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Kia deals with another massive recall as Telluride SUVs face a risk of fire

Jun 8, 2024, 1:27 PM | Updated: 5:07 pm

Image: The front grill on a 2020 KIA Telluride is on display at the 2019 Pittsburgh International A...

The front grill on a 2020 KIA Telluride is on display at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (File photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP)

(File photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP)

Kia and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced another recall Friday.

As Carfax Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen explained, the recall is for nearly half a million Kia Telluride SUVs nationwide.

“It’s a popular three-row SUV and because of fears of a fire… it’s one of those rare but urgent recalls that they’re requiring owners or asking owners to park outside because of the fire risk,” Olsen said.

He said the federal government wants Telluride owners to avoid park in a garage, or any other structure.

Olsen said there’s an issue with the seat switch that moves the front seats.

“The powered front seat to lift it, raise it, moving forward and back, if it gets stuck, NHTSA says there is an elevated risk of fire,” Olsen said.

Other issues out there: Your car’s airbag might be a recall from over 10 years ago

Looking at the recall report more, it notes strong external impact to the recalled Tellurides’ front power seat side cover or seat slide knob can result in internal misalignment — and with continuous operation, that can cause overheating. People driving vehicles with the issue may find they can’t adjust the power seat, may notice a burning or melting smell, or see smoke rising from underneath the seat.

To fix this, dealers will install a bracket for the power seat switch back covers and replace the seat slide knobs at no cost. Until the vehicles are repaired, owners are being instructed to park their cars outside and away from buildings.

Kia has until July 30 to mail out notices and inform car owners and Olsen said, “The first thing owners need to do at this point is be patient.”

He said, “One of the issues with recalls in this country is that it’s a law that automakers must alert owners as soon as they are aware of a problem. But very often that is faster than they can come up with a remedy. I’m not aware if a remedy is in place for this yet or not. But it seems like it won’t be ready to roll out to owners until the end of July.”

Additional Kia recall issues

This isn’t the only recall impacting Kia Telluride owners. In March, Kia America said it would be recalling more than 427,000 of 2020-2024 Telluride SUVs due to a defect that may cause the cars to roll away while they’re parked.

Last fall, Kia and Hyundai announced previous “park outside” recalls for 3.4 million other car and SUV models due to the danger of engine compartment fires. Amid long-delayed repairs, many of those vehicles remained on the road months later, posing serious concerns from drivers and consumer safety advocates.

“Hyundai and Kia, back in September recalled 3.3 million vehicles for a potential issue with their anti-lock brakes,” Olsen said. “So, it’s a very different issue.”

Hyundai owns part of Kia, though the two companies operate independently.

More from Micki Gamez: Bellevue Police Department has had enough with traffic fatalities

The NHTSA offers additional tips for car owners looking to check for recalls.

  • Use NHTSA’s recalls lookup tool to use a license plate number or vehicle identification number to search for any open safety recalls, including the urgent Kia recall.
  • Download our SaferCar app and let it check automatically.
  • If a vehicle does have a safety recall, call the automaker’s local dealer to schedule the free recall repair.
  • Sign up at NHTSA.gov/alerts to be notified by email if a vehicle is affected by a future recall.

Contributing: The Associated Press

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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