Hyundai and Kia have issued a recall of more than 571,000 SUVs and minivans in the United States due to a risk of fire caused by faulty tow hitch harnesses. The Korean automakers have warned owners to park their vehicles outside until the problem is fixed. Here’s what we know.
Hyundai models affected by the recall include the 2019 to 2023 Santa Fe, the 2021 to 2023 Santa Fe Hybrid, the 2022, and 2023 Santa Fe Plug-in hybrid, as well as the 2022 and 2023 Santa Cruz. Kia owners with the 2022 and 2023 Carnival minivan are also affected. All models were fitted with Hyundai or Kia tow hitch harnesses.
Faulty Tow Hitch Harnesses
Hyundai and Kia have stated that water can cause a short circuit in the circuit board on the tow hitch harnesses, even if the engine is turned off. The risk is present when the vehicle is parked or when it is being driven. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed that the recall is a direct result of the Palisade recall from last year.
Next Steps for Owners
Owners of affected vehicles will be notified of the recall from May 16th. Initially, dealers will remove the fuse and tow hitch computer module until a fix is available. Afterward, they will install a new fuse and wire extension with an improved connector that is waterproof. Hyundai has reported one fire and five incidents of heat damage with no injuries reported, while Kia has not received any reports of fires or injuries as yet.
Stay Safe While Driving
Hyundai and Kia owners are urged to stay safe while driving their affected vehicles until the issue is fixed. In the meantime, owners are advised to park their cars away from any structures until the repairs have been conducted. Always keep an eye out for any warning signals or the smell of smoke while driving your vehicle.