A recall is underway for late model year Kia Seltoses and Kia Souls. The recall affects just over 147,000 2020-21 cars from the South Korean carmaker, which plans to notify its dealers and drivers in early June, according to Automotive News.
The defect prompting this recall involves the piston oil rings in certain 2020-2021 Kia Seltos and Kia Soul cars. Inconsistent heat treatment during the production of the piston oil rings yielded a harder material which can scuff the cylinder bore in the motor.
Over time, this could lead to increased oil consumption and possibly even a seized connecting rod bearing, according to NHTSA.
These defects can make the engine stall and if drivers are on the road at the time, it could lead to an accident. You wouldn’t want your engine to stall, say, when driving up an on-ramp or when overtaking on the highway.
Also, there is some fire risk involved in what NHTSA refers to as “limited cases” if a connecting rod were to puncture the engine block, which could leak engine oil onto a hot exhaust. Four fires may have already been linked to the defect.
So, Kia is set to replace the engines in the affected cars and may also install sensors than can detect damage from the piston rings, according to the NHTSA report:
All owners of the subject vehicles will be notified by first class mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia dealer to have their engine inspected and if necessary, the engine will be replaced. When available and as a preventative measure, dealers will also be instructed to install a Piston-ring Noise Sensing System (PNSS) software to alert the driver of potential damage to the piston oil ring. Kia will reimburse owners for repair expenses already incurred pursuant to Kia’s General Reimbursement Plan filed May 11, 2020.
Any owners who may have already spent money on related repairs will be reimbursed by the carmaker.
The recall affects mostly the Kia Soul. These account for the majority of the cars in the recall, about 125,000 vehicles. The Kia Seltos accounts for about 22,000 cars. Specifically, it’s the 2.0 liter Nu MPI engine-equipped Seltos which are affected.
No loss of life has been recorded due to the defect and there are no related accidents, injuries or fatalities, either. It’s just the fires for now, but that is still a big deal and one certainly worth heading to the dealership to get fixed.
Seltos and Soul owners will receive notifications in the mail. If you do own one of the new Kias in question and you’d rather not wait for the snail-mail notice, I recommend heading to the NHTSA site and punching in your VIN.
Better yet, you could also use the NHTSA app to verify and track the recall, all from the little PC in your pocket.