In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, parent automaker Hyundai Motor describes a situation where brake fluid may leak and cause an electrical short. For the Kia Optima and Sorento, the fluid may leak inside the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit and cause an electrical short. In turn, the short may cause a fire. The Santa Fe may leak brake fluid into the anti-lock brake system module and also cause an electrical short. In total, 283,803 Optima, 156,567 Sedona and 151,205 Santa Fe vehicles are part of the recalls. Hyundai said the problem comes from a "suspected supplier quality deviation issue."
Owners may see a dashboard warning light illuminate, smell burning or see visible smoke coming from under the hood. If the ABS light does come on, Hyundai said owners should not drive their vehicle and should disconnect the battery's positive cable. Otherwise, the cars are safe to drive until owners bring the car in for a fix.
Thankfully, the automaker isn't aware of any injuries related to fires starting. However, Hyundai is aware of at least 15 fires due to the defect, while Kia knows of eight.
Dealers will inspect the vehicles for leaking brake fluid and replace the HECU or ABS module as needed, free of charge. Kia owners should begin receiving mailed notices around Oct. 15, while Hyundai owners will receive their own notices around Oct. 30.