This time, the alternator’s positive terminal nut may loosen, according to the NHTSA. If it comes loose it can cause a number of problems. One of them is pretty mundane — the engine can stall. That’s the ideal outcome, because the other is much worse.
See, it’s possible that an electric surge from the faulty connection can cause arcing that will melt some wiring and cause a fire in the engine bay. Fire-risk defects have become a bit of a Hyundai/Kia tradition lately.
The safety organization says 19,701 Sportages may have the wiring defect. Affected vehicles were manufactured at Kia’s plant in Georgia between January 12th and August 8th of this year. The issue was first brought to Kia’s attention after a customer reported an engine stalling issue to a dealer who went on to fix the issue. Kia identified the issue and worked with a supplier on an “improved alternator nut visual inspection process during production.” The automaker will also add a torque confirmation process at the end of the assembly line to make sure that lil guy is screwed on real tight.
Kia says there haven’t been any injuries, fatalities or crashes associated with this defect. The company will begin sending letters to owners in late September. The fix is a simple one: a trip to your local Kia dealer to have the nut properly torqued down.
As always, if you’re wondering whether your car is part of a current safety recall, check out our NHTSA safety recall explainer right here. And check it often! This has been a year of recalls, and you don’t want to get caught with a defect.