BMW recalls 2016 M3 and M4 over drive shaft issue


Munich – Jan. 31, 2019 – BMW has issued a recall for its M3 and M4 models, to counter a potentially dangerous fault within the vehicles’ drive shafts. According to a company statement reported by Car Advice, the vehicles requiring inspection and repair were sold in Australia and noted by that country’s product safety monitor. The organization with recall authority in the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has been inactive for much of January due to the government’s funding shutdown, thus making it unclear if a similar recall will affect U.S. BMW owners.

The vehicles involved are all sedans from the 2016 model year. The M3, M4 and M4 convertible are all affected by the recall and according to the announcement, these vehicles exist in very small quantities in Australia. With 97 vehicles affected, the M3 is the most popular of the three types. There are 71 of the hardtop M4, with only 10 of the convertible M4 recorded.

The process of recalling the vehicles shows that automakers follow procedure even when the number of cars in question is relatively small in a particular territory. Recent actions by specialist carmakers such as Maserati show attention being paid to models that were not made or exported in mass quantities.

The Defect

According to the company’s announcement, the potentially dangerous problem leading to the recent action is located within the affected vehicles’ drive shafts. The shafts on these cars are made of carbon fiber and contain two internal components – the three-hole flange and the pushing piece. The company questioned whether the pieces within the drive shaft will hold up over time and usage over the lifespan of the cars. If these parts were not made with “sufficient long-term durability”, the pushing piece could end up pulled out of the drive shaft, limiting the vehicle’s torque to the rear wheels. Such a lack of torque may may increase the risk of a collision, leading to the necessity of a recall.

Timeline of Events

The announcement from BMW did not clarify several pieces of information about the recall underway, such as how it was discovered or when. The vehicles involved all originate from the 2016 model years, but the notice was not issued until late January 2019. The press materials did not mention whether the fault was discovered as part of an inspection, due to an actual incident on the road or in a laboratory test. Furthermore, no connection to cars from outside of the Australian market was discussed.

The Solution

The statement announcing the recall was similarly quiet about what exactly the fix to the problem will entail. Drivers were urged by Car Advice to get in touch with their respective BMW dealers and receive repairs for the drive shaft free of charge. Due to the nature of the problem, with parts potentially not tough enough to stand up to long-term use, it appears likely those component will be replaced with stronger replacement parts, thus making the drive shaft safe for continued use, no matter how long the sedans are on the road.

Sean ReyesBMW recalls 2016 M3 and M4 over drive shaft issue

Subaru ponders 14,000-car recall amid production shutdown


Tokyo – Jan. 31, 2019 – Subaru has paused production of multiple vehicle types at its factory in Japan due to the possibility of a defect in the cars’ power steering systems. The automaker is deciding how to proceed with the 14,000 affected cars, some of which were sold in Japan and others of which are destined for export to other territories. Most of the cars impacted are likely bound for the U.S. The Forester, XV and Impreza are the three models that may include the defective component.

A report from Nikkei noted that recent years have seen over 500,000 cars recalled by Subaru. While past recalls have been caused by potential faults in components such as valve springs, as well as actions such as regulatory compliance failures. The most recent plant shutdown has not turned into a fully declared recall, but it has impacted cars even beyond those that may have the defective part, as the factory equipment is employed to produce multiple vehicle types.

The Defect

The problem that has caused the concern involves part of the electrical assembly used in power steering. The component in question is a third-party item produced by Hitachi Automotive systems and used in the three Subaru models. The Nikkei report explained that when the part fails, a warning light activates on the dashboard, and steering the car becomes harder for the driver. Xinhua noted there have been two instances of such a failure happening, though no one has been reported injured yet.

The fact that Subaru cars use a unique engine configuration known as the “boxer” layout may have exacerbated the challenges of the situation. The components for these engines are not compatible with generic hardware that work in more standardized engines. Subaru technicians searched for a solution to the current issue that did not require manufacturing and ordering a “made from scratch” replacement part. That meant isolating the exact issue causing the fault and correcting it.

To remove the defective parts from the supply chain, Subaru shut down its main production facility in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, which produces 2,600 cars a day when operational. Most of the vehicles produced in the plant – 80 percent – are exported, and Nikkei added that 60 percent of those cars go to U.S. dealerships. After ascertaining which part would have to be replaced to resume production, Subaru reopened its plant on schedule, according to Xinhua.

As the component is produced by an outside supplier, Hitachi has also been contacted for input. Hitachi stated that problems during car assembly are unlikely, which may mean the electronics within the steering components are faulty.

Timeline of Events

The potential recall at Subaru has developed over a relatively short time frame. All the affected vehicles that contain the potentially defective part were produced between late December 2018 and the Jan. 16 shutdown of the Gumna plant. Upon discovery of the fault, Subaru declared a week-long shutdown and sent out recall notices for roughly 780 vehicles that were made at the facility in question and sent to be sold on the Japanese market instead of overseas, according to the Xinhua report.

Nikkei added that the quality control division within Subaru, which has been the subject of some of the automaker’s recent scandals in the Japanese market, did not catch the potential power steering problem. Instead, two reports of problems with steering were used to determine the part responsible. Fortunately, there were no collisions or injuries of any kind reported due to the power steering issues. While the vehicles may have become hard to control, they didn’t crash.

The automaker’s recent series of scandals, as described by Nikkei, began in late 2017. At that time, Subaru revealed that some of its inspections were performed by staff without the proper certifications. After that, more troubling details emerged. In November 2018, a valve spring problem caused the recall of 101,000 vehicles, with 100,000 more added because of legal compliance issues.

These recalls have taken a toll on the company’s finances. In the immediate aftermath of the plant closure notice, Subaru’s stock price fell 6 percent on the Tokyo exchange. The announcement that the stoppage would only last a week provided some relief, but the impact was still a net negative, demonstrating the lasting financial impact of repeated recall events and quality-control problems.

The Solution

Due to several complicating factors, the exact course of action Subaru will take is unclear. The roughly 14,000 exported cars that may contain faulty Hitachi steering components have not been officially recalled. Since the vehicles have all been produced over the past few months, many of them are likely still in the custody of dealers rather than customers.

The automaker is pondering sending replacement parts overseas to replace the faulty components, according to Xinhua, rather than recalling the vehicles to Japan to be refitted. The domestic recall has been the most straightforward part of the process, with the under-1,000 vehicles produced for the Japan market already recalled.

Since the production facility impacted is primarily used to produce export vehicles, and most of those cars are bound for the U.S., there is a chance American regulators may soon be involved in the recall process. Recent weeks have seen no new announcements from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as it shut down operations along with other Federal agencies during the budget impasse. During that silence, some automakers have still issued their own recall notices for U.S. vehicles, including the latest wave of Takata air bag inflator repairs.

Sean ReyesSubaru ponders 14,000-car recall amid production shutdown

Honda Recalls More Than 1,000 Leased Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicles

Laguna Hills, Calif. – January 31, 2019 –  Honda is recalling 1,082 model-year 2017-2018 Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles, all located in California, and all part of a leasing program. The action affects some vehicles already listed under a previous recall.

The Defect

According to Consumer Affairs, the Fuel Cell Electronic Control Unit (ECU) responsible for monitoring voltage in the fuel cell stack can possibly misinterpret a minor voltage variance. In such cases, the ECO may erroneously shut down the fuel cell stack in response to the misinterpreted data. The shutdown of the fuel stack could result in an unexpected loss of motive power. Such a power loss, especially at high speeds, can significantly increase the risk of a crash and potentially cause harm to the vehicle’s driver or passengers.

Timeline of Events

According to Tire Meets Road, the Honda Clarity has been marketed as a “lease-only option” for drivers. Unlike a standard electric car which uses a battery to store electricity, the hydrogen fuel cell Clarity requires compressed hydrogen running constantly through a fuel cell, which produces electricity that powers the car’s electric motor. There have been online comments about loss of power and other issues with high parts costs and A1 service bills.

In 2017, a similar recall was issued for 2017 Honda Clarity models. Approximately 470 model-year 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell electric vehicles were recalled to service dealerships for a reset of ECO software to rectify power system problems, but lack of available parts has delayed resolving this issue for 2017 cars until mid-February 2019. The current recall for 2018 vehicles is expected to be similarly delayed.

The Solution

Honda will begin notifying owners in mid-February 2019. A dealership will update the ECU software for free. Owners can call the automaker at 888-234-2138. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to


Sean ReyesHonda Recalls More Than 1,000 Leased Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicles

GM Recalls More Than 1,000 Chevy Malibus for Air Bag Defects

Detroit – January 31, 2022 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has remedied issues with 459 2010-2011 Chevy Malibu vehicles for a potential defect that may cause the driver’s frontal airbag inflator to explode. Additionally, 52 of these vehicles have been categorized as unreachable, and 53 have been removed from the recall. These 2010-2011 Chevrolet Malibu models were remedied in 2 different years, four groups in 2019 and three groups were remedied in 2020 by having these driver airbag issues.

Detroit – January 31, 2019 General Motors is recalling certain 2010-2011 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles, due to a potentially dangerous airbag defect. Up to 1,145 units may be affected by this issue.

The defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Report, in the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver’s frontal airbag, the airbag inflator in these cars may explode due to being over-pressurized.

If the inflator explodes, sharp metal fragments may strike the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death.

Timeline of events

On November 30, 2017, an attorney contacted GM and claimed that on September 22, 2017, the front-driver airbag inflator in a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu ruptured during a crash-related deployment and injured his client.

GM reported the allegation to NHTSA on December 6 of the same year in accordance with Standing General Orders 2015-01 and 2015-02.

Between November 30, 2017, and December 13, 2018, GM made multiple attempts to locate and inspect the vehicle to confirm whether or not a rupture had occurred.

A GM engineer was permitted to inspect the vehicle and components. Based on that examination, GM determined that the front-driver airbag inflator in the subject vehicle likely over-pressurized and ruptured during deployment.’’

On December 19, 2018, GM presented the inspection photos and the other findings of its preliminary analysis to the NHTSA. On December 20, 2018, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall on the ARC inflators built in the suspect manufacturing lot.

At the time of the initial filing, GM was not aware of other rupture allegations involving this ARC inflator in GM vehicles.

On December 29, 2016, GM recalled certain 2017 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles due to airbag inflator defects. This recall is part of the larger Takata airbag inflators recall. These problems were similar to the reasons that led to a recent recall of 2016 Malibu vehicles.

The solution

GM has notified owners of these potentially problematic vehicles, and dealers will replace the front driver airbag module for free. Interim notices informing owners of the safety risk were mailed on February 8, 2019.

Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available, which is expected to be in late March 2019. GM’s number for this recall is N182206630.

The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V-019000.

To find out if your vehicle is part of this recall, use’s free vehicle recall lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls More Than 1,000 Chevy Malibus for Air Bag Defects

Toyota Recalls Nearly 4,400 Corolla Hatchbacks Due to Major Transmission Issue

Plano, Texas – January 30, 2019 –  Toyota is recalling close to 3,400 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchbacks in the USA and a further nearly 1,000 vehicles in Canada due to a faulty component in the transmission. Only Corolla Hatchbacks with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) are included in this recall. The Corolla sedan is excluded, as are any hatchbacks with manual transmissions.

The Defect

According to Toyota’s press release, in the involved vehicles, there is a possibility the that due to a manufacturing error, the blades of the pump impeller in the torque converter may detach, causing the converter in Toyota’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to possibly fail. This may lead to a loss of vehicle power. If the part fails while the car is in motion, the vehicle’s loss of power could increase the risk of a crash, especially if the failure happens when the vehicle is traveling at a high speed, which could lead to a crash or possible vehicle rollover or even an explosion due to catastrophic transmission failure.

Timeline of Events

In July of 2019, more than 1000 Toyota Models were recalled due to a labeling error. A subsidiary of Toyota Motor Company recalled certain Corolla, Sienna, Yaris iA, and Camry models due to a labeling flaw that may misinform users of how much weight their automobiles can safely carry. Motorists should check the label on their factory-installed floor mats to see if they’re affected and contact their nearest Toyota dealership so the clerical issue can be corrected. The replacement will come at no charge.

Late in 2018 a previous Toyota recall revealed that over 130,000 of its trucks and SUVs had faulty sensors, affecting seat belt tension and air bag functionality. At the time no plan was in place to resolve that issue, although Toyota announced in a press release that it was developing a solution and would notify owners by mid-February.

The news of the pending recall came in late December. It has not yet been released what prompted the investigation that led to the recall, although at this time no accidents or injuries related to the vehicles being recalled are known as yet. Toyota introduced its new “Direct Shift-CVT” in 2018 and implemented it in the 2019 Corolla Hatchback. The Direct Shift-CVT uses a launch gear to improve off-the-line performance. The expectation was that the addition would lead to faster shifts and a 6 percent increase in fuel economy.

The Solution

Toyota dealers will replace the Direct Shift-CVT with a new one containing a new torque converter not affected by this issue at no cost to customers, starting as soon as the company has sufficient parts to make those repairs.

Owners can contact Toyota at 800-331-4331. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

Sean ReyesToyota Recalls Nearly 4,400 Corolla Hatchbacks Due to Major Transmission Issue

Fiat Chrysler Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles Due to Takata Air Bags

Laguna Hills, Calif. – January 29, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. to have their Takata air bag inflators replaced. The action includes 2010-2015 Chrysler 300 sedans, 2010-2011 Dodge Dakota trucks, 2010-2014 Dodge Challenger coupes, 2011-2015 Dodge Charger sedans, 2010-2016 Jeep Wrangler SUVs, and 2010 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 trucks.

The Defect

According to Consumer Reports, the Takata air bag inflators use ammonium nitrate to inflate the air bag in the event of a crash. That compound has been found to become unstable over time, especially after exposure to temperature fluctuations and periods of constant high humidity. The instability can cause inflators to explode with violent force during an impact.

If a defective air bag ruptures, it can cause sharp metal fragments to fly outwards directly into the faces of the driver and passengers. This loose debris can significantly increase the risk of serious injury or death for all occupants of the vehicle.

Timeline of Events

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Takata recall is the largest and most complex automotive recall in U.S. history. It covers 50 million air bag inflators in 37 million cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks from 19 manufacturers. At least 15 drivers’ and passengers’ deaths – and more than 250 injuries – have been attributed to the devices.

The recall has been spaced out to allow manufacturers time to acquire and stock replacement parts. Since the degradation of the inflator material occurs over time, the recall addressed the oldest affected cars first as well as those located in areas of temperature fluctuation and high humidity. The recall notices have been since rolled out in phases on a predetermined schedule. The latest rollout includes the Fiat Chrysler vehicles, and these recalls will continue into 2020.

The Solution

FCA says it will let owners of affected vehicles know when they can schedule service. Dealers will replace the passenger-side front air bag inflator free of charge. Owners can contact FCA’s recall information center at 800-853-1403. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

Is your vehicle part of the recall?

Over 1.4 million vehicles were originally part of this recall. As of April 9, 2021 – the last date for which information was available – 958,175 airbags had been replaced. To see if your car still needs to be repaired, use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool.

Sean ReyesFiat Chrysler Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles Due to Takata Air Bags

Subaru Impreza, BRZ and XV Crosstek valve spring recall update

Camden, New Jersey, Jan. 28, 2019 – In November 2018, Subaru of America issued a recall for 165,534 vehicles across the Impreza, BRZ, and XV Crosstek models. The recall was brought on by engine springs that are prone to fracturing. In the event that these components break, the cars may make unnatural noises, or the engines may malfunction or stall. Recently, the Burlington Free Press revealed additional details of the recall, including the fact that some dealers may not be able to replace the part until late 2020.

The vehicles that potentially contain compromised value screws include the 2013 Subaru BRZ, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstek, and the 2012-2014 Subaru Impreza. Owners of these vehicles should have already received letters regarding the recall, which is how the Free Press determined how long the repair timeline will be in high-demand areas such as Vermont.

The Defect

Reacting to reports of compromised valve springs within vehicle engines, Subaru issued its recall for the cars in question. In addition to strange noises and other unspecified malfunctions, engine stalling may make it impossible for drivers to start their cars again. Subaru recommended in its letter to vehicle owners that if they experience noise or vibrations while driving, they pull over as soon as it is safely possible, to ensure they do not suffer the heightened collision risk that would come with stalling out.

Timeline of Events

The report from the Free Press brings more clarity to how long the recall will take to carry out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration named the defect Nov. 1, 2018. When the first notice went out, there had been 11 reports of cars suffering from operational problems due to insufficiently strong springs in their engines. Letters went out to Subaru owners shortly thereafter instructing them to bring their vehicles into a dealership for repairs as soon as possible. When the Free Press’s reporter set a date to have her own Subaru repaired, the local dealership explained the earliest slot it has available is in November 2020.

Representatives from the dealership explained that due to the large number of Subarus on the roads of Vermont, as well as the time-consuming nature of the repairs and the need for specialized training, the timeline of repairs will stretch well into next year. Dealership personnel needs to be briefed on the spring replacement operation. At the dealership in question, this tutorial is scheduled for February.

The Solution

In a 7-to-13-hour procedure, mechanics will replace the affected parts in affected vehicles. The procedure uses specialized tools. In addition to the relatively time-consuming nature of the work, as well as the limited number of tools present at each dealership, only one vehicle is serviced each day. This procedure explains the long wait time in areas such as Burlington.

In its recall notice, Subaru noted that if a vehicle stalls and cannot start again due to spring problems, owners should make arrangements to have the car towed to the nearest Subaru dealer. For vehicle owner reference, the recall number is 18V-772 in Subaru’s system and WTY-84 according to the NHTSA’s records.

Sean ReyesSubaru Impreza, BRZ and XV Crosstek valve spring recall update

Tesla Recalls Certain Model S Vehicles as Part of Takata Air Bag Recall


Laguna Hills, Calif. – January 27, 2019 – Tesla is recalling close to 14,000 Model S vehicles as part of the global Takata air bag recall. Affected vehicles are part of a worldwide recall that impacted millions of vehicles from different manufacturers. The recall involves Model S cars manufactured between February 2014 and December 2016, according to TechCrunch, but does not affect the Roadster, Model X, Model 3, or later Model S vehicles.

The Defect

The Takata air bag inflators in question contain a propellant material that can decompose over time, leading to risk of explosion on impact and flying shards of debris. The explosion of an air bag and resulting impact of debris could cause serious injury or death to a driver or passenger. The recall has been ongoing and is taking place worldwide.

Timeline of Events

According to Tesla, the company has been adhering to a schedule previously determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The recall of the front passenger air bags in 2012 Model S vehicles, which began in January 2017, has now been extended to 2013 Model S vehicles in January 2018, and is also being extended to 2014-2016 Model S vehicles in January 2019.

Tesla remedied nearly 90 percent of all affected 2012 and 2013 Model S vehicles within one year after announcing its recall, and is now moving on to address the 2014-2016 models. Tesla has stated that owners do not need to be concerned if they have not been contacted yet: There is a schedule set in place for notifications to keep repairs moving smoothly, and most vehicles are not in the range of danger yet, as the air bags only become dangerous after a certain amount of time has passed since their manufacture.

The Solution

Tesla is currently continuing to contact customers to complete their air bag replacements. Owners of 2012-2013 Model S vehicles who have not yet received this replacement should schedule a service appointment. For 2014-2016 Model S, replacement parts are expected to be available by the spring of 2019, and Tesla will contact owners when the parts are ready.

Tesla is encouraging the use of their Mobile Service for customers to have the airbag replaced in the convenience of their home, office or other location. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

Sean ReyesTesla Recalls Certain Model S Vehicles as Part of Takata Air Bag Recall

Maserati recall covers 4,300 sports cars

Modena, Italy, Jan. 27, 2019 – Manufacturers of high-specification sports cars are susceptible to the same recall cycles that afflict general-audience carmakers, and for the same types of problems. The recent recall of over 4,000 Maserati vehicles for potentially defective fuel lines demonstrates this issue. While the number of vehicles is smaller than in recent recalls by Ford, Toyota and other large automakers, there are still thousands of cars on the roads with this potentially dangerous defect.

According to a wire news report from market regulators in China, the models involved in the recall are the Quattroporte and Ghibli sports cars. The vehicles were manufactured between March 2013 and June 2015. The exact number of vehicles involved in the action comprises 3,282 Quattroporte models and 1,054 of the Ghibli. The cars were manufactured in Italy and imported for sale in China, where the defect was discovered.

The Defect

The potential problem in the recalled Maseratis comes from fuel line installation. Regulators have discovered that when fuel lines are installed incorrectly, as may have happened with the cars in question, there is an increased chance of gas leaking into the vehicle.

Fuel line leaks pose a risk to drivers because they increase the chance of fires catching in the car. While the recall coming from the state administration in China warns of the dangers of incorrectly installed fuel lines, there was no clarification as to whether there have been leaks discovered in real-world situations, or whether the fault was discovered in a laboratory setting.

Timeline of Events

The Maserati vehicles involved in the current recall were manufactured concurrently between 2013 and 2015. The 3282 Quattroporte cars were made between March 22, 2013 and June 17, 2015. The Ghibli models impacted were produced between Sept. 27, 2013 and June 11, 2015. It is unclear from the recall announcement which model years were attached to these cars when they were sold.

On January 27, the recall announcement was made by the State Administration for Market Regulation in China. The organization, part of the Chinese government, targeted only cars imported from Italy to China. It is therefore unknown whether Maserati cars made during the same period and exported elsewhere in the world will be recalled for a similar defect. In a note that may be relevant to this case, the National Highway Traffic Security Administration, the U.S. body that publicizes recalls, was just reopening from a federal government shutdown when China made its announcement.

The Solution

Drivers of the affected vehicles are asked to work with the automaker to have the hoses replaced. Dealerships will replace the affected parts at no cost to drivers. According to the news release, only the fuel lines have to be replaced, as there was no mention of related parts also needing to be switched out. This recall demonstrates that even a niche vehicle, imported into an overseas market, can encounter a recall for thousands of units. Due to the potentially fatal consequences of a vehicle fire, it’s clear that drivers of the affected cars should opt to have their dealers perform the necessary repairs.

Sean ReyesMaserati recall covers 4,300 sports cars

Hyundai and Kia Recall Nearly 168,000 Vehicles for Potential Fuel Leaks and Fire Risk

Laguna Hills, Calif. – Jan. 26, 2019 – Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp are recalling close to 168,000 U.S. vehicles at risk of fuel leaks. This recall comes after a previous recall in 2017 for engine fire risks. The companies will also offer software upgrades for 3.7 million vehicles. The new recall covers 68,000 various Kia Optima, Sorento and Sportage vehicles from the 2011 through 2014 model years, and also affects 100,000 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata and 2013-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport vehicles.

The Defect

According to Reuters, engine replacements during the prior recall could have involved a high-pressure fuel pipe that may have been damaged or improperly installed. The faulty installation could increase the risk of fire. Hyundai and Kia now also state that the high-pressure fuel line may have been damaged, misaligned, or improperly adjusted during the engine replacement procedure. That could allow fuel to leak and increase the risk of fire.

Timeline of Events

According to Reuters, in 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 U.S. Sonata sedans. The reason for the recall was given as a possibility of engine failure that could result in a vehicle stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Kia did not recall its vehicles, which share the same “Theta II” engines, at that time.

In 2016, a South Korean whistleblower reported concerns regarding this design flaw to NHTSA. The U.S. agency had been investigating the timeliness of three U.S. recalls, and the number of vehicles recalled.  In March 2017, Hyundai expanded the recall to include an additional 572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles with “Theta II” engines, claiming a small amount of manufacturing debris was responsible for potential engine stall, and Kia recalled 618,000 Optima, Sorento and Sportage vehicles with the same engine at the same time.

According to Consumer Reports, in May 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal investigation into the recalls. The Center for Auto Safety (CAS), a consumer watchdog group, filed a formal petition with the NHTSA in June 2018 to investigate multiple fire complaints.

The Solution

Authorized dealers will inspect the connection between the high-pressure fuel pipe and the fuel pump outlet. If leaking fuel is detected, the dealer will replace the fuel pipe and properly install a new one, at no charge to owners.

In addition to the recall, both automakers have announced a software update and warranty extension. This announcement affects approximately 2 million 2011-2018 Hyundai Sonata sedans and 2013-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUVs, and about 1.6 million 2011-2018 Kia Optima sedans, 2012-2018 Kia Sorento SUVs, and 2011-2018 Kia Sportage SUVs. The software update is reported to protect the engine from damage that could lead to vibrations or stalling. Kia and Hyundai will also extend engine warranties to 10 years and 120,000 miles for owners of affected vehicles who contact their dealer for a free software update.

Hyundai and Kia will notify owners of the recall details via first-class mail. Owners of affected vehicles may call Hyundai at 800-633-5151 or Kia at 800-333-4542. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

Sean ReyesHyundai and Kia Recall Nearly 168,000 Vehicles for Potential Fuel Leaks and Fire Risk