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Hyundai-Kia in Hot Water With NHTSA Over Old Engine Fires

Between 2011 and 2006, more than a million Kia and Hyundai vehicles were recalled to mitigate engine fire risks. Despite that, more than 150 vehicles caught fire, potentially due to engine failures. Now the NHTSA is digging into the practices of both Hyundai and Kia to see how dangerous events like these can be avoided in the future.
Hyundai on Fire 6 photos
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Getting heat out of and away from the engine is a key function for any internal combustion engine. In fact, even electric motors need to remove heat effectively to work better. When heat builds up, it can cause a host of issues and malfunctions.

On the low-priority side is something called heat soak, which often increases intake air temperatures and lowers horsepower. On the other end of the spectrum is what Hyundai and Kia have been dealing with since at least 2011.

That's how far back a new NHTSA engineering analysis investigation will go to cover at least 3 million vehicles made by Hyundai or Kia. They're trying to determine if the brands covered enough vehicles during previous recall campaigns. They're also going to figure out if current safety policies at each company are stringent enough to be viable in the future.

Hyundai played up their role in mitigating these fires in a statement. "Hyundai has taken numerous proactive actions to address engine issues, including conducting several recalls, launching a new engine monitoring technology, providing extended warranties and enhancing our customer service response. Hyundai fosters a culture of transparency and accountability, as the safety of our customers is the top priority in everything we do.”

It's clear that Hyundai and Kia are both on a roll right now. They're winning major awards all over the place, they're building cars that are seriously punching above their weight, and they're flexing into the luxury market too. They also offer a 10-year powertrain warranty that seems to indicate real confidence in their engines. We'll report more on this story as it develops.


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