Kia Optima Hybrid 2017-2018, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 2017 recalled due to engine problems

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Recalls of the 2017-2018 Kia Optima Hybrid and 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sedans are underway to address an issue with the gasoline engines of the affected vehicles.

Both models share a base platform and powertrain, the latter being the cause of the recall. Affected vehicles may have connecting rod bearings that are easily damaged, according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the worst case, this could cause the connecting rod to break and puncture the engine block, destroying the engine and creating a fire hazard.

The Hyundai recall includes 13,247 Sonata Hybrid, while Kia includes 10,731 Optima Hybrid, for a total of 23,978 US vehicles of both brands combined.

Plug-in hybrid versions of the Sonata Hybrid and Optima Hybrid were also sold during the affected model years. Kia, which is a brand owned by Hyundai, has explicitly stated that the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is included in its recall. Hyundai hasn’t made a similar statement, but its recall appears to include the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

All versions have the 2.0-liter “Nu” direct injection inline-4, produced in Ulsan, South Korea. The same recall also applies to the Hyundai Tucson, which was not offered as a hybrid at the time but has the same engine.

The recall population was determined from a review of production records, according to the recall documents. Hyundai and Kia are unaware of a specific manufacturing or design defect and are conducting recalls as a preventative measure, the documents say.

Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted by Hyundai and Kia with instructions for bringing their cars to dealerships. Hyundai plans to begin notifying owners by mail on November 12, while Kia will follow on November 29.

The motors will be tested and, if necessary, replaced free of charge. Dealers will also install the knock sensor detection system software to prevent damage from excessive wear on the connecting rod bearings. Kia will also extend the powertrain warranty from 10 years / 100,000 miles to 15 years / 150,000 miles.

2017 Kia Optima

2017 Kia Optima

Affected models represent the previous generation of Sonata and Optima. The plug-in hybrid version of the Sonata is gone for 2020, with a push instead towards plug-in hybrid SUVs. And Kia discontinued all Optima hybrids when the line was redesigned and renamed the K5.

The engine problem is a small-scale problem compared to one at the beginning of the year that Hyundai plans to replace the complete battery pack for 82,000 electric vehicles.

Reportedly, Hyundai stopped developing petrol engines while moving towards electric vehicles. Kia in 2020 announced a $ 25 billion investment aimed at reaching its own electric vehicle shift, confirming 11 new electric models by 2025.

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