Kia Motors America is recalling a total of 294,756 vehicles in the United States over defects that could lead to engine-compartment fires. The recall affects at least six models from the 2011 to 2015 model years.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the vehicles covered by the safety recall are the 2011-2013 Optima Hybrid, 2012 Sportage, 2012-2013 Sorento, 2012-2015 Forte and Forte Koup equipped with the 2.4-liter Theta II, and the 2014-2015 Soul powered by the 2.0-liter Nu engine.
NHTSA advised owners of the listed vehicles to be wary of “engine noise, illumination of check-engine light [or] low-oil light, fuel smell, burning smell, oil leaking, [or] smoke.” The agency, however, clarified that the primary cause of the problem is still “undetermined.”
Kia, according to the NHTSA, is recalling the vehicles as a “preventative measure to mitigate any unreasonable fire risk.”
Dealers in the United States have already been instructed to inspect the engine compartments of the recalled vehicles, make the necessary repairs, and replace engines as needed. Kia is also working on updating the software and adding a knock sensor detection system, which can detect problems with the engine.
The NHTSA said Kia will provide 15-year or 150,000-mile warranty coverage for vehicles that have undergone engine repairs caused by problems with the connecting-rod bearings. Moreover, the automaker will reimburse owners for the expenses incurred due to the problem.
Owners of the affected vehicles can expect their notifications beginning January 27, 2021.