DETROIT — Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are recalling over 600,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada to fix a brake fluid leak that could cause engine fires.
The recalls cover more than 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 through 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015. Also covered are 203,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015.
The affiliated automakers say brake fluid can leak inside a hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brakes, possibly causing an electrical short that can lead to fires.
Kia’s recall will start Oct. 15, while Hyundai’s will start Oct. 23. Dealers for both companies will inspect the control units for leaks and replace them if needed at no cost to owners.
In company documents posted Thursday by U.S. safety regulators, Hyundai said it had 15 reports of engine fires caused by the fluid leaks, while Kia said it had eight. Hyundai said it’s not aware of any injuries, and Kia said it had none.
Hyundai said in a statement that there’s no need to park vehicles outdoors before the problem is fixed, but if the anti-lock brake warning light comes on, owners should not drive their vehicles and should contact a dealer. They also should disconnect the 12-volt battery by removing the positive cable, the company said.
Hyundai documents said the company received its first complaint about an engine fire in a 2014 Santa Fe in April of 2018, and it started an investigation. Kia began investigating after getting a complaint of a melted control unit in a 2015 Sorento last February.