Kia and Hyundai announced a recall on more than 150,000 cars and SUVs, the automaker told ABC Action News late Tuesday.
The announcement from the auto giant comes after I-Team Reporter Jackie Callaway spent months reporting on hundreds of spontaneous Kia and Hyundai fires.
The recall plan, which is dated Jan. 11, calls for inspections to determine whether high-pressure fuel pumps were installed properly during engine recall replacements. Kia estimates the recall would involve more than 50,000 Kia Optimas, more than 17,000 Kia Sorentos and about 1,000 Kia Sportages.
Hyundai estimates about 100,000 vehicles will be recalled.
“The remedy for the previous recall 17v224 may not have been properly performed in all cases by the Kia dealers,” states the company memo. “In some cases, the high pressure fuel pipe may have been damaged, misaligned or improperly torqued during the engine replacement procedure, allowing fuel to leak increasing the risk of fire.”
On Tuesday, a Kia spokesman said the company has yet to roll out its recall plan because it’s waiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s approval, which the automaker said has been delayed by the government shutdown. NHTSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Kia spokesman James Bell said the company decided to proceed with the recall regardless of government delays.
"Kia is proactively recalling these vehicles and anticipates NHTSA approval following the conclusion of the shut down," he said in an email to ABC Action News.
But a U.S. auto safety advocate called the recalls inadequate and said the product improvement campaigns should instead be recalls that are overseen by NHTSA.
Meanwhile, Hyundai tells us the recall has been filed with NHTSA. Prior to that posting, customers can call the Hyundai Customer Care Center at (800) 633-5151 to determine if their vehicle is impacted.
A NHTSA spokeswoman told the Associated Press she could not comment due to the shutdown.
The plan the company shared with the I-Team also states Kia “is not aware of any accidents or injuries as result of this issue.”
But the I-Team has reported for months on concerns about Kia fuel pump leaks – arising from faulty work done during engine recall replacements.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City has also reportedly launched an investigation into whether carmakers handled those engine recalls properly.
Spokesmen for both Kia and Hyundai have refused to comment on any possible federal investigations.
But in November, mechanics and a fire investigator told I-Team Investigator Jackie Callaway that they suspect fuel pump leaks are igniting some of these fires.
Two separate Kia owners – one in North Carolina and the other in Louisiana – shared videos with ABC Action News that showed spewing fuel pumps just weeks after their Kia engines were replaced.
So far, drivers in 43 states have reported more than 250 Kia and Hyundai fires, according to The Center for Auto Safety.