Hyundai, Kia Owners Sue Over Engine Defect Causing Fires

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Dec. 17, 2018—A class-action lawsuit filed Friday against Hyundai and Kia alleges a dangerous defect affecting certain vehicle models can cause premature engine failure and spontaneous fires in the engines, putting owners at risk of accident, injury and death, according to Hagens Berman.

Affected vehicles include: 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata, 2013-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, 2011- 2019 Kia Optima, 2012-2019 Kia Sorento, 2012-2019 Kia Soul and 2011-2019 Kia Sportage.

The lawsuit states that more than 350 consumer complaints regarding the affected vehicles have been submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) detailing non-collision events in which the vehicles have caught fire, a direct result of Hyundai and Kia’s concealment of the defect, according to attorneys.

The defect at the center of the suit affects Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with certain gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and “presents consumers with an unacceptable risk of their vehicles spontaneously bursting into flames,” according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The defect prevents proper oil flow to the engine’s vital moving parts, such as connecting rods and bearings, according to the suit, causing premature wear and failure. When the parts fail, the engine seizes and stops running during operation. Engine seizure often causes these internal parts to break and knock a hole in the engine, permitting fluids to leak and ignite a fire.

Along with creating a severe driving hazard and increasing the chance of injury or death, the end result of the engine defect is serious, extensive and expensive damage to the engine and/or total loss of the vehicle, according to the suit. 

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