Assigned recall number 23V-877 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the recall includes 79,812 units of the Sorento, though Kia estimates the issue is present in 1% of these crossovers. It adds that the affected models were built between October 24, 2009, and June 24, 2011, in its Georgia plant, that they’re powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and that they haven’t had knock sensor detection system software installed. The recall isn’t related to an earlier campaign also issued to address a potential fire risk.
Details about the problem are vague. Kia told the NHTSA that “an engine compartment fire can occur while driving for many different reasons and depending on the severity of the fire, the identification of the cause can be untraceable.” It adds that it’s issuing the recall to “mitigate an unreasonable fire risk due to potential engine damage,” and that signs of a looming fire include noise, a burning smell, or smoke. The “check engine” light might also illuminate in the instrument cluster, but where or how the fire starts hasn’t been released.
Kia is asking owners of affected cars to visit an authorized dealership so that a technician can inspect the engine and replace it if necessary. It’s also asking dealers to install knock sensor detection system software as a preventive measure. Cars that receive the software will benefit from an extended engine warranty plan valid for 15 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first, and customers who have already paid to get the problem fixed will be able to ask for a refund. Kia will begin notifying owners by mail on February 9, 2024.