Defective tow hitches remain a thorn in Hyundai and Kia’s side. Mere weeks after both brands announced recalls on some 280,000 Palisades and Tellurides due to a fire risk stemming from the accessory, the Korean automaker has had to add another 70,000 Kia Sorentos and Sportages to the list.
The culprit is the same. The optional tow hitch is improperly sealed against the elements, allowing moisture to seep into the harness module circuit board. That could cause a short circuit — explaining how a hitch, of all things, can start a fire in a vehicle.
The addendum to the recall now covers Sorento model years 2016 to 2023, including hybrid and plug-in variants, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2017 through 2022 Sportages are also affected. Kia dealers are no longer selling the accessory hitch for the time being, and are returning all unsold parts to the manufacturer’s headquarters.
Owners should be notified by mid November, though you don’t need to wait that long for confirmation that your Sportage or Sorento is on the list. If you’re unsure, simply use the NHTSA’s VIN lookup tool.
Hopefully Kia will have a better part to swap in by the time letters go out to affected owners. Until then, the company recommends those with hitch-equipped SUVs park their vehicles outdoors and away from buildings. Three Tellurides have already caught fire in Canada due to this exact issue, according to Carscoops — so this isn’t a problem to take lightly. No matter what car you drive, click here to find out how to check for any open recalls on your vehicle.