Kia 2021 Seltos and 2020-21 Soul Are Flaming Hot

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
kia 2021 seltos and 2020 21 soul are flaming hot

Kia has recalled 2021 Seltos SUVs and 2020-21 Soul wagons with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines. 147,249 vehicles are involved. Inconsistent piston ring heat treating may cause engine damage. This can lead to a loss of power, and an increased risk of fires or crashing.

2020-2021 Kia Souls produced between 11/24/2018-10/24/2020, and 2021 Seltos produced between 11/20/2019-10/15/2020 are being recalled. Owners are being notified to bring their Seltos and Soul vehicles to a Kia dealership for inspection. Dealerships will inspect the engine. Added software will detect if there are problems. Replacement engines are the final solution.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), four engine fires may have taken place as a result of this deficiency. However, there have been no accidents or injuries reported. Note the 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) found on your vehicle. You can call Kia’s customer service at 800-333-4542, or log on to the NHTSA’s website at The NHTSA campaign number is 21V259000, and Kia’s recall number is SC209. The NHTSA website will indicate if your vehicle has any open recalls.

In October 2020, Kia Motors North America (KNMA) became aware of a 2020 Soul with an engine noise that stalled after stopping. KMNA confirmed the engine had seized and notified Kia Motors Corporation (KMC). KMC had the Soul’s engine returned to Korea for evaluation. Difficulties in finding the vehicle led to a delay.

KMC received the engine on January 6, 2021, and after teardown found the chipped oil ring, scratched cylinder bore, and seized connecting rod bearing. In February 2021, a 2020 Kia Soul with oil leaking on the exhaust caught on fire. The connecting rod created a hole in the engine block. KMC further evaluated the issue to determine the cause. The oil ring problem caused engine replacement claims. KMNA decided on April 6, 2021, to conduct a recall after determining four fires were related to this issue.

[Images: Kia]

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4 of 34 comments
  • Moose5763 Moose5763 on Apr 21, 2021

    Another day,another question is with all the recalls lately, I think the actual companies that make the parts should be held liable with fines ...arent these parts supposed to be tested and work right every time? Is it just poor quality control on the part of the companies that actually manufactured the parts??

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 21, 2021

      That's between the supplier and the company that has their badge on the front. Hyundai/Kia or whoever needs to fix it and then take it up with the supplier assuming they did something outside of what they were contracted to do. That process should not involve the end consumer.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 21, 2021

    I continue my boycott of Hyundai/KIA despite of their support of LBGT and Bureau of Land Management. BTW this issue is another reason to switch to BEVs - they don't have pistons.

  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
  • Chris P Bacon I've always liked the looks of the Clubman, especially the original model. But like a few others here, I've had the Countryman as a rental, and for the price point, I couldn't see spending my own money on one. Maybe with a stick it would be a little more fun, but that 3 cylinder engine just couldn't provide the kick I expected.
  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.