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Hyundai, Kia recall more than 1.6 million vehicles over electrical gremlins

Hyundai and Kia have announced a joint recall of over 1.6 million vehicles here in the United States due to an electrical issue that can cause a variety of problems ranging from the brake lights not working to no-start conditions to the inability to shift out of park.

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This fresh Hyundai and Kia recall centers around the brake light switch which, while it might sound like a fairly simple and mundane component, is actually quite important to several operations of the vehicles being recalled. In addition to making the brake lights shine when you hit the brake pedal, the brake light switch is also the “trigger” that allows you to start the car and shift out of park while also being responsible for cancelling cruise control. In other words, in addition to the brake lights possibly not working, the driver of a car with a faulty brake light switch might not be able to start their vehicle or shift out of park so the vehicle may be essentially inoperable. Also, the problematic brake light switch could fail to disengage the cruise control automatically and that could lead to an accident…even though the cruise can still be turned off with the same switch on the stalk or steering wheel that turned it on.

In total, there are 1.06 million Hyundai vehicles included in this brake light switch recall while Kia adds another 623,000 for a total of (roughly) 1,683,000 vehicles included in this recent recall. Some 700,000 vehicles were included in the similar recall back in 2009 so in the past 4 years, Kia and Hyundai have recalled almost 2.5 million vehicles in the US for brake light switch issues. Luckily, the Korean automakers have pointed out that the brake light switch setup has been changed three times over the past few years so we would guess that the newer vehicles are less prone to run into these problems.

Included in this recall from Hyundai are the 2007-2009 Accent, 2007-2010 Elantra, 2010-2011 Genesis Coupe, 2007-2011 Santa Fe, 2011 Sonata, 2007-2009 Tucson and 2008-2009 Veracruz while Kia adds the 2007-2010 Rondo, 2007 Sedona, 2011 Optima, 2007-2011 Sorento, 2010-2011 Soul, 2007-2010 Sportage.

This recall campaign for Hyundai and Kia actually began in Canada, where officials received nine complaints of brake light switch problems. This recall follows up to a similar campaign that both Hyundai and Kia issued in 2009 for the same problem but the nine complaints received by the Canada authorities fell outside of the range of recalled vehicles included in that previous campaign.

The recall repair for these 1.683 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles is simple as the dealership will just replace the brake light switch with the newest version. The problem is that with so many vehicles being recalled, Hyundai and Kia do not have all of the parts on hand right now. Because of that, Hyundai plans to formally launch the recall in June while Kia will make the call for those vehicles to return in May – at which point they expect to have enough new brake light switches to fix all of the affected vehicles.

Concerned owners of the Hyundai vehicles can contact Hyundai at 1-800-633-5151 and inquire about recall campaign number 110. Kia owners can also call the company for more information at 1-800-333-4542 for recall campaign number SC098. Owners of all recalled vehicles can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

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