Kia recalls sedans, minivans for air bag flaw

In this Jan. 28, 2011 file photo, KIA Motors logo is seen on a K7 sedan at a showroom in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

Kia is recalling about half a million vehicles in the U.S. to fix a defect that may cause air bags and seat belts to malfunction in a crash.

The recall covers about 507,587 vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website. It affects certain 2010-2013 Forte compact cars; 2011-2013 Optima sedans; and 2011-2012 Optima Hybrid sedans and Sedona minivans.

In the affected vehicles, the air bag control unit may short circuit and prevent the front air bags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying in a crash, according to the NHTSA recall notice.

The problem also impacted Hyundai, which is affiliated with Kia. The South Korean automakers are working on a fix. Kia’s recall is scheduled to begin on July 27. Hyundai has said it will notify owners through mid-June.

Hyundai’s recall includes about 580,000 Sonata sedans from 2011 to 2013 and Sonata Hybrids from 2011 to 2012.

NHTSA opened an investigation into the Hyundai-Kia air bag issue in March. Officials are also looking into whether vehicles made by other manufacturers might be affected.

The defect is tied to six crashes, according to NHTSA. Four people died and six were injured.

The air bag control units, which detect a crash and activate the air bags and seat belts, are made by ZF-TRW. The parts supplier issued a statement saying it’s cooperating with the government’s investigation, The Associated Press reported. ZF-TRW also said the parts are made to car manufacturers’ specifications.