Kia Motors America is recalling 147,249 newer Soul and Seltos vehicles because the piston oil rings in some of their engines might not have been adequately heat-treated.
According to a document filed with NHTSA, improperly treated piston oil rings could cause engines to stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Oil could also leak onto hot exhaust components, increasing the risk of fire.
The recall covers certain 2020-21 Soul subcompact cars and 2021 Seltos subcompact crossovers equipped with 2.0-liter Nu MPI engines.
The automaker found four fires possibly related to the issue but said it had no knowledge of crashes, injuries or fatalities.
In a remedy description filed with NHTSA, Kia said it will notify all owners of the affected vehicles via first-class mail with instructions to visit a Kia dealer to have their engine inspected. The automaker said affected engines will be replaced. Kia is also instructing dealers to install Piston-ring Noise Sensing System software to alert drivers of possible damage to piston oil rings.
In the remedy description, the automaker said it will reimburse owners for repair expenses already accrued pursuant to a general reimbursement plan filed May 11, 2020.
Kia said it plans to notify dealers June 4 and vehicle owners June 11.