Engine issues, battery issues, and electrical issues have all led to recalls from both automakers.
Over 7 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been recalled for risk of fire in the last 12 years.
Many of the problems seem to come from the subpar quality of supplier-made parts.
Some Hyundai and Kia vehicles are twice as likely to suffer from a non-crash-related fire than other vehicles in their category, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).
Investigations both by the automakers and independent boards have revealed that these fires can come from many unrelated sources that range from electrical issues to actual engine failures.
Hyundai and Kia have launched many well-publicized recall campaigns in the last few years due to widespread issues with some of their four-cylinder engines.
These engines, used in many of Hyundai and Kia’s most popular models such as the Elantra and Forte, the Sonata and Optima/k5, the Tucson and Sportage, as well as the Santa-Fe and Sorento, can suffer from a defective connecting rod bearing, which can cause massive engine damage and even an under-hood fire if oil comes in contact with hot items.
Engines are not the only cause of fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles, however, since the electric Kona EV and the Ioniq have been recalled either in Canada, the United States, or both countries, due to an increased risk of fire coming from the lithium-ion battery.
In addition, other components have been found to cause fires in certain vehicles, such as the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit used in the ABS braking system or contaminated circuit boards.
Many of the components involved in these incidents are manufactured by outside suppliers, which could indicate a lack of quality control measures both from the individual suppliers and the automakers.
All of these causes combined with the parts-sharing practices between Hyundai and Kia means that over 7 million vehicles have been recalled due to an increased risk of fire during the last 12 years, many of them more than once.
Most of the previous recalls led to repairs and modifications that should prevent further incidents but some remain under investigation and Hyundai found out that some of its dealerships falsely claimed to have done recall work on affected vehicles.
Both Hyundai and Kia offer a lifetime warranty on some vehicles equipped with a few specific engines and owners won a class-action lawsuit in the US that can make them entitled to receive compensation if their vehicle experiences an engine problem, including an under-hood fire.
Source: Consumer Reports