Kia Motors recalls nearly 300,000 cars over engine fire risk

Irvine, CA – December 15, 2020 – Kia Motors (KIMTF:OTC US) is recalling 294,756 vehicles whose engines may catch on fire. The recall includes the following: 

  • 2012-2015 Kia Forte compact sedans equipped with 
    • 2.0L Nu Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines  
    • 2.4L Theta II Multi-Port Injection (MPI) engines
  • 2012-2015 Kia Forte Koup cars equipped with 
    • 2.0L Nu GDI engines 
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines
  • 2011-2013 Kia Optima Hybrid cars equipped with 
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines
  • 2012-2013 Kia Sorento SUVs equipped with 
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines
  • 2014-2015 Kia Soul hatchbacks equipped with
    • 2.0L Nu GDI engines
  • 2012 Kia Sportage compact SUVs equipped with
    • 2.4L Theta II MPI engines

Recall summary

The recall stems from a risk that the engines could catch fire while driving.  Neither Kia nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have found a definite cause for the high rates of engine fire in these models. Kia said that the recall was a “preventative measure” that would attempt to address any existing fuel leaks, oil leaks or engine damage to mitigate fire risks.

Background of the recall

This recall was prompted by a June 2018 petition by the Center For Auto Safety, a consumer watchdog group that pushed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate the high rate of engine fires in certain Kia vehicles. While they have not yet determined the cause of the fires, NHTSA has recommended this recall based on the fire complaint data they got from Kia. 

As a result of the same investigation, Hyundai is set to recall close to 130,000 cars, including  2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs, 2011-2013 and 2016 Hyundai Sonata hybrids and 2015-2016 Hyundai Veloster hatchbacks. The recall is being conducted also due to the risk of a fire, as well as that of stalling while driving.

This is the second 2013 Kia Sorento recall related to engine fires. Fires also led to 2011-2012 Kia Sportage and 2013 Kia Optima recalls, according to NHTSA records.

Vehicle fires

Car fires are very dangerous. Please see the following article for tips on what to do if your vehicle catches fire.

Engine noise, the check engine light, the low oil light, fuel smell, burning smell, oil leaking, and smoke may indicate an active or potential fire in the recalled vehicles. 


This Kia Motors recall is slated to begin January 27, 2021. Kia will notify owners by mail, and dealers will inspect the engine compartment and perform an engine test. If they discover any problems, the dealer will repair them for free. This includes a replacement engine, if necessary. 

Kia is also working on a free software update designed to prevent engine damage, which dealers will install when available.  

Owners who have already repaired this defect on their own dime may be eligible for reimbursement.

Is your vehicle affected by this recall?

Nearly 300,000 cars are included with this Kia motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandKia Motors recalls nearly 300,000 cars over engine fire risk

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