US safety regulators announced on Monday that they are investigating 16 recalls issued by Hyundai and Kia, affecting 6.4 million vehicles. These recalls are related to brake fluid leaks that could potentially cause fires. Since 2016, the Korean automakers have issued multiple recalls for problems with the antilock braking system and Hydraulic Electronic Control Units (HECU), which are manufactured by the same parts supplier and have led to fires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting an audit to assess the timeliness of Hyundai and Kia’s decision-making process concerning these defects, their compliance with reporting requirements, and the differences in defect descriptions and solutions across these recalls.
In September, Korean automakers recalled a total of 3.37 million vehicles in the United States due to the risk of engine fires. Owners were advised to park their cars outside and away from structures until repairs were completed. The automakers explained that internal brake fluid leaks could cause an electrical short circuit that could lead to a fire. Hyundai reported 21 fires and 21 other thermal incidents since 2017, while Kia reported at least 10 confirmed fires and melting incidents.
Kia and Hyundai have reported issues in their vehicles related to brake fluid leaks. In Kia vehicles, the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) may experience an electrical short. Meanwhile, Hyundai vehicles may have an internal brake fluid leakage from the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) module, which can lead to an electrical short.
The September recall involved around 1.73 million Kia vehicles, including models like Borrego, Cadenza, Forte, Sportage, K900, Optima, Soul, Rio, Sorento, and Rondo. The vehicles covered are from various model years between 2010 and 2017. Additionally, Hyundai recalled approximately 1.64 million vehicles in September. These vehicles include Elantra, Genesis Coupe, Sonata Hybrid, Accent, Azera, Veloster, Santa Fe, Equus, Veracruz, Tucson, Tucson Fuel Cell, and Santa Fe Sport. The recalled Hyundai vehicles are from model years 2011 to 2015.