— A Kia engine recall has been ordered for more than 294,000 of these vehicles equipped with "Theta II" and "Nu" engines at risk of fires.
- 2012-2013 Kia Sorento
- 2012-2015 Kia Forte
- 2012-2015 Kia Forte Koup
- 2011-2013 Kia Optima Hybrid
- 2014-2015 Kia Soul
- 2012 Kia Sportage
Although the Kia engine recall follows multiple recalls and other actions the past few years, Kia allegedly still doesn't know what is causing the fires.
"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. While a low percentage of the subject vehicles have experienced an engine compartment fire, a cause resulting from a manufacturing or design defect has not been identified." - Kia engine recall
Without a root cause of the fires, a vehicle owner may notice various symptoms such as engine noise, illumination of the check engine warning light, illumination of the low oil warning light, fuel or burning odors, smoke or oil leaks.
The Center for Auto Safety petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate why Kia vehicles were catching fire while the vehicles were parked.
NHTSA opened a formal investigation into non-crash fires in 2011-2014 Kia Optimas, 2011-2014 Kia Sorentos and 2010-2015 Kia Souls equipped with Theta II, Lambda, Gamma and Nu engines.
Kia said its data indicated there were no fire-related defect trends, but the automaker would continue to monitor the field for problems.
In July 2020, NHTSA requested that Kia issue recalls on certain models with higher rates of fires, but Kia still couldn't find any design or manufacturing defects that caused the fires.
Kia Engine Recall Includes Extended Warranty
Kia decided to issue this recall "as a preventative measure to mitigate any potential fire risk" at the same time Hyundai recalled vehicles equipped with Gamma, Nu and Theta II engines.
Kia dealerships will inspect the engine compartments for evidence of fuel or oil leaks and perform tests on the engines. Repairs may be needed and it's possible the engines will be replaced.
The Kia engine recall also includes a knock sensor software update which will allegedly prevent engine damage from the connecting rod bearings.
Additionally, Kia will provide warranty coverage for 15 years/150,000 miles for engine long block assembly repairs due to connecting rod bearing damage. The warranty coverage will begin once the knock sensor software update has been completed.
The Kia engine recall is expected to begin January 27, 2021. Concerned owners with questions may contact Kia at 800-333-4542 and ask about recall number SC200.