Federal transportation agency ramps up investigation into Hyundai and Kia non-crash fires

CHARLOTTE — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has “opened an engineering analysis involving approximately 2.9 million” Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

The years range from 2011 to 2016 and include certain Hyundai Elantras, Santa Fes, Sonatas, Tucsons, Velosters and Kia Fortes, Optimas, Rios, Sorentos, and Souls.

[PAST COVERAGE: Action 9: Some claim Hyundais and Kias catch fire without being in crash]

NHTSA also said it wants “to evaluate the scope of recalls” for the non-crash fires and see if those recalls covered enough ground.

In other words, the investigation could lead to more recalls.

The agency said it’s “committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety on the nation’s roadways.”

ABC News said the NHTSA received more than 160 complaints about Hyundai and Kia non-crash fires, some of which took place in vehicles the car companies had already recalled.

The car companies issued at least eight recalls involving this issue since fall 2015.

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke was one of the first reporters in the country to bring attention to this issue.

He’s spoken with more than a dozen drivers, who claim their Hyundai or Kia vehicles caught fire without being in a wreck.

Debi Morris, who lives in Waxhaw, was one of them.

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“To open up my door and cut the car off and flames come over the, come out of the hood, over the top of the car, that was just, that blew me away and the car was so close to my house and I had just filled it up full of gas,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘Oh my God. It’s going to blow my house up too.’ But thank God it didn’t.”

Stoogenke told her about the NHTSA investigation.

“I don’t want anybody to get killed, especially a child, anybody. But a baby in a car seat, you know? That would be awful,” Morris said.

According to published reports, Hyundai and Kia said they’re cooperating with regulators.

[PAST COVERAGE: Woman says her 2021 Kia caught fire without being in wreck]

“Hyundai has taken numerous proactive actions to address engine issues, including conducting several recalls, launching a new engine monitoring technology, providing extended warranties and enhancing our customer service response,” the company shared with ABC News in a statement. “Hyundai fosters a culture of transparency and accountability as the safety of our customers is the top priority in everything we do.”

If you want to file a complaint with NHTSA: 888-327-4236 or https://www.nhtsa.gov/report-a-safety-problem#index.

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