Kia is joining its affiliate Hyundai in recalling thousands of vehicles in the U.S. because water can enter a brake computer, cause a short circuit and possibly a fire.
The Kia recall covers almost 229,000 Sedona minivans from the model years 2006 to 2010. Also covered are the Sorento SUVs from 2007 to 2009. Kia is telling owners to park their vehicles outside and away from structures and other vehicles until the problem can be solved.
The company says in documents released Thursday by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that moisture can enter the anti-lock brake control computer and cause an electrical fire and possible fires. Kia has reports of seven fires, but no injuries. The problem can occur even if the engine is switched off.
The recall is another of a series of problems that South Korean automakers have had with engine fires in recent years. Previous problems have triggered investigations by the US road safety agency.
Dealers will install a relay in the main electrical junction box to prevent power from going to the brake computer when the engine is off. The recall is due to begin on April 10.
Earlier this month, Hyundai withdrew almost 430,000 small cars due to the same problem. This recall covered some Elantra vehicles from 2006 to 2011 and Elantra Touring from 2007 to 2011.
Both companies said the fire rate is low, but Hyundai does not recommend that cars be parked outside.
Hyundai said in documents that it has three fire reports and no related injuries.
Last April, NHTSA opened two new fire investigations involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles, after receiving complaints of more than 3,100 fires and 103 injuries.
The agency granted a petition requesting investigations from the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit consumer protection group.
The investigations, one for Hyundai and the other for Kia, cover non-destructive fires in nearly 3 million vehicles from affiliated automakers. The rigs cover the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe from 2011 to 2014, the Kia Optima and Sorento from 2011 to 2014 and the Kia Soul from 2010 to 2015. The complaints came from consumers and the data provided by the two automakers.
NHTSA had previously said it would incorporate non-destructive fires in a 2017 investigation that examined recalls of Hyundai and Kia vehicles for engine failures. He opened the new probes "based on the agency's analysis of information received from various manufacturers, consumer complaints and other sources".
Engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have affected more than 6 million vehicles since 2015, according to NHTSA documents. So far, Hyundai and Kia have recovered about 2.4 million vehicles to fix problems that can cause fires and engine failures.
In addition, automakers are running a "product improvement campaign", covering another 3.7 million vehicles to install software that will alert drivers of possible engine failures and send cars into reduced speed "limp" mode, if problems are detected.