168,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles recalled because of increased fire risk

An extensive recall by Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp has been issued despite the effects of the government shutdown.

Around 168,000 vehicles from the two companies are at potential risk of fuels leaks, according to Reuters

The leaks could lead to engine fires and harm or kill passengers. So far, Kia has attached six fires to their current recall.

The risk arose after improper repairs were made to previous recalls of vehicles showing engine failures. 

Specifically, the companies warn that high-pressure fuel pipes were either damaged or wrongly installed when they replaced engines of the first recall.

A number of complaints caused Korean automakers to go under fire following numerous incidents of fires. 

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating the companies to verify whether all affected vehicles were recalled. 

However, due to the current government shutdown, most of the administration is not operating. The shutdown is the longest-running in the nation.

Among, the 800,000 federal employees affect by lack of pay, some in the NHTSA are furloughed. Typically, they would have ascertained the validity of the recall, clarified details with the public, and ensure enough vehicles are recalled.  

Hyundai and its affiliate still opted to move forward with the recall. They will also be giving over 3.7 million vehicles a free software update. 

This will allow vehicles to automatically alert drivers in the event of an engine failure. It will then put the vehicle in a "reduced-speed limp" mode.

Kia has reportedly installed the update on 20 percent of appropriate vehicles. 

Their recall includes 68,000 Kia Optima, Sportage, and Sorento vehicles running models between 2011 and 2014. 

Hyundai is recalling Sonata models of the same year. They are also recalling Hyundai Santa Fe Sports vehicles from 2013-2014. 

On January 9, Toyota also recalled a number of their North American vehicles due to a front passenger airbag issue.

They alerted the public to 1.7 million vehicles at risk of the problem. Worldwide, no less than 23 people reportedly died due to an explosion that hurled shrapnel into them. 

The Takata inflators are the cause of the issue which has affected over 19 automakers. Tens of millions of defective airbags were recalled by the company.

Toyota assured their customers that they can complete a repair process free of charge and that it would take less than an hour. Customers can go to their website to check if their vehicle needs to undergo repairs.

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