Hyundai, Kia recall more than 280,000 Palisade, Telluride vehicles for fire risk

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WASHINGTON — Hyundai Motor America and Kia America are recalling more than 280,000 U.S. vehicles because of an issue with the tow hitch harness that may lead to a fire while parked or driving.

The recall covers about 245,030 Hyundai Palisade and 36,417 Kia Telluride large crossovers, both from the 2020-22 model years.

A “stop sale” was issued Tuesday in accordance with federal regulations for affected unsold vehicles at dealers and vehicle processing centers, NHTSA said.

The two automakers are advising customers to park their vehicles outside and away from structures until repairs are complete.

In both cases, “debris and moisture accumulation on the tow hitch harness module printed circuit board (PCB) may cause an electrical short, which can result in a fire,” according to safety recall reports filed with NHTSA this month.

Both vehicles emerged over the last few years as key parts of their brands’ U.S. product lineups. Hyundai delivered 48,758 Palisades, and Kia delivered 55,211 Tellurides in the U.S. through July, according to Automotive News data.

The affected Palisades are potentially equipped with a tow hitch harness installed as original equipment or purchased as an accessory through a Hyundai dealership.

In a report to NHTSA, Hyundai said it has confirmed three fire incidents in Canada and none in the U.S. It is also aware of eight related incidents of melting in the U.S. and eight incidents of melting in Canada from Jan. 16, 2020, through July 15 of this year.

Hyundai said there are no confirmed crashes or injuries related to this condition in Canada or the U.S.

The automaker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Segi Korea supplies the tow hitch harness, according to the report.

The cause of the tow hitch issue is still under investigation and a remedy is being developed. As an interim repair, dealers will inspect the tow hitch assembly and remove the fuse, as necessary.

Dealers and owners will be notified starting Oct. 17.

For sibling company Kia, the affected Tellurides are potentially equipped with a Genuine Kia four-pin tow hitch harness installed as original equipment or purchased as an accessory through a Kia dealership.

The automaker told U.S. auto safety regulators that it is aware of six fires involving 2020 model-year Tellurides, but five of the six fires involved “localized melting only.” There are no fires involving 2021-22 Telluride vehicles, the automaker said.

Kia said no crashes, injuries or deaths have been reported.

The automaker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A repair fix is still under development. In the meantime, Kia dealers have been advised to stop selling the four-pin tow hitch harness and return any unsold harnesses to the automaker.

Mobis Parts America supplies the four-pin tow hitch harness, according to the report. The four-pin tow hitch harness was discontinued as a port-installed option starting with the 2021 model-year Telluride.

Dealers will be notified starting Oct. 10 and owners will be notified starting Oct. 14.

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