Kia Optima and Sorento recalled with brake fluid leaks

Pleasanton, CA – August 27, 2020 – Kia Motors America (NASDAQ:KIMTF) has recalled 440,370 Optima and Sorento vehicles, due to a brake fluid leak, which increases the risk of an engine fire. The recall includes: 

  • 2013-2015 Optima Sedans
  • 2014-2015 Sorento SUVs

Recall summary  

These cars are equipped with the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), which is a component of the anti-lock braking system (ABS) that prevents the wheels from locking. Due to an error on the part of a supplier, brake fluid may enter the HECU, cause an electrical short and create a fire risk. 

This is the second recall Kia is conducting for a similar issue. In April, the manufacturer recalled Sedona and other Sorento vehicles, of several different model years, due to another error that allowed moisture to enter the control unit.


A fire in the engine compartment can injure the vehicle occupants. If the driver loses control of the vehicle due to a fire, other vehicles, pedestrians, and property may be at risk.

Engine fires are a real risk for drivers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated over 171,000 engine fires annually from 2014 to 2016. 

Warning signs

In some instances, the driver may see the ABS light or the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) come on prior to the fire. She also may become aware of “burning/melting smell [or] smoke from [the] engine compartment,” according to the recall notice.

What to do in the event of a fire?

If you suspect that your vehicle is on fire:

  • Pull over
  • Turn off the engine
  • Get all of the occupants away from the vehicle
  • Call 911

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will examine the HECU and determine if brake fluid is leaking. If the a brake fluid leak is found, the dealer will replace it free of charge. The recall began October 15, 2020.

Vehicle owners should park the vehicles outside and away from structures and other vehicles until repairs can be made.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 440,000 vehicles are included in this Optima and Sorento recall. To see if your vehicle is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydKia Optima and Sorento recalled with brake fluid leaks

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