Drive a 2017 Kia Niro (or a 2018) and find your back seat becoming a hot seat? It might be a good idea to stop driving it and call your dealership.
In 2017 and some 2018 Kia Niro models, a main relay, within what’s called the power relay assembly, may not have adequate contact connections. The result could be increased electrical resistance—with excess heat, and potentially fire. Warning signs could include an HEV warning light while driving, and/or an inability to start the car.
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In documents filed for the recall, Kia discloses one “unconfirmed rear seat fire,” but no accidents or injuries from the issue. Kia estimates that just one percent of the 27,030 vehicles recalled have the defect, and it notes that the supplier of the component has since changed.
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The recall covers all Niro hybrids produced from November 1, 2016 through September 11, 2017. As we reported last year, production of Niro Plug-In Hybrid versions for the U.S. didn’t start until October 15, so if you have a charge port you don’t need to worry about this one.
To remedy the situation, dealers will inspect the whole assembly for signs of thermal damage and replace either the main relay if there’s no damage or the whole power relay assembly if there’s been overheating. If you drive one, expect to be notified starting November 23, 2018.