Kia Recalls Certain 2023 Forte Vehicles Over Improperly Welded Front Lower Control Arm

Kia Forte 26 photos
Photo: Kia / edited
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The Forte may be driving off into the sunset after model year 2024 in favor of the 2025 Kia K4, but as it happens, the South Korean automaker has identified an issue affecting a small number of 2023 models. According to documents published on the NHTSA's website, Kia America is recalling 215 units of the long-running Forte over front lower control arms that may fail due to shoddy welds.
Kia America received a report alleging a broken right lower control arm on January 29, with the control arm breaking at the welds. The customer experienced front lower control arm failure after hitting a pothole. It should come as no surprise that Kia America collected the arm for analysis. Not surprising anyone, a supplier manufacturing error was identified. More specifically, one of the joint connection points of the right front lower control arm had been improperly welded. Which supplier?

Donghee Mexico is the company in question, whereas the Kia Forte is manufactured at KMMX in Monterey. Prior to filing the recall documentation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker wasn't aware of any other event potentially related to deficient welds.

In case of lower control arm separation from the crossmember, the vehicle's toe angle will change abruptly, impacting said vehicle's steering. The Forte's right front lower control arm assembly is referred to as 54501-F2AA0 in Kia vernacular.

Kia America will inform dealers about said issue no later than April 12, whereas owner notifications will be mailed on April 17. The recalled vehicles were manufactured between April 12, 2023 and May 8, 2023. The most straightforward way of determining if a vehicle is recalled or not in the US market is to enter the VIN on the automaker's recall portal. Alternatively, owners can enter the 17-character identification number on the NHTSA's website.

2023 Kia Forte
Photo: Kia
At the moment of writing, Forte is advertised with a starting price of $19,990 before destination, up to 41 miles per gallon (5.7 liters per 100 kilometers) on the highway, up to 201 horsepower ( ps) for the go-faster GT version, standard automatic emergency braking, and lots more goodies for such a small car. The 2024 model year lineup comprises the LX, LXS, GT-Line, GT, and the GT Manual.

For some reason or another, the 6-speed manual is $700 pricier than the dual-clutch transmission. GT-Line and lesser grades come with a CVT exclusively. Kia dubs said transmission Intelligent Variable Transmission. It uses a chain belt rather than a push belt, and it features an adaptive-shift logic for more linear and smoother acceleration.

The North American spec of the all-new K4 was revealed at the 2024 New York International Auto Show. A compact sedan with similar underpinnings to the Hyundai Elantra, the K4 will also be offered in five-door guise. Codenamed CL4, the newcomer will be offered with a choice between 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-pot or 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot engines. The latter develops 190 horsepower and 195 pound-feet (265 Nm) of twist.

Expected to arrive in dealer showrooms late 2024, the 2025 Kia K4 comes with 11 standard ADAS features, 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment, cordless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus LED headlights. The K4 is backed by a 10-year/100,000-mile (around 160,000 kilometers) limited warranty.
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 Download: Kia Forte front lower control arm recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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