Kia Recalls 500,000 Vehicles With Air Bags That May Not Deploy

KIA is recalling more than 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix a flaw that may prevent air bags from deploying in a crash.

This recall is related to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation launched on March 16 of this year into Hyundai and Kia vehicles where, in six incidents, the airbags failed to deploy.

Kia said the 508,000 recalled vehicles have an air-bag control unit that may be susceptible to “electrical overstress” during some frontal crashes. The control unit contains a circuit that if damaged may prevent the deployment of front air bags and a mechanism that tightens the front seat belts, “thereby increasing the risk of injury to vehicle occupants,” Kia said in a statement.

The recall targets certain Forte, Optima and Sedona vehicles ranging from model years 2010 to

2013. Kia said it hasn’t yet developed a repair, but will notify owners with more details starting at the end of July.

Vehicles recalled: 507,587 Kia vehicles, including:

  • All 2010-2013 Forte cars produced from Feb. 24, 2009, through Aug. 31, 2012.
  • All 2010-2013 Forte Koup cars produced from June 5, 2009, through Aug. 31, 2012.
  • All 2011-2013 Optima cars produced from August 12, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2012.
  • All 2011-2012 Optima Hybrid cars produced from February 15, 2011, through Aug. 31, 2012.
  • All 2011-2012 Sedona minivans produced from March 3, 2010, thru Aug. 14, 2012.

The problem: According to Kia, the airbag control unit (ACU) detects the severity of a crash, then tells airbags and seatbelt pretensioners to deploy when necessary. The ACU in the recalled vehicles may be susceptible to electrical overstress during certain front crashes. If that happens, the front airbags and front seatbelt pretensioners may not deploy as needed, increasing the risk of injury to occupants.

The fix: Kia says there is no remedy currently. Once a remedy is identified and confirmed, affected owners will be notified via first-class mail with instructions regarding a repair, the automaker said in a statement. The recall is planned to begin on July 27, 2018.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners can contact Kia customer service at 800-333-4542. If Kia does not have a remedy by July 27, or if any customer feels unsafe in his/her vehicle, Kia will provide a rental car until the repair has been completed, a spokesman said late Friday. 

NHTSA campaign number: 18V363000; Kia's number for this recall is SC165.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: Plug the 17-digit vehicle identification number into the NHTSA website. It will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.