Kia Telluride: Fire from Overheated Power Seat Motor

On 2024-06-10 12:22:39

Certain 2020-2024 Kia Telluride vehicles may have been manufactured with a front power seat motor that could overheat due to a stuck power seat slide knob. This issue can potentially result in a fire while the vehicle is parked or driving.

The Issue

Kia first became aware of the problem in December 2022 when they received a complaint about a 2021 Telluride. The report indicated smoke coming from underneath the driver's seat. Between March 2023 and May 2024, Kia continued to receive similar reports, which prompted an investigation.

Investigation Findings

The investigation, conducted by Kia NA Safety Office, Kia HQ, and the supplier, revealed that the problem originated from the driver's side seat tilt motor. Inspections showed that the seat switch back cover was dislodged and the seat slide knob was stuck in the upward position. It was determined that this likely occurred due to an external impact to the knob.

To further investigate, Kia NA repurchased an affected vehicle and shipped the relevant parts to the Safety Test and Investigation Lab (STIL). A CT scan of these parts confirmed that a dislodged seat switch back cover could cause internal misalignment of the micro switches, leading to continuous motor operation.

Recall Decision and Actions

On May 29, 2024, Kia NA Safety Office decided to recall certain 2020-2024 model year Telluride vehicles. There have been seven unique incidents reported: one under-seat fire and six cases of localized melting of the seat tilt motor. Fortunately, no injuries, crashes, or fatalities have been reported.

Safety Advisory and Recall Details

According to the defect analysis, if there is an external impact with excessive force to the front power seat side cover and/or seat slide knob, it can cause the power seat switch back cover to dislodge. This results in the internal misalignment of the seat motor control switch. A misaligned seat motor control switch with a stuck seat slide knob can lead to continuous operation of the seat motor, which can overheat and increase the risk of a fire.

Owners are advised to park their vehicles outside and away from structures until the recall repair is complete. Dealers will install a bracket for the power seat switch back covers and replace the seat slide knobs. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on July 30, 2024. Kia's recall number for this issue is SC316, and the NHTSA campaign number is 24V-407.