After nearly two years since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary evaluation into some Kia Optima and Sorento vehicles due to the potential for non-crash-related engine fires, the automaker recently opened a recall for some of its vehicles built between 2010 and 2015. In early December, Kia Motors America expanded the upcoming campaign to include the Optima Hybrid, Sportage, Forte and Forte Koup as well.
Kia’s defect report filed with the NHTSA largely focused on the 2.4-liter “Theta II” multi-port injection (MPI) engine. However, some cars equipped with the 2.0-liter “Nu” direct injection engine could also be at risk. Specifically, the automaker says, “An engine compartment fire can occur while driving for many reasons and depending on the severity of the fire, the identification of the cause can be untraceable…a cause resulting from a manufacturing or design defect has not been identified.” To that end, the company says it is starting this recall campaign as a preventative measure to mitigate any fire risk from fuel leaks, oil leaks or engine damage. Depending on the warning signs and inspection when owners are able to bring their cars in, Kia technicians will perform necessary repairs up to replacing the engine entirely.
At time of writing, the automaker says it is also working on a Knock Sensor Detection System (KSDS) software update. That may help prevent engine damage from excessive connecting rod bearing wear. After that repair, Kia will warranty the work for 15 years or 150,000 miles. The company will notify owners beginning January 27, 2021, and will reimburse owners for repairs they’ve already made out of their own pocket.
Vehicles included in the recall:
Kia’s number for the recall is SC200. The campaign involves 2012 – 2013 Kia Sorento, 2012 – 2015 Forte and Forte Koup, the 2011 – 2013 Optima Hybrid, 2014 – 2015 Soul and 2012 Sportage models. The recent announcement comes on the heels of Kia and Hyundai paying a $210 million civil penalty for failing to quickly recall some 1.6 million vehicles for engine issues. Both automakers will create new safety apparatus to handle safety issues looking forward.