Hyundai Kia Owners Seek Justice for Spontaneous Combustion Fires and Engine Failures

Close to 3 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles are at risk for spontaneously catching on fire in non-collision events or suffering premature engine failure, putting drivers under serious threat of physical injury and damage to their vehicles during operation. Law firm Hagens Berman believes vehicle owners deserve more, and that these automakers should be held accountable for putting owners and drivers at grave risk of injury. While Hyundai and Kia would rather wait until they are forced to act, we think those put in harm’s way should receive immediate help.

The defect prevents proper oil flow to the engine, causing premature wear and failure. When the parts fail, the engine seizes and stops running during operation. Engine seizure often causes these internal parts to break and knock a hole in the engine, permitting fluids to leak and ignite a fire.

A class action lawsuit claims that long with creating a severe driving hazard and increasing the chance of injury or death, the end result of the engine defect is serious, extensive and expensive damage to the engine and/or total loss of the vehicle.

As of October 2018, more than 220 consumer complaints of non-collision fires in these vehicles were submitted to NHTSA and the Center for Auto Safety combined. Between June 12 and October 12, 2018, the Center for Auto Safety learned of 103 additional fire reports — an 85 percent increase — and has since received nearly one new report of fire every single day across these five vehicle models.

In at least a dozen instances, vehicles involved in these fires were recently serviced for an engine-related recall, only to have them catch fire at a later date.


  • 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2013-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport
  • 2011- 2019 Kia Optima
  • 2012-2019 Kia Sorento
  • 2012-2019 Kia Soul
  • 2011-2019 Kia Sportage

The lawsuit seeks to recoup losses vehicle owners have faced, including expensive repairs, car rentals, car payments, towing charges, time off work and other miscellaneous costs. Plaintiffs allege that they did not receive the benefit of their bargain in purchasing these vehicles because, had they known about the engine defect, they would not have purchased the vehicles at all or would have paid less for them. Attorneys also seek injunctive relief that could include an order requiring Hyundai and Kia to repair, recall and/or replace the affected vehicles.