According to the filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall impacts 125,400 select 2020-2021 models of the Kia Soul, manufactured between November 24, 2018 and October 24, 2020, and 21,849 select 2021 models of the Kia Seltos, manufactured between November 20, 2019 and October 15, 2020 and equipped with 2-liter Nu MIP engines.
"During production at the piston oil ring supplier, inconsistent heat-treating process occurred resulting in excessive oil ring hardness," Kia said. "Excessive oil ring hardness can lead to chipping of the piston oil ring’s outer periphery and scuffing of the cylinder bore. A scuffed cylinder bore can lead to increased oil consumption which will eventually result in abnormal noise from the engine and/or illumination of the oil pressure warning light."
The company warned that operating vehicles with the defect could lead to engine damage, loss of power, increased risk of a crash and, in limited cases, a fire if a connecting rod were to puncture the engine block, which could leak oil onto a hot exhaust.
No crashes, injuries or fatalities have been reported so far as a result of the defect. However, four vehicle fire incidents are being investigated for a potential connection to the defect.
All owners of the select Kia vehicles will be notified by first class mail on June 11 with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia dealer to have their engine inspected and, if necessary, replaced.
Dealers will be instructed to install a Piston-ring Noise Sensing System (PNSS) software to alert drivers of potential damage to the piston oil ring.
In addition, Kia will reimburse owners for any repair expenses already incurred. Kia owners can contact the company for more information at 800-333-4542.