Kia recalls over 193K vehicles; fuel leaks can cause fires

Kia Emblem

DETROIT (AP) — Kia is recalling more than 193,000 cars and minvans in yet another move to fix nagging problems that could cause engine fires.

The largest of two U.S. recalls released by the government Thursday covers nearly 142,000 2013 and 2014 Optima midsize cars. They have 2.4-liter direct fuel injection or 2-liter direct injection turbocharged engines.

Kia says a fuel hose can deteriorate and crack due to engine heat. The hoses can leak and cause fires.

A fix is still being developed. The recall is expected to start April 16.

The second recall covers about 51,000 2011 and 2012 Sedona minivans. The fuel injector rail can crack from exposure to heat, causing a gas leak.

Dealers will replace the injector part starting April 16.

No fires or injuries have been reported in either recall. But Kia has eight reports of fuel leaks in Optimas and 24 reports in Sedonas.

The recalls are the latest in a litany of problems that can cause engines to burn in models made by Kia and affiliated South Korean automaker Hyundai. Past problems have triggered investigations by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Earlier this month Kia recalled nearly 229,000 older Sedonas and Sorento SUVs because moisture can get into the antilock brake control computers, causing an electrical short and possibly a fire. Hyundai recalled nearly 430,000 older Elantra small cars due to the same problem.

Last April, NHTSA opened two new investigations into fires involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles after getting complaints of more than 3,100 fires and 103 injuries.

The agency granted a petition seeking the investigations by the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group.

The investigations, one for Hyundai and the other for Kia, cover noncrash fires in almost 3 million vehicles from the affiliated automakers.

NHTSA had previously said it would incorporate the noncrash fires into a 2017 investigation that examined recalls of Hyundai and Kia vehicles for engine failures. It opened the new probes “based on the agency’s analysis of information received from multiple manufacturers, consumer complaints and other sources.”

Engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than 6 million vehicles since 2015, according to NHTSA documents. So far, Hyundai and Kia have recalled about 2.4 million vehicles to fix problems that can cause fires and engine failures.

In addition, the automakers are doing a “product improvement campaign” covering another 3.7 million vehicles to install software that will alert drivers of possible engine failures and send the cars into a reduced-speed “limp” mode if problems are detected.

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