Kia America, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of its vehicles due to another fire risk – the latest in a series of fire-related recalls among cars from the Hyundai Motor Group. This time, the flaw lies in the tow hitch harness module, which could catch fire while driving or the ignition switch off – similar to previous Hyundai/Kia recalls but slightly different.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 70,000 Kia Sorento and Sportage units are included in the recall. More than 22,000 units have a tow hitch harness as a port-installed option (PIO). Meanwhile, nearly 49,000 units installed accessories at dealers.
For the Sorento, 2016 MY units produced through October 27, 2014, are affected while newer models, including the Kia Sorento PHEV 2023, are not exempt from the defect. While the Sportage units built from December 10, 2015 to December 7, 2021 are included.
Needless to say, only the Sorento and Sportage units had the Original Kia tow hitch harness accessory installed as part of the recall.
According to the withdrawal documents:
Contamination of foreign materials and moisture on the tow hitch harness module (PCB) printed circuit board can result in an electrical short, increasing the risk of a tow hitch harness module fire. The origin of PCB contamination is currently unknown but is being investigated.
While similar to previous recalls involving the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride sound similar, the tow hitch harness accessories involved in this latest recall are supplied by different companies, specifically by Mobis Parts America.
However, the cure is still under development in both situations. Vehicle owners are also advised to park outside away from the building until the problem is resolved. Kia said dealers had been advised to stop selling hitch tow harnesses.
If you suspect that your Sorento or Sportage was part of the recall, you may wish to contact your dealer to confirm and take action.