There is another potential fire hazard with certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles, prompting the automaker to issue a recall, halt the sale, and suggest current owners park outside, away from buildings and other vehicles. Not a problem under the hood, but more with a trailer wiring module in the back.
The issue affects certain Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride models from the 2020 through 2022 model years. Recall announcements from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that 36,417 Kias could be at risk of fire, with 245,030 Hyundais potentially involved. In total, the recall covers 281,447 vehicles.
The problem lies with a trailer hitch accessory module that is available on these SUVs either through the automaker or through Hyundai and Kia dealers. Moisture or other contaminants could enter the module and cause a short circuit. That could start a fire, and since the module is part of the trailer’s wiring harness, it’s always on. As such, a short circuit and fire could start even with the vehicle turned off and not connected to a trailer.
So far, no fires, crashes, or injuries related to this potential problem have been reported in the United States. However, Hyundai reports that three related fires have been confirmed in the Hyundai Palisade in Canada, along with eight reported cases of module meltdown in both Canada and the US. In the Telluride, one fire is confirmed in Canada, with Five instances of the module melting.
Obviously, this recall only applies to Palisades and Tellurides equipped with the trailer wiring harness and module. For Palisade owners, a stopgap solution is to have the module inspected and a fuse removed at the dealer, rendering it inert. There is no stopgap solution for the Telluride. A permanent fix to the issue is being investigated for both SUVs, though the timeframe for availability is currently unknown.