There's yet another potential fire danger with certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles, prompting the automaker to issue a recall, a stop-sale, and a suggestion to current owners to park outside away from buildings and other vehicles. There isn't an issue under the hood, but rather, with a trailer wiring module at the back.
The issue affects certain Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride models from the 2020 through 2022 model year. Recall announcements from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) state 36,417 Kias could be at risk for fire, with 245,030 Hyundais potentially involved. All total, the recall covers 281,447 vehicles.
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The problem lies with a tow hitch accessory module that's available on these SUVs either through the automaker, or through Hyundai and Kia dealerships. Moisture or other contaminants could enter the module, causing a short circuit. That could lead to a fire, and since the module is part of the trailer wiring harness, it is always powered up. As such, a short circuit and fire could start even with the vehicle turned off and not connected to a trailer.
Gallery: 2021 Kia Telluride Nightfall Edition
Thus far, there have been no reported fires, crashes, or injuries related to this potential problem in the United States. However, Hyundai reports three related fires have been confirmed on the Hyundai Palisade in Canada, along with eight reported cases of the module melting in both Canada and the US. On the Telluride, one fire is confirmed in Canada, with five cases of the module melting.
Gallery: 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy
Obviously, this recall only applies to Palisades and Tellurides equipped with the tow wiring harness and module. For Palisade owners, an interim solution is to have the module inspected and a fuse removed at the dealership, rendering it inert. There is no interim solution for the Telluride. A permanent solution to the problem for both SUVs is being investigated, though a timeframe for availability is currently unknown.
This is the latest in a string of fire-related recalls from Hyundai. In July, Ioniq hybrids were recalled for loose connections in the main relay that could heat things up. In February, a half-million midsize SUVs from Hyundai and Kia were recalled for a malfunctioning anti-lock braking system that could lead to a fire.