Airbags have become a particularly newsworthy piece of automotive safety equipment in recent years. Kia now faces its own problems with the technology, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now issuing a recall notice for 410,619 vehicles in the United States, as reported by CarScoops.
The recall notice as posted concerns the 2017-2019 Sedona, Soul, and Soul EV, along with the 2017-2018 Forte and 2017 Forte Koup models. The NHTSA reports that in these vehicles, "the Air Bag Control Unit (ACU) cover may contact a memory chip on the printed circuit board and damage the electrical circuit. Circuit damage may result in deactivated airbags that will not deploy in a crash." Decoding that, it seems that the metal case of the airbag controller may be shorting out on components inside, damaging the memory chip or other components of the controller.
Rectification is to be handled by the dealer network, involving an inspection of the vehicle and the airbag controller. The remedy for the problem involves either fitting a replacement unit or updating the software. According to the recall notice, cars displaying an airbag warning light will receive a new airbag controller.
For those that have not displayed the problem and with no airbag warning light glowing on the dash, the software update will be applied instead. This reconfigures the control unit to "ensure deployment of the airbag(s) in the event of a crash that warrants such protection even if the recall condition related to DTC B1620 occurs in the future."
Repairs will be handled free of charge, with owners also to be notified by mail to present affected vehicles to a dealership. Concerned owners can check whether their vehicle is affected by entering the VIN on the NHTSA's recall website.
It's not the first big recall Kia has dealt with in recent years, either. However, it is a good reminder that checking your car for applicable recalls something worth doing on a regular basis, particularly if you bought your car used, as in these cases, OEMs may not have your contact details on file. Drive safe!
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