Kia and Hyundai recall 33 million cars and tell owners

Kia and Hyundai recall 3.3 million cars and tell owners to park outside

Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are recalling 3.3 million used vehicles because they can catch fire when parked or while driving due to problems with the anti-lock braking system.

The recalled Hyundai models include sedans such as the Accent, Azera, Elantra, Genesis Coupe and Sonata, as well as the Tuscon SUV. The recalled Kia models include the Optima and Soul sedans and the Sportage SUV. The affected vehicles come from model years 2010 to 2019.

The vehicle’s antilock braking system could leak brake fluid and cause an electrical short, which could then increase the risk of a fire in the engine compartment, federal safety officials said. Automakers said that over time, an O-ring in the antilock brake motor shaft can lose its seal and cause leaks due to moisture, dirt and dissolved metals in the brake fluid.

Click here to view related media.

Click to expand

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall announcement, owners of these car models should park the vehicle outside and away from buildings until repairs can be made.

According to recall documents, Hyundai reported 21 fires in the affected vehicles in the U.S. and another 22 “thermal incidents,” including smoke, burning and parts melting. Kia reported ten fires and melting events.

Dealers will replace the anti-lock brake system fuse at no charge to owners. Kia said in the filing that it will send notification letters to owners starting Nov. 14. For Hyundai the date is November 21st.

Hyundai said in a statement that owners can continue to drive the vehicles and that no accidents or injuries have been reported. Hyundai owners are advised to take their vehicle to a local dealer and have the brake system module fuse replaced. Kia is still working on a solution for its models.

“Why not fix the problem”?

Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, questioned why automakers don’t fix leak problems and wait so long to notify owners. The remedy is to replace one fuse with another, but brake fluid can still leak and potentially cause a safety problem, Brooks said.

“Why not fix the problem?” he asked. “What you are doing here is not fixing the O-ring and leak that is causing the problem in the first place. They address a symptom or part of the problem without actually fixing the underlying design problem.”

Brooks also questioned why the NHTSA only allows companies to replace a fuse and why preliminary letters are not sent to owners immediately warning them of a serious problem.

“You would think that these owners should be informed now that they should not park in their garages or their house could catch fire,” he said.

Which models are being recalled?

The recalled vehicles are:


  • Accent 2012-2015
  • 2012-2015 Azera
  • 2011-2015 Elantra
  • 2013-2015 Elantra Coupe
  • 2014-2015 Equus
  • 2011-2015 Genesis Coupe
  • 2013-2015 Santa Fe
  • 2013 Santa Fe Sports
  • 2011-2015 Sonata HEV
  • 2010-2013 Tucson
  • 2015 Tucson fuel cell
  • 2012-2015 Veloster
  • 2010-2012 Veracruz


  • 2014-2016 cadence
  • 2011-2013 Forte/Forte Koup
  • 2015-2017 K900
  • 2010-2015 Optima
  • 2011-2013 Optima Hybrid
  • 2011-2017 Rio
  • Rondo 2010
  • 2011-2014 Sorento
  • 2011-2013 soul
  • 2010-2013 Sportage

The anti-lock braking system recall comes a month after automakers also recalled 92,000 vehicles because an electronic control in their oil pumps could overheat and cause a fire. This recall affects some 2023 and 2024 Hyundai Palisades, some 2023 Tucson, Sonata, Elantra and Konas, and 2023 Kias Soul, Sportage and Seltos.

Increase in thefts

Kia has also drawn unwanted attention this year because of an increase in thefts linked to a TikTok challenge that asked people to hotwire vehicles using a screwdriver and a USB cable. The thefts have been linked to at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities, according to NHTSA. About 9 million vehicles were affected by the spate of thefts, including Hyundai Elantras and Sonatas as well as Kia Fortes and Souls.

Hyundai and Kia agree to a $200 million settlement in a class-action vehicle theft lawsuit

The increase in thefts and accidents prompted attorneys general in 17 states to urge the federal government to recall millions of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Automakers rejected requests for a recall, opting instead to provide free software updates to thwart thieves. Hyundai and Kia paid $200 million earlier this year to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by owners whose vehicles were stolen as part of the nationwide spate of car thefts.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

More from CBS News

Christopher J Brooks