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Kia recalls almost 60,000 Spectra models for fire risks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall of select Kia Spectra models over concerns of excessive corrosion (rust) on the metal straps that secure the fuel tank in place as, when the corrosion is severe enough, the straps could fail and the fuel tank could literally fall out of the vehicle.

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This new Kia recall affects 58,322 vehicles built between November 7th, 2003 and March 6th, 2007 (2004-2007 model years) and it pertains specifically to vehicles in cold weather climates that have to face road salt in the winter. As anyone in “the north” knows, road salt helps to accelerate the spread and damage caused by rust (they call it corrosion) and the undercarriage of many vehicles receives more damage than the rest of the vehicle. Fuel tank straps are made of metal and as these straps are bombarded with moisture and salt during the winter, the straps can quickly rust to the point of failing. When both straps fail, there is nothing holding your fuel tank in with the exception of the fuel lines running to the engine.

There is no mention of actual fires, accidents or injuries stemming from the new Kia Spectra recall but this type of fuel tank strap failure comes with a variety of risks that pose a safety threat to everyone on the road. When the straps fail, the fuel tank is able to drop down to the ground and rub against the road surface. Provided that the tank is permitted to drag long enough, the fuel tank can become damaged and begin to leak fuel. At that point, you have fuel leaking onto the ground where a metal fuel tank is making contact with the asphalt – possibly creating sparks – and when you have sparks and a fuel leak it is only a matter of time before things get ugly.

This Kia recall is expected to begin sometime during June, with a letter going out to owners of vehicles in states that use rod salt in the winter, asking them to return to their neighborhood Kia dealership. The fuel tank straps and mounting hardware will be replaced with new, zinc-coated components that should stand up to the road salt a little better – all of which will be done free of charge to the customers.

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