Pleasanton, CA – August 28, 2020 Kia Motors America (Kia) (KRX: 000270) has announced a recall of 9,443 luxury sports sedans over concerns of an engine compartment fire, potentially caused by the anti-lock braking system (ABS). The recall includes all 2019 Kia Stingers equipped with 3.3L T-GDI engines.
The Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) is an important component of the ABS that prevents the wheels of a car from locking and allows the car to maintain traction with the road.
In recalled cars, there is a risk that an engine compartment fire may occur where the HECU is located. However, while the recall notice points to the ABS unit as the culprit of fire, other documents from the regulator National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) stop short from confirming that, instead listing the cause of the fire as “unknown.”
At least six Kia Stingers had caught fire before the manufacturer issued the recall.
Car fires kill over 300 people a year on average and injure over a thousand, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Their report blames at least 20% of vehicle fires between 2009 and 2017 on equipment failures.
Before the car catches fire, the driver may notice the following:
- Tire pressure, ABS or the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) warning lights come on
- The car emits a “burning/melting odor”
- Smoke appears from under the hood
What to do in the event of a fire
If you notice any of these conditions, stop your car someplace safe. If you suspect there is an actual fire under the hood, do not open it. Oxygen will rush in and feed the flames. Instead, get yourself and others away from the vehicle, at least 100 feet.
Call the fire department at 911 when you are in a secure location. Do not return to the vehicle for any reason.
Kia has yet to offer a repair for this recall. The automaker will be notifying owners by mail starting October 26, at which time it will lay out the next steps of the recall process.
Is your vehicle part of this recall?
Over 9,000 Kia Stingers are included in this recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s vehicle identification number look up tool.