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Feds Investigating Fires Linked to Hyundai/Kia Engine Failure

June 28, 2018 0 Comments

Federal safety investigators have expanded the probe into engine failures in Hyundai and Kia vehicles to include complaints of fires in affected vehicles.

In a letter to Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 402 fire complaints in the automaker’s vehicles, both with and without collisions involved.

Nelson, along with the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, previously asked the NHTSA if it was investigating the auto fires.

Deputy Administration Heidi King informed Nelson via a letter published on Wednesday that the agency is including fires that occurred without a collision in its engine failure probe, as many consumers who complained about engine failure reported fires as well.

The NHTSA is looking into three recalls issued by the Korean automakers, investigating if they followed proper safety reporting requirements.

In September 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 vehicles due to the potential for manufacturing debris to restrict oil flow to connecting rod bearings, which could cause the bearings in four-cylinder engines to wear and fail.

Hyundai and its smaller affiliate, Kia, issued two more recalls concerning the same problem in March 2017, covering an additional 1.2 million vehicles.

In May last year, the government began looking into the automakers’s response time regarding the recall for 1.6 million vehicles to ensure they acted in a timely manner. If the NHTSA discovers that Hyundai and Kia moved too slowly to recall the affected vehicles, it could issue fines and order additional recalls.

Hyundai limited the 2015 recall to vehicles manufactured prior to April 12, 2012, according to NHTSA documents posted in 2017, claiming it resolved the manufacturing issue after that date.

Kia’s 2.4-liter and 2-liter “Theta II” engines, which were of the same design as Hyundai’s under the recall, were not recalled; Kia claimed they didn’t have the same issue at the time of the 2015 recall.

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