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Hyundai, Kia tell nearly 500,000 vehicle owners to park outside — and away from all buildings — due to spontaneous fire risk

Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Korean car makers Hyundai and Kia are warning nearly a half-million U.S. vehicle owners to park outside and away from all buildings due to spontaneous fire risk, CNN reported Tuesday night.

What are the details?

According to the report, the vehicle manufacturers said that there is a potential defect that could cause impacted vehicles to spontaneously burst into flame — even when not running.

The issue, CNN reported, is due to "foreign contaminants" that could short-circuit the anti-lock brake computer control module, starting a fire in the engine compartment.

Hyundai has issued a recall for all 2014 and 2015 Tucson SUVs, 2016-2018 Santa Fe SUVs, 2017 and 2018 Santa Fe Sport SUVs, and 2019 Santa Fe XL SUV models. In total, the manufacturer is recalling 357,830 vehicles.

Kia for its part is recalling all 2014 Sportage SUVs and 2016-2018 K900 sedans — totaling 126,747 impacted vehicles.

In a statement on the recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, "Although the cause remains unknown, the manufacturers believe an electrical component in the anti-lock brake system may experience an internal electrical short circuit that could increase the risk of fire both while the vehicle is being driven or parked."

NBC News reported that there have been at least 11 related fires in the U.S., but no injuries have been reported so far.

"Dealers will inspect the vehicles' anti-lock braking control module, a small computer system that controls the vehicle's emergency anti-lock braking system, and may replace it with a new one," CNN reported. "Dealers will also replace a fuse that controls the electric current to the anti-lock braking control unit at no cost to owners. The new fuse will reduce the amount of power going into the module."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests owners visit www.nhtsa.gov and enter their 17-digit VIN to see if their vehicle is impacted by the recalls. Kia and Hyundai will also notify owners by mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to their respective dealerships for a free repair.

The latest recalls are yet another serious issue manufacturers have suffered in the last several years, including complaints of engine failure issues.

In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that the Korean vehicle manufacturers were ordered to pay out $137 million in fines and for safety improvements after failing to recall more than 1 million vehicles predisposed toward potential engine failure.

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