Aug 12, 2023

Park Outside: 2023 and Newer Hyundais and Kias Face Fire Risk Recall

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While you might be forgiven to think this is an expansion of another fire risk recall from Hyundai and Kia—related to a dealer or factory installed trailer wiring—this is different. With nearly 40,000 Kias and nearly 52,000 Hyundais, this new fire risk is equally as large but related to an important feature that's now common in modern vehicles: its Idle Stop and Go (ISG), aka Start-Stop Technology.

The issue is related to the transmission oil pump that needs to run while 2023-2024 Hyundai Palisades, 2023 Tucsons, 2023 Sonatas, 2023 Elantras, and 2023 Konas as well as 2023-2024 Kia Seltos, 2023 Sportages, and 2023 Souls ISGs are engaged at a traffic stop. A manufacturing defect on the electric oil pump assembly damaged the multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) on its circuit board. This damage could cause a short while driving and damage the pump as well as its connector and wiring harness to the point of causing a fire and can affect other systems via a disruption in the Controller Area Network (CAN) communication. Even if the pump simply fails without a fire, the affected vehicle won't be able to drive away and will act like the transmission isn't engaged.

While not 100 percent critical to the story, it's good to explain why there is an electrical pump for the transmission and why it's needed as part of the ISG. The pump (or a variation of it) is found on both eight-speed automatics and the IVT (the Hyundai and Kia version of the CVT) equipped Hyundais and Kias, as the pump is required to provide oil to the transmission's torque converter as well as other internal parts like the clutches (on the eight-speed) and pulleys (on the IVT), which can engage and allow the car to drive away immediately as it starts. For the IVT in particular, transmission oil is also used to manipulate the pulleys for the flexible steel chain that transfers engine power to the drive wheels. This manipulation is what gives the IVT its "gears" when you use it in manual mode.

If either transmission used a traditional oil pump driven by the engine through the input shaft of the transmission, oil wouldn't circulate through the torque converter and those clutches and pulleys wouldn't engage until the engine could drive the pump enough to pressurize the transmission's hydraulic circuit. You'd have a very brief moment where the car wouldn't move forward or could even begin to roll backwards when you lift off the brake pedal, which isn't good when you're waiting at a stop with traffic behind you.

Hyundai and Kia will be sending certified letters to owners with Hyundai's letters sent out beginning on September 28 while dealers will get their notices by September 21. Kia will send notices to both owners and dealers on September 25. You can also check with the NHTSA, Hyundai, or Kia recall VIN check and type in your vehicle's VIN to know now.

The good news is that a fix is immediately available as the manufacturer of the pump found the issue back in March and pumps produced from that point forward are free from this defect. This recall fix will be done at no charge to the owner, even if the harness or any other related parts are damaged due to the defective pump. If your dealer doesn't have a pump in stock, the vehicle is still driveable but owners are cautioned to park their affected Hyundai or Kia outside until the repair is made.