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NHTSA recalls Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santé Fe for transmission troubles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall of 2011 Kia Sorrento and 2010 Hyundai Santé Fe sport utility vehicles over a possible transmission problem that could lead to total transmission failure and loss of motive power.

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The NHTSA initially announced a recall of 12,690 2011 Kia Sorrento models and with the Hyundai Sante Fe being the same vehicle with different badging, it came as no surprise when the Feds quickly recalled 6,169 Hyundai SUVs from 2010 for the same problem.

The mechanical problem at fault for this new Hyundai Santé Fe and Kia Sorrento recall pertains specifically to front wheel drive models powered by the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. In these vehicles, the intermediate shaft may have been improperly aligned with the right side output gear and overtime, this condition causes excessive wear to the intermediate shaft. This excessive wear will begin showing itself by means of an annoying “whirring” noise but if the problem is left unchecked, the automatic transmission could be damaged and fail to provide power to the wheels.

Having the vehicle suddenly fail to power the wheels increases the likelihood of an accident so Kia and Hyundai are calling back almost 19,000 SUVs to fix the problem. The recall was officially begin sometime in June, when owners of the affected SUVs will be asked to return to the dealership where a technician will replace the intermediate shaft and output gear – free of charge.

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