Kia has issued a recall for 507,000 vehicles in the US, and those who get a notice may want to make sure they comply with its request. The automaker said those vehicles' airbag control units may be susceptible to an electronic glitch that prevents their airbags from deploying in a crash. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in the midst of investigating why the airbags in the Kia and (its affiliate automaker) Hyundai vehicles involved in six serious serious crashes, which killed four people and injured six, didn't deploy during the collisions.
Kia's recall includes Forte models 2010 to 2013, Optima models 2011 to 2013, Optima Hybrid models 2011 to 2012 and Sedona vehicles. It explained that the vehicles' susceptibility to electrical overstress can cause a short circuit that prevents both the frontal airbags and seatbelt pretensioners, which hold the driver and the front seat passenger in place in the event of a collision, from working.
Unfortunately, Kia doesn't have a fix for the issue yet, but it said it's already working on one with its supplier. According to the NHTSA, the airbag control module in the affected cars were manufactured by German auto parts-maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG. Kia spokesperson James Bell said the company is hoping to get a fix ready "by the scheduled owner notification date of July 27[th]." He also said that the automaker will provide customers with a rental car in case its remedy for the issue still isn't ready by that date.