Recalls for potential engine compartment fires plagued Hyundai and Kia in the late 2010s, and the early 2020s are continuing that trend. The two automakers have announced that they will recall nearly half a million vehicles, instructing owners to park affected models outdoors and away from other cars and structures until they are fixed. The vehicles could catch fire even with the engine turned off.

The recall affects certain 2014-2016 Kia Sportage crossovers and 2016-2019 Kia K900 sedans. It also includes some 2016-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2017-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL, and 2014-2015 Hyundai Tucson models. That's 126,747 Kias and 357,830 Hyundais, totaling 484,588 affected vehicles.

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The Hyundais could suffer from an anti-lock brake system malfunction that could cause a short circuit that results in a fire. For Kia, it's a similar issue with the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) that could cause a short circuit and a fire.

The new recall is just the latest in a string from the company, which has brought increased scrutiny from federal regulators. In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an "engineering analysis" into the two automakers, which investigates a company's recall efforts. The scope of the analysis covered about three million vehicles. Early 2021 also saw Kia recall select Kia Sportage and Cadenza models. However, that recall affected more recent 2017-2021 examples.

Both Hyundai and Kia will notify owners by mail to contact their respective dealers to schedule the free repair. Kia dealers will install a new fuse for the HECU circuit board, while Hyundai's techs will also install a new fuse and inspect and replace the ABS module, as necessary. Kia will begin mailing out notification letters on March 31. Hyundai's letters will start going out on April 5. In the meantime, affected owners should park outside.

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