Hyundai now says recalled vehicles should be parked outside

DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai has reversed itself on a recall to fix a defect that could cause engine fires and is now telling owners of more than 200,000 vehicles to park them outdoors until repairs are made.

The company, along with affiliated South Korean automaker Kia, on Thursday said they were recalling over 600,000 vehicles in the United States (US) and Canada to fix a brake fluid leak that could cause the fires. Hyundai initially said it was okay for its vehicles to be parked indoors.

The recalls cover 203,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015. Also included are over 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 through 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015.

Hyundai spokesman Michael Stewart said the company’s North America safety team met on Friday and decided that the Santa Fes should not be parked in garages.

“After further review, it was determined that out of an abundance of caution, customers should park the vehicles outside until the recall is completed,” Stewart said.

The recalls cover 203,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013 to 2015. Also included are over 440,000 Kia Optima midsize sedans from 2013 through 2015 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2014 and 2015.

Combination of file photos shows the logo of Kia Motors during an unveiling ceremony in South Korea, and a Hyundai logo on the side of a showroom in Colorado. PHOTO: AP

A message was left on Friday seeking comment from Kia on whether it also recommends the vehicles be parked outside.

The automakers said in paperwork released on Thursday by US safety regulators that brake fluid can leak inside a hydraulic control unit for the anti-lock brakes, possibly causing an electrical short that can lead to fires.

Kia’s recall will start October 15, while Hyundai’s will start October 23. Dealers for both companies will inspect the control units for leaks and replace them if needed at no cost to owners.

In company documents posted Thursday by US safety regulators, Hyundai said it had 15 reports of engine fires caused by the fluid leaks, while Kia said it had eight. Hyundai said it’s not aware of any injuries, and Kia said it had none.