Years after Channel 2 investigation, Hyundai recalls 215K more cars over fire threat

ATLANTA — Hyundai is recalling more than 215,000 midsize cars in the U.S. — most for a second time — because fuel hoses can leak in the engine compartment and cause fires.

The recall covers certain 2013 and 2014 Sonata sedans, many of which were recalled for the same problem in 2020.

The Korean automaker says in documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators that a low pressure fuel hose can crack over time due to heat from the engine. That can cause fuel leaks and increase the risk of a fire.

We’re breaking down the important information you need to know, for a LIVE update on Channel 2 Action News at 4 p.m.

Jason Levine heads the Center for Auto Safety. They filed the initial complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warning of these fire dangers.

“It’s not isolated to one model year or one model. So it’s problematic. And it’s a very large (recall),” Levine said. “This seems to be problematic in that it is probably a design problem, as well as a quality control problem.”

The new recall comes after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stepped up a series of investigations into engine compartment fires that have plagued Hyundai and related automaker Kia.

Channel 2 Action News first told you about these issues more than four years ago, when we obtained cellphone video after a driver saw the bottom of a 2012 Kia Sorento suddenly burst into flames along the roadway.

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A safety watchdog group petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate 2011-2014 Kia Sorentos and Optimas, 2010-2015 Kia Souls, and 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonatas and Santa Fes.

The watchdogs found certain models and model years of the Kias and Hyundais were burning at a rate six times higher than competitor vehicles.

Those models in question came from the Kia plant in West Point.

In February, Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray spoke with Ginger Evans, whose 2020 Kia Soul caught fire just down the road from her Blue Ridge home.

“I think about just someone’s loved one having to die because Kia — are they taking this seriously?” Evans said.

“You’re a Kia fan. You bought four of them. Will you ever buy another one?” Gray asked.

“No, I just don’t feel safe in them anymore,” Evans said.

Kia and Hyundai agreed to pay $137 million in fines and for safety improvements because they moved too slowly to recall more than 1 million vehicles with engines that can fail.

But since that settlement in November 2020, we’ve seen seven more waves of recalls for different fire dangers on different model Hyundais and Kias.

With the latest recall, Hyundai says in documents that it has 138 reports of problems in the U.S., but no confirmed crashes, fires or injuries.

Owners will be notified starting July 5.

In December, the agency consolidated two investigations from 2017 into a new engineering analysis covering more than 3 million vehicles from the 2011 through 2016 model years. At the time, NHTSA had received 161 complaints of engine fires, some of which occurred in vehicles that had already been recalled.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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