Even something as seemingly small as a single connection can cause all sorts of mayhem in a new vehicle, as evidenced by Kia's latest recall.
Kia has issued a recall for 27,030 examples of the 2017-2018 Niro hybrid-electric hatchback. All the vehicles in question carry build dates between Nov. 1, 2016 and Sept. 11, 2017. Even though more than 27,000 vehicles were recalled, Kia estimates that approximately 1 percent of the recalled vehicles will actually have the defect that spurred the recall.
The issue stems from a part called the power relay assembly. Located under the rear seat, it's home to a number of electrical components, including the main relay. The main relay might not have ample connection between its contacts, which increases resistance and generates heat. In fact, it might generate enough heat to cause "thermal damage" to the rear seat, potentially starting a fire in the process. It might also cause a warning light to appear on the dashboard, or the vehicle may not start.
The recall will be addressed one of two different ways, depending on what dealership technicians find when they investigate under the rear seat. If the power relay assembly doesn't show any signs of heat-related damage, the dealership will replace just the main relay. If damage is found, the dealership will replace the entire power relay assembly. As with all recall-related work, it won't cost the owner a penny, and if somebody already paid to have the issue fixed, Kia has a process in place for owners to seek reimbursement.
Notifications won't be sent out for some time. Kia estimates that dealers will receive their notifications on Nov. 16, while owners won't start receiving notifications until later in November. Owner notifications are sent out via first-class mail.