When shopping for a new car, it’s common to consider how safe certain vehicles are and how well they can protect you on the road in the event of an accident. However, it is quite rare for someone to consider how dangerous their driving could be while the ignition is off. But authorities say owners of some cars should be aware of a major safety hazard they could create by parking their vehicles in their garages. Read on to see which brands and models pose a potential risk.
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On February 8, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Kia Motors America and Hyundai Motor America had issued a recall on certain vehicles due to a potentially serious safety issue. For Hyundai, affected vehicles include 2016-2018 model year Santa Fe SUVs, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport SUVs, 2019 model year Santa Fe XL and 2014-2015 model year Tucson SUVs. Affected Kia vehicles are 2016-2018 K900 sedans and 2014-2016 Sportage SUVs.
In total, automakers say the recall affects 357,830 Hyundai vehicles and 126,747 Kia vehiclesreports CNN Business.
According to the NHTSA advisory, the automakers initiated the recall due to a mechanical issue that increases the risk of an engine fire. “Although the cause remains unknown, manufacturers believe that an electrical component of the anti-lock braking system may experience an internal electrical short which could increase the risk of fire both while driving or parking the vehicle,” notify the agency. So far, Hyundai says there has been eight fires reported in recalled vehicles, while Kia says three Sportages caught fire, according to consumer reports.
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While the manufacturers say it is safe to continue driving the affected cars, they are advising all owners of avoid parking vehicles in their garage due to the high risk of fire. Instead, they should leave cars outside and away from any buildings or other vehicles until repairs can be made.
Kia and Hyundai told NHTSA that there could be warning signs of impending trouble. They advise drivers to be on the lookout for an illuminated ABS warning light on the dashboard, a burning or melting smell in or around the vehicle, and smoke coming from the engine compartment.
The notices from Kia and Hyundai indicate that owners of the recalled cars should take them to their respective dealerships free of charge for repair. Kia says it will start sending notification letters to owners on March 31 and Hyundai will send them on April 5.
For now, NHTSA advises vehicle owners to check the condition of their cars by visiting www.nhtsa.gov/recalls or by calling the agency’s vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236. From there, you can enter your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if it was affected by the recall. The Kias and Hyundais insist you should park your vehicle outside until dealers can make necessary repairs if listed.
Vehicle owners with questions in the meantime can also contact Hyundai Customer Service at 1-855-371-9460 and refer to recall number 218. Kia owners can call 1-800-333-4542 and refer to recall number SC227.
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