Hyundai and Kia are advising owners of some 2015 and older vehicles to park the vehicle outside and not in a garage until they can be seen by dealers. More than a half-million Kia Optima sedans, Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs, and Kia Sorento SUVs in the United States have a brake-fluid leak in the anti-lock brakes’ hydraulic control unit that could cause an engine fire and, as a result, are being recalled.

The recall involves a total of 591,000 vehicles including 283, 803 Kia Optimas from 2013-2015; 156,567 Kia Sorentos from 2014-2015; and 151,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013-2015.

A spokesperson for Kia told Car and Driver that the company was not aware of any fires occurring while the vehicle is turned off and parked but, as a precaution, vehicle owners should park affected vehicles outdoors and away from other vehicles or structures until the recall repair has been performed.

Kia will begin sending recall notices to owners beginning Oct. 15. Hyundai will start sending letters later this month. Consumers will be asked to bring their vehicles to a dealer in order to check the hydraulic electronic control unit. If it is found to be faulty, the part will be replaced at no cost to the consumer. In the interim, vehicle owners should park the sedans or SUVs outside and away from other vehicles or structures.

Hyundai launched an investigation into the issue in 2018 after becoming aware of the problem. The company said that an engine fire could happen even if the car is turned off. In early 2020, Hyundai recalled 2006-2011 Elantra and 2007-2011 Elantra Touring vehicles due to an electrical short-circuit that could result in an engine fire.

Both Hyundai and Kia have been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since April 2019 due to reports of more than 3,000 engine fires resulting in 103 injuries unrelated to crashes.

We will be keeping an eye on this situation as it develops. Lawyers in our Consumer Fraud section investigate claims related to dangerous auto defects that result in economic harm to consumers. Beasley Allen lawyers Clay Barnett, in our Atlanta office, and Mitch Williams in the Montgomery office represent plaintiffs in the brake defect class action lawsuit involving full-size GM trucks and SUVs that experience sudden unnecessary “phantom braking” when there is no obstacle present. They are also currently working on claims involving Ford F150 trucks that suffer a loss of brakes due to a master cylinder defect.

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