The Center for Auto Safety filed a petition with the federal government to have the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigate potential non-collision fires in 2.2 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Kia is an affiliate of Hyundai and together they are the world’s 5th largest automobile-manufacturer.
The following vehicles have either experienced non-collision fires or seized engines due to worn out engine bearings:
• 2011-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
• 2013-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
• 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata
• 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
• 2011-2014 Kia Optima
• 2011-2014 Kia Optima Hybrid
• 2011-2014 Kia Sorento
There are more than 350 owner reports of fires, melted wires, smoke, or burning odors coming from the Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety and NHTSA are concerned by the non-collision aspect of the fires and how many times they have occurred without drivers receiving any warnings. In addition, drivers sometimes hear noises before seeing smoke and flames but don’t realize how serious the noises are until after the vehicles are burning.
NHTSA is looking into three recalls by the related Korean brands, and it’s also investigating whether the automakers followed safety reporting requirements. Hyundai recalled about 470,000 vehicles in September of 2015 because manufacturing debris can restrict oil flow to connecting rod bearing which can cause bearings in four-cylinder engines to wear and fail.
In March of last year, the automakers issued two more recalls covering 1.2 million additional vehicles with the same engine problem. If the NHTSA finds that the companies moved too slowly to recall vehicles, then it can issue fines or order additional recalls.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a recalled vehicle, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.