Hyundai and Kia are recalling a total of approximately half a million compact cars over a brake light issue. Specifically, the recall affects 363,932 Hyundai Elantras from model years 2013-2014 and 134,366 Kia Fortes (Koup variety included) from model years 2012-2014.
According to the NHTSA filings, the foible lies with a brake pedal stopper pad that when worn out enough is at risk of leaving the brake lights lit after the driver has taken their foot off the pedal. Afflicted brake pedal assemblies may also trigger the traction control dash light, allow the driver to move the car's shift lever without their foot on the brake, or inadvertently activate the electronic brake override.
To rectify the issue, affected owners can expect a letter from Hyundai or Kia with a prompt to take their vehicles to a dealer to be repaired. The brake pedal stopper pads will be replaced with a new part that uses a more thoroughly mixed and presumably stronger pad polymer. The work will be done free of charge.
If you're unsure whether or not your Elantra or Forte is affected by this, here's a nifty, NHTSA-backed tool that takes your vehicle's VIN and tells you whether or not it's part of a recall. While notification letters will be sent out in February, concerned owners can contact Hyundai customer service at 1-888-216-2626 or NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 in the meantime.