Hyundai and Kia on Friday are telling owners of more than 571,000 SUVs and minivans in the US to park them outdoors because tow hitch harnesses can catch fire while they are parked or driven. (David Zalubowski, Associated Press)
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DETROIT — Hyundai and Kia are telling owners of more than 571,000 SUVs and minivans in the US to park them outside because tow hitch harnesses can catch fire while they’re parked or driven.
Affiliated Korean automakers is reminiscent of cars and warning people to park away from the structures until repairs are made.
Affected Hyundai vehicles include the 2019 through 2023 Santa Fe, the 2021 through 2023 Santa Fe Hybrid, the 2022 and 2023 Santa Fe Plug-in hybrid and the 2022 and 2023 Santa Cruz. The only Kia affected is the Carnival minivan from 2022 and 2023. All have Hyundai or Kia tow hitch harnesses that come as original equipment or are installed by dealers.
The Korean automakers said in documents posted Thursday by US safety regulators that water can enter a circuit board in the hitches and cause a short circuit even when the ignition is off.
Hyundai had reports of one fire and five heat damage incidents with no injuries. Kia reported no fire or damage.
Dealers will initially remove the fuse and tow hitch computer module until a repair is made. Later they will install a new fuse and wire extension with an improved waterproof connector. Owners will be notified starting May 16.
Last year, Hyundai recalled more than 245,000 2020 to 2022 Palisade SUVs for a similar problem.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that the latest recall is a direct result of the agency’s monitoring of the Palisade recall from last year.