Irvine, California – Dec. 22, 2017 – Kia Motors America recently announced that it would need to recall more than 134,000 of its Forte sedans and Forte Koups from model years 2012 to 2014, due to concerns about brake pedal stopper pads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Specifically, the stopper pads – which are installed between the switch that lights up a vehicle’s brake lights and the brake pedal arm itself – can deteriorate over time and potentially lead to a greater risk for crash and injury. That’s because the brake lights may get stuck in the on position, among other potentially serious issues.
Of all the vehicles in the recall, which were produced from May 2, 2012, to Feb. 28, 2014, only about 1 percent of them are expected to have this issue. The affected cars were determined through a review of vehicle production records.
The brake pad stoppers that can deteriorate in these cases may not only lead to brake lights becoming stuck on – potentially increasing the risk of crash for trailing traffic specifically – but can also result in the dashboard traction control warning lamp lighting up unexpectedly. Furthermore, the problem may allow drivers to move the shift level without actually pressing down on the brake pedal, or even activate the vehicle’s brake pedal override feature.
The only way drivers may be able to determine if this issue has affected their vehicles during operation is if the traction control warning lamp comes on.
Timeline of Events
From July to October, 2017, Kia began to receive warranty claim data about the brake pedal stopper pads on various Fortes, and noted that the rate of such filings was increasing over time. From Nov. 3 to 16, the company contacted its supplier to investigate the issue, and during that time the supplier identified a change to its polymer mix cycle times for those stoppers made on Feb. 28, 2014. That investigation found that pads with shorter cycle times would likely have less durability.
As such, on Nov. 24, Kia decided to issue the safety recall based on 183 warranty claims and two complaints from owners of their brake lights staying on even after they took pressure off the brakes in their vehicles from the 2014 model year. However, no accidents or injuries were reported during this time.
Drivers will be able to bring affected vehicles to their local Kia dealers, where improved replacement brake pedal stopper pads will be installed free of charge. Kia will also reimburse owners for expenses they incurred stemming from this issue prior to the recall.
The company will notify dealerships of the recall on Jan. 24, 2018, and owners will receive notifications six days later.