Kia recalls SUVs over stall and fire risk

Irvine, CA – May 4, 2021 – Kia Motors (OTCMKTS:KIMTF) is recalling 147,249 vehicles equipped with 2.0L Nu MPI engines, which may stall or catch fire while driving as a result of internal damage. This increases risk of a crash and may result in serious injuries to vehicle occupants.  This Kia vehicle recall includes the following vehicles:

  • 2021 Kia  Seltos
  • 2020 Kia Soul 
  • 2021 Kia Soul

The component in question is called “piston assembly,” part number 23041-2E801. This is the latest in the series of ongoing fire-related Kia and Hyundai recalls.

Recall summary  

The engines of these cars contain piston oil rings, whose function is to seal the combustion chamber  – where gasoline and air mix  – from other parts of the engine, partly to ensure that no extra oil is passed into the chamber.

Due to a supplier error,  the recalled vehicles’ piston oil rings were “improperly heated” during production.  As a result of this, they may become excessively hard to the point where they start chipping. This may result in the seal between the other parts of the engine and the combustion chamber breaking, which may cause extra oil to get into the engine and damage it.

The damage may cause the car to stall while driving. If the car continues to be driven, parts of the piston assembly can break apart and pierce the engine. This may result in the vehicle catching fire as oil escaping from the engine comes in contact with the “hot exhaust components.

Warning signs

The driver may be alerted to this problem if they hear the engine make a metallic rattling sound and feel it vibrate. In most cases, this will be accompanied by an illuminated “ oil pressure warning light” on the dashboard. To prevent any further damage, the driver should stop the vehicle in the first safe spot and turn off the engine. 


Stalling while driving may lead to potentially dangerous situations, especially if it happens in high-speed or dense traffic. Car fires are very dangerous and kill over 300 people a year on average,  as reported.

For tips on what to do if your car catches fire, please see this article about last year’s Kia Stinger recall for mystery fire risk.

Other Kia engine recalls

Both Kia and Hyundai have been subject to multiple fire-related recalls. Recently, the latter – which is part-owned by Hyundai and builds vehicles on its platform – recalled over 300,000 Kia Cadenza and Kia Sportage cars because of fire risk related to a part within the anti-lock brake system (ABS). Faulty engine rod bearings were the culprit behind a recent Hyundai recall due to the stall and fire risk.

Seltos Kia 2021 is not subject to any additional recalls.

The repair

To fix the issue, Kia Motors dealers will conduct a special engine examination in affected vehicles . If an oil ring flaw is found, the dealer will replace the whole engine. In certain cases, the dealer might also install software that will alert the driver that the piston oil ring is damaged.

The recall is slated to begin on June 11.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This recall includes nearly 150,000 Kia vehicles. To do a Kia recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Bojan PopicKia recalls SUVs over stall and fire risk

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