In the Hot Seat: The Kia Telluride Is Being Recalled Over Fire Fears

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Kia’s Telluride just went under a recall advisory over a defect pertaining to power seats. Based on documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the front power seat motor on the affected vehicles could overheat due to a stuck slide knob. Since the situation can result in a fire, Kia plans on recalling a whopping 462,869 examples inside of the United States.

The Kia Telluride is probably the vehicle most mentioned in our comments section. Some readers see it as one of the best-equipped SUVs available in its price range. Others see it as over-hyped trash that has somehow managed to garner loads of positive reviews and issue mocking praise in the comments about how it’s easily the greatest automobile ever manufactured.

Whatever your thoughts, the Telluride has been a strong seller for Kia. The model typically comes fairly close to moving 100,000 units inside of the United States each year and actually managed to break 110,000 in 2023. Sadly, this has also resulted in a sizable recall for the company. Just about every model sold in the U.S. is being impacted.

The affected models were said to be produced between January of 2019 and May of 2024 and the defect poses a fire risk whether you’re driving the SUV or not. Therefore, drivers are being recommended to park their vehicles outside and away from anything that they’re not okay seeing go up in flames. However, it does sound like a lot of things would have to go wrong for a fire to actually take place.

Still, better safe than sorry.

Documentation shows that the manufacturer caught wind of the problem in December 2022 after a customer noticed smoke coming from beneath the front seat. A few months later, a similar incident took place and the company began collecting parts to see what was up. After a couple more vehicles showed evidence of melted seat motors, the parts were shipped to Georgia for examination in February 2024.

A month later, the company shared its preliminary findings with its safety office, noting knob damage and stuck seat switches with continuous motor operation. From here, the investigation commences in earnest. But it wasn't concluded until a customer complained that the seat in their 2023MY Telluride caught fire while they were driving it. Inspection of the car showed that the seat switch back cover was dislodged and the seat slide knob was stuck in the upward position.

All told, there were seven separate incidents — one of which resulted in a fire. But no crashers, injuries or fatalities were reported. The manufacturer has attributed the problems to dislodged seat switch back covers which can result in the misalignment of the micro switches and forcing continuous operation of the motor until it overheats.

Fixes will come by way of Kia dealers installing a bracket for the power seat switch back covers. Seat slide knobs will also be swapped out. As this is a recall, all of the work will be done free of charge.

Owners are supposed to receive notifications in the mail by July 30th. However, concerned parties can also take advantage of Kia’s customer service hotline at 800-333-4542. The internal reference number for the recall is SC316.

Alternatively, the NHTSA has a recall website and hotline of its own (888-327-4236). In order to check to see if your Telluride is under recall, you just need to have your VIN handy.

[Images: Kia]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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5 of 42 comments
  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jun 09, 2024

    So sad, "Anal" is in here posting as himself and then calling himself out after the fact while pretending to be me.

    The Telluride has it's share of minor issues but is the best SUV from a "non-premium" brand even with higher MSRPs, the sales keep on rising even in the 6th year of production.

    The next generation will bring greater size, turbo engines, 2 hybrid variants, further improvements to the premium feel, and a definitive infotainment and safety suite.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jun 12, 2024

      Anyone with a clue can surmise that it's you, Anal...

  • El scotto El scotto on Jun 09, 2024

    No, no, and once again NO! Here in the metro D.C. Kia dealers are advertising Tellurides with cash on the hood. Here's what makes people laugh out loud: "1.9% financing for well-qualified buyers"! So maybe, and I'm being very, very, very generous here; maybe .01 of 1% of Kia buyers can at least fill out the paperwork to be considered well-qualified. They are all low curdogs, Kia North America, their dealers, and those willing to pay extra for something that depreciates.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jun 11, 2024

      DC is a slumhole POS.

  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗