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Hyundai recalls 129,000 cars over fire and stalling risks

The Sonata, Santa Fe and Veloster are the latest vehicles with problems linked to engine fires.

2015 Hyundai Veloster

New engines for all.


It's back to the dealer for just under 129,000 Hyundai vehicles involved in a new recall to address stalling engines and a fire risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published documents Hyundai filed with the government agency this week and said the Sonata, Santa Fe and Veloster are the vehicles in question this time. The Korean automaker continues to deal with fire risk issues in numerous cars from the past decade.

Specifically, the 2011-2013 Sonata Hybrids, 2012 Santa Fe and 2015-2016 Veloster make up the recall population. Hyundai said in the documents that connecting rod bearings in each of the cars' engines could wear prematurely. If that happens, owners will have quite an engine knock problem. In other words, there's major damage occurring underneath the hood.

If the damage persists, the cars may be at risk of stalling without warning to the driver. Drivers may also notice an oil pressure light illuminate and hear a persistent knocking noise from the engine. Although the risk of stalling increases the chance of a crash, another possible risk is an engine fire. If the connecting rod sustains more damage, there's the possibility it may puncture the engine block and let oil escape. Oil near the source of ignition and hot surfaces may cause a fire. The recall stems from a NHTSA investigation, following owner reports of fires.

There's good and bad news surrounding this recall. The good news: Every car will be inspected, and if there are signs of bad connecting rod bearings, owners will receive a new engine free of charge. The bad news: Replacing an engine isn't a quick process. All cars with the problem will also receive new software that includes a Knock Sensor Detection System. Look for notices to mail out by the end of January.

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