Hyundai and Kia have recalled approximately 168,000 vehicles so that they can investigate the cause of a fuel pipe issue that was known to cause serious engine fires. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Hyundai and Kia received fire and engine failure complaints. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was investigating both companies to determine whether their recalls covered all vehicles affected by the defective part, the agency is closed due to the government shutdown. Despite the shutdown, Hyundai and Kia are proceeding with the recall.
The auto companies have also committed to conducting a product improvement campaign that will impact 3.7 million vehicles. This will include installing software that will alert the driver of any problems with the engine and automatically reduce the car’s speed if a problem is detected. A Kia spokesman said that they are proceeding with the recall because they are more focused on ensuring the safety of its customers than following government processes. The ongoing shutdown means that the NHTSA is not conducting its regular safety investigations and recall notices, or following up with customers whose vehicles are on a recall list.
Safety Advocates Say the Recall is Inadequate
One safety advocate said that more vehicles should be recalled as opposed to developing a product improvement campaign, and that the NHTSA should oversee all recalls. Initially, Hyundai and Kia recalled roughly 168,000 vehicles because of a potential fire hazard. Repairing the problem often required an expensive engine block replacement. The companies have since admitted that the engine block replacements were not done correctly in all cases. For example, the fuel pipe may have been misaligned or improperly tightened in some cars, which can cause fires when leaked fuel encounters hot engine parts.
Owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by mail and Hyundai and Kia will check the fuel pipe and replace it if necessary. However, according to the executive director of the Center For Auto Safety, Kia only recalled a limited number of vehicles, and they did not offer a satisfactory explanation as to why. In addition, there have been reports of customer complaints involving fires in vehicles that were not recalled. The NHTSA can handle these critical safety recalls. An NHTSA official released a statement saying that they may recall furloughed workers if they receive information about suspended functions that could jeopardize the safety of motorists.