By on March 1, 2019

Kia Soul

After roaring out of the recession with revamped offerings and soaring sales, Hyundai and its Kia sister brand now face a seemingly endless slew of recalls. The latest involve a trio of popular crossovers, with the automaker warning of potential engine damage if the matter goes unaddressed.

The two recalls cover 534,000 U.S. vehicles. Affected models are the 2012-2016 Kia Soul, 2011-2013 Hyundai Tucson, and 2011-2012 Kia Sportage, which brings the number of vehicles recalled for engine fire risk since 2015 above 2.3 million, Reuters reports. It’s easy to lose count.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recalled Souls all carry a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder. “High exhaust gas temperatures may damage the catalytic converter, possibly resulting in abnormal engine combustion and damage to one or more of the engine’s pistons and possible piston connecting rod failure,” the recall states.

At a minimum, dealers will will upgrade the vehicle’s Catalytic Overheating Protection Engine Control Unit logic, though replacement of the catalytic convertor might be needed. If technicians find engine damage, Kia will swap in a new motor free of charge.

As for the Tucson and Sportage, their issue involves oil, which ideally should remain close enough to the engine’s internals to lubricate moving parts. A porous oil pan seal is to blame for some vehicles losing this vital fluid. As anyone knows, engines aren’t happy when they run dry.

The NHTSA describes the issue as an “engine oil leak from the seal between the oil
pan and engine block which, if left unrepaired and operated over time, could
eventually lead to engine damage.”

After numerous earlier recalls, prodding from the federal agency saw Hyundai return “parts analysis and other data sources to identify a trend in high-speed stalls and non-collision fires claims in certain 2011 – 2013 Hyundai Tucson vehicles,” the recall report states. “Hyundai also identified a trend related to engine oil pan leaks from the same population of vehicles. Hyundai did not identify any accidents or injuries related to these claims.”

Currently, the automaker is “evaluating a remedy” for the oil leak. Whatever the cure, work will be performed free of charge.

Investigations remain ongoing on both sides of the Pacific, with both the U.S. and South Korean governments hoping to establish a timeline for the company’s Theta II engine problems.

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15 Comments on “Leaking Oil, Hot Gas Leads to Dual Hyundai/Kia Recalls...”


  • avatar
    cbrworm

    It’s an interesting commentary on how far auto quality has come in the last couple of decades that an extended warranty would be offered for oil seals on vehicles up to 8 years old – someone should tell BMW. It seems not that long ago (to me) that it was not uncommon for your 3-year-old car to be leaking oil out of valve cover gaskets and oil pan seals.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    “If technicians find engine damage, Kia will swap in a new motor free of charge.”
    Really? Are they going to do a full diagnostic, leak-down, borescope, sound analysis on all these motors?
    I bet if the engine is not knocking loud enough to be heard over the info-tainment system it will be sent down the road.

  • avatar
    jatz

    That looks like one of Tim Cain’s beautiful Nova Scotia photos.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Just say no to Hyundai/Kia.
    For a nickel more, feast on the premium quality of Honda or Toyota or Subaru.

    Better resale. Durability. Crash worthiness. Crash prevention / avoidance. Prestige.

    Avoid the rapidly decaying interiors of H-K. (not to mention the goofy driving dynamics (in general- not all models )))

    Queue hate storm in 3 – 2- 1- go.

  • avatar
    Raevoxx

    “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recalled Souls all carry a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder.”

    So, the non-turbo Gamma GDi that’s standard on all but the turbo trim of the Soul (and in a few others like the Rio and Accent). But I’m curious to know if the turbo Gamma T-GDi is affected as well.

  • avatar
    lon888

    I gotta give these guys credit for their good judgment in setting up a recall. VW was involved in a huge class-action lawsuit over the timing chain tensioners in vehicles such as the GTI, CC and Tiguan. Did VW have a recall campaign? Hell no! They took the opportunity to hide behind the “not safety related” clause of recall terms. Honda had a similar issue in their 2.2 liter motors and they did do a recall. Asians, it appears, care more about their customers than the Europeans.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Try on that theory with someone who has tried to get a Hyundai/Kia warranty claim honored, even for a well-known and well-documented defective engine workmanship issue.

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