Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is initiating a recall for certain 2024 Kona models due to a potential risk of electrical short circuiting. This issue arises from the possibility of the battery cables rubbing against the engine control module bracket.
These vehicles are equipped with a 12-volt positive battery cable that could suffer damage during frontal collisions, leading to contact with the engine control module (ECM) bracket. This contact increases the likelihood of an electrical short, which could result in a fire in the engine compartment post-collision. Signs of this problem include smoke or a burning smell emanating from the engine area.
The issue first came to Hyundai’s attention in November 2023, following a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) about an engine compartment fire in a 2024 Hyundai Kona 1.6T-GDI AWD during a crash test. The IIHS observed smoke and flames emerging from the engine area shortly after the test. Their preliminary assessment indicated a short circuit in the ECM, which led to repeated reignitions. The situation was resolved after disconnecting the auxiliary battery. This incident prompted NASO to launch a new investigation.
A joint examination by NASO, HMC, HATCI, and IIHS revealed damage to the alternator and 12-volt positive power wiring beneath the ECM, with exposed copper cores. The ECM bracket was found pressing against the 12-volt positive battery cable, believed to have shifted during the crash and caused the electrical short leading to the fires.
In response, Hyundai conducted crash tests in December with newly designed sheathing to protect the 12-volt positive wiring from shorting due to ECM bracket contact. These tests were successful, showing no damage or electrical shorting. Consequently, HMA’s NASO decided to recall the affected Kona vehicles.
To date, there have been no reported crashes, injuries, or deaths related to this issue, except for the single fire incident during the IIHS test. Hyundai is unaware of any field incidents. Vehicle owners will be notified to return their vehicles to Hyundai dealers for the installation of protective sheathing over the wiring. The recall is designated as number 252, with NHTSA campaign number 23V-900.