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Big Recall, Park Outside: Hyundai & Kia Warn 570,000 Owners of Fire Risk

Hyundai and Kia are recalling 570,000 models due to a risk of fire in the trailer wiring harness.

Kia Hyundai Hitch Recall(Photo/Hyundai)
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Hyundai and Kia have just recalled more than half a million vehicles. Water can accumulate in the wiring of the tow-hitch trailer harness, which could lead to a fire. The automakers warn customers to park outside and away from structures until the matter is resolved.

The recall affects 567,912 Hyundai models and 3,555 Kias. Included Hyundai models are the 2022-2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, 2019-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2021-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, and 2022-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV. In addition, the recall applies to the 2022-2023 Kia Carnival.

The cause is the same for all the affected vehicles. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) document dated March 17, 2023, the problem is with tow-hitch wiring harnesses. The recall impacts tow-hitch modules and wiring harnesses that were installed as original factory equipment as well as those sold, or installed as dealer accessories, by Hyundai or Kia.

Water Ingress Can Cause Corrosion

Kia Hyundai Hitch Recall

The concern, says the NHTSA documents, is that water can get into the tow-hitch harness module through the four-pin tow-hitch electrical connector harness. That water collecting on the tow-hitch harness module’s printed circuit board can cause an electrical short that can result in a fire.

While Kia has not reported any incidents of fire, Hyundai has. As part of the recall notice, the automaker said it was aware of “one report of fire and five reports of thermal damage isolated to the trailer harness module.” Hyundai also said that there are no confirmed crashes or injuries related to the recall.

For now, both Kia and Hyundai caution owners against parking their vehicles indoors or near structures.

Notices Go Out in May

Kia Hyundai Hitch Recall

Kia’s fix is for dealers to inspect and verify that the vehicle has a Genuine Kia accessory tow-hitch assembly. If the vehicle does, the dealer will install a new fuse and wire extension kit, all at no charge to the customer. The new harnesses have an improved connecter the companies say will prevent water ingress.

Kia says it will mail owner notification letters on May 16. Owners can contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542; the recall number is SC265.

Hyundai is also sending out notifications in May. But the automaker has announced an interim fix for customers until the new fuse and wire extension kit are available. Hyundai dealers will remove the fuse for the tow-hitch module until the full fix can be implemented. This will remove the risk of fire while driving or parked. However, the trailer hitch wiring harness will not be functional until the new fuse and harness are fitted.

Hyundai owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-371-9460. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 244. This recall is an expansion of the previous recall number 22V-633. That recall was issued on Aug. 18, 2022, and involved 2020-2022 Hyundai Palisade models.

Owners of any vehicle who want to check for a recall can search the NHTSA site and enter their VIN.

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