Some Kia drivers say missed software update notices result in engine failure

Kia Front AB7 I Team 9.19.2023

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

By Jason Knowles and Ann Pistone and Maggie Green
September 19, 2023

Michael Brooks from the Center for Auto Safety said consumers missing software update notices is a common complaint against many manufacturers, because unlike official recalls, update notices are not required to be sent first class mail.

You may not realize that your car, just like your phone, needs updating or it could break down. But some consumers say they are not receiving critical software upgrade notices.

One local woman said she now has to pay thousands of dollars to fix her engine because she didn’t get an upgrade notice.

Cindy Wetzel of southwest suburban Burbank can’t drive her 2015 Kia Optima.

“We can’t drive it anywhere. I can’t sell it, I wouldn’t, you know; no dealer’s going to take it. I’d have to junk it if it’s not fixed. The engine is ready to go,” she said.

She said when the car started having engine troubles in January, she brought it in to her dealership.

“They said there was an update that I didn’t do and that I received a notice in 2018,” she said. “I never received the notice, so I contacted Kia, they said sorry we can’t help you, you didn’t do the update.”

She said after calling the manufacturer, Kia emailed her a software update letter dated July 26, 2018.

“They said they mailed it to me,” said Wetzel, insisting she never got it.

That letter also incorrectly said she had a Kia Sorento, not a Kia Optima.

Click here to view the full story from ABC 7 Chicago, I-Team.