contact their Hyundai or Kia dealer to schedule an appointment to inspect their tow hitch harness.
If you have any questions or concerns about this recall, you can contact Hyundai at 855-371-9460 (recall number 244), Kia at 800-333-4542 (recall number SC265), or NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or visit its website to check your vehicle identification number and learn more.
Hyundai Kia Fire Risk Recalls and NHTSA Penalty
Hyundai and Kia have faced several fire-related recalls in recent years involving millions of vehicles. On November 27, 2020, the automakers agreed to pay $210 million in civil penalties to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for failing to timely recall vehicles with defective engines that could catch fire.
NHTSA announced the consent orders with Hyundai Motor America, Inc. and Kia Motors America, Inc. related to recalls for vehicles equipped with Theta II engines. The consent orders reflect the agency’s assessment that Hyundai and Kia conducted untimely recalls of over 1.6 million vehicles equipped with Theta II engines and inaccurately reported certain information to NHTSA regarding the recalls.
In July 2021, Hyundai and Kia recalled 37,327 vehicles from the 2021 and 2022 model years to address a problem with the fuel pump and fuel rail problem. The recalled cars include Hyundai Santa Fe, Sonatas, Kia Sorento, and K5 SUVs and sedans.
According to Hyundai, during assembly, some vehicles had pipe connections between the high-pressure fuel pump and the fuel rail that were insufficiently tightened to the proper torque setting.
In addition, Kia found that some fuel pipes did not meet the brands’ specifications. Either condition could lead to fuel leaks, which increase the risk of a fire. The dealer will inspect the vehicle and replace or tighten the fuel pipe as needed at no cost to the owner.
The current recall is an expansion of a previous one that involved more than 245,000 Hyundai Palisades and 36,400 Kia Tellurides over the same issue. Those vehicles were recalled back in August last year.
In August 2022, Hyundai Motor America and Kia America recommended that owners of select Model Year 2020-2022 Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride vehicles park their cars outside and away from homes and other structures until their vehicles have been repaired due to new recalls for the risk of fire.
The recalls involved 245,030 Model Year 2020-2022 Hyundai Palisade vehicles and 36,417 Model Year 2020-2022 Kia Telluride vehicles. An accessory tow hitch sold through dealerships may allow moisture into the harness module, causing a short circuit.
These recalls are part of an ongoing effort by Hyundai and Kia to address fire risks in their vehicles. The two brands have issued multiple recalls in recent years that include more than 2.5 million vehicles that may be at risk of catching fire.
Hyundai is the parent company for both brands.
If you want to see if your vehicle is under recall, you can visit NHTSA’s recall website or call NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 and enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN). You can also download NHTSA’s SaferCar app to stay informed on current recalls.
If your vehicle is affected by any of these recalls, you should contact your Hyundai or Kia dealership as soon as possible to schedule a free repair.