Kia Recalls 70,000 Sportage Models Due To Fire Risk

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Kia Motors has issued an urgent safety recall of over 70,000 units of the Sportage models from 2008 and 2009 model years. The vehicles included in the campaign can catch fire, and the South Korean firm is urging owners to park outdoors and away from buildings.

Assigned recall number 22V-800 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, the recall applies to 71,704 units of the Sportage built from August 9, 2007, to May 13, 2009. Kia estimates the problem affects about 1 percent of those vehicles, but this isn't the first time that they've been recalled due to a fire risk. The vehicle was recalled in November 2016 for the same problem.

A fire can ignite in the engine compartment, near the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), and that the risk is present regardless of whether the car is parked or being driven. While the cause of the fire is unknown, the company warns that an illuminated ABS warning light is a sign that a blaze may be about to start. It's not aware of fatalities, injuries, or crashes linked to the fire risk.

For context, the 2016 recall also applied to 71,704 examples of the Sportage built between the aforementioned dates. Kia told investigators that "the wiring harness cover on the HECU may be improperly sealed, allowing water to get onto the HECU circuit board." It added that water contaminated with salt (from melted snow, for example) can corrode the wiring harness connector pins and cause a short-circuit.

Kia will begin notifying owners of affected cars on December 22, though it hasn't determined how to fix the problem yet. In the meantime, it's asking motorists who own a Sportage included in the recall to park outside and away from buildings and other cars.

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