— A Kia Niro Hybrid rear seat fire recall involves more than 27,000 model year 2017-2018 Kia Niro Hybrid electric vehicles previously recalled in 2018.
This recall follows five rear seat fires caused by the main relays in the power relay assemblies.
Kia says the main relay may have faulty connections between the contacts which cause electrical resistance and overheating.
According to Kia, the power relay assembly (PRA) is located under the rear seat, and the 2018 recall was supposed to fix any overheating issues.
Kia dealers were told to inspect and replace the PRA if thermal damage was found, or replace the main relay if no thermal damage was found. However, the Niro Hybrids may not have had the correct remedy relays installed during repairs.
In June 2022, Kia learned about a dealer report regarding a complaint of burning odors in a 2017 Niro Hybrid. The dealer discovered the PRA had melted, yet the vehicle had been repaired under the previous recall.
Then another complaint came in that said a 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid wouldn't start because the PRA had melted even though the vehicle had previously been repaired. Kia says it determined the wrong replacement parts had been installed.
To date, a total of five fires (localized melting/damage only) have been confirmed, but no crashes, injuries or fatalities.
The 2017-2018 Kia Niro Hybrids were manufactured from November 1, 2016, to September 11, 2017.
Kia Niro Hybrid drivers should watch for hybrid system warning lights, and it's possible the vehicle may refuse to start.
Kia Niro Hybrid recall letters are expected to be mailed January 9, 2023, and dealers will replace either the power relay assemblies or the main relays.
Kia Niro Hybrid vehicles repaired under the 2018 recall will need to have the new repairs completed.
Kia Niro Hybrid owners with concerns can call Kia at 800-333-4542. Kia's rear seat fire recall number is SC256.