Hyundai and Kia, two of the largest Korean automakers, have issued a recall for more than 571,000 SUVs and minivans in the United States due to a fire risk. The companies are advising owners of the affected vehicles to park them outside until the necessary repairs have been made.
The recall affects several Hyundai models, including the 2019-2023 Santa Fe, 2021-2023 Santa Fe Hybrid, 2022-2023 Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid, and the 2022-2023 Santa Cruz. The only Kia model affected by the recall is the 2022-2023 Carnival minivan. All the vehicles have a tow hitch harness that was installed by the manufacturer or by dealers.
According to documents posted by US safety regulators, water can seep into a circuit board on the tow hitch harnesses, which can cause a short circuit even if the car’s ignition is turned off. This can lead to a fire risk.
Hyundai has reported one fire and five heat damage incidents with no injuries. Kia, on the other hand, has not received any reports of fires or injuries.
Hyundai and Kia dealers will temporarily remove the fuse and tow hitch computer module until a permanent fix is available. Afterward, they will install a new fuse and wire extension with an improved waterproof connector. The companies will begin notifying owners of the affected vehicles on May 16.
This is not the first time Hyundai has issued a recall for a similar problem. Last year, the company recalled more than 245,000 2020-2022 Palisade SUVs due to a similar issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that the latest recall is a direct result of monitoring last year’s Palisade recall. If you own any of the affected Hyundai or Kia models, it is essential to follow the companies’ advice and park your vehicle outside until the necessary repairs are made.