A Hyundai and Kia fire lawsuit alleges recalls ordered to repair Theta II engine problems didn't do enough to protect millions of customers from the risk of finding their vehicles in flames.
The proposed class action lawsuit includes the following models, although attorneys say more vehicles may be added to the suit later.
- 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata
- 2013-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2013-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
- 2011-2019 Kia Optima
- 2012-2019 Kia Sorento
- 2012-2019 Kia Soul
- 2011-2019 Kia Sportage
According to the lawsuit, Theta II engines suffer from worn bearings and dislodged connecting rods that puncture the engine blocks. Metal debris allegedly blocks oil flow to vital engine components and leave the Theta II engines starved for oil.
Inadequate engine lubrication causes premature engine wear and damage, followed by a dramatic increase in odds the engines will overheat.
Hyundai and Kia fires have caused multiple lawsuits, investigations and recalls concerning millions of vehicles equipped with gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engines. Customers complain about engines that suddenly stall while driving, melted wires, smoke, metal noises and burning odors.
But it's the fires that have caused customers the most worries as Hyundai and Kia have allegedly documented more than 3,000 fire-related incidents. Adding to the worries is how the incidents occurred without crashes or collisions.
The plaintiffs who filed the proposed class-action lawsuit allege their Hyundai and Kia vehicles suffered engine troubles, sometimes causing multiple engine replacements that never fixed the problems.
The lawsuit references numerous previous actions taken by the automakers and the government following fire reports and engine problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating both automakers and if the Theta II engines are responsible for the fires.
According to the lawsuit, more than 103 injuries and one death have been reported in the midst of all the fire incidents.
Hyundai and Kia engine problems caused recalls in 2015, 2017 and 2019, but the plaintiffs claim the automakers failed to recall about three million vehicles that are at risk of engine and vehicle fires.