Airbag Recall Hits Over 411,000 Kia Sedona, Soul and Forte Models

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Kia have announced a recall for a damaged circuit board component that could prevent airbags from deploying appropriately in the event of a crash on certain models. The recall affects 410,619 Kia vehicles, though the automaker estimates only around one percent of those might actually suffer the defect. 

Kia Recall Description

The defect was specifically described on NHTSA’s website as: “Variances in the manufacturing of the Airbag Control Unit (ACU), contact between the ACU cover and the Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) chip on the ACU’s Printed Circuit Board (PCB) may occur and cause damage to the EEPROM’s soldering joints resulting in an open circuit. If this condition occurs, the Airbag Warning Light will illuminate with diagnostic trouble code B1620 and the vehicle’s airbags will not deploy in crashes where deployment is necessary, thereby increasing the risk of injury. “

Recalled Kia Vehicles

The recall applies to:

  • 253,281 2017 to 2019 model year Kia Souls produced from July 25, 2016 through Dec. 24, 2018 
  • 953 2017 to 2019 model year Kia Soul EVs produced from May 18, 2017 through Sep. 28, 2018
  • 108,693 2017 to 2018 model year Kia Fortes produced from March 2, 2017
  • through July 27, 2018
  • 47,690 2017 to 2019 model year Kia Sedonas produced from July 12, 2016 through Jan. 10, 2019 
  • 2 (two!) 2017 Kia Forte Koups manufactured on October 4, 2016. 

Kia Recall Contact Information

Owners of these vehicles should be notified by first class mail at their residence on file with instructions on how and when to bring their Kia into a dealership. Letters are expected to be mailed March 21, 2022. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia’s number for this recall is SC226.

Dealers will inspect the ACU. If the Airbag warning light is already illuminated, a dealer will replace the Airbag Control Unit with an “improved” unit. If the light is not illuminated, a software update will be installed that Kia claims will ensure proper deployment of the airbags in the event of a crash. 

Recall Reimbursement and Unaffected Cars

Kia claims 2019 Sedonas manufactured after Jan. 10, 2019 were already equipped with an improved Airbag Control Unit. A different unit was installed on Kia Fortes for the 2019 model year, and new-generation Kia Souls for the 2020 model year. “Kia will reimburse owners for repair expenses already incurred pursuant to Kia’s General Reimbursement Plan filed May 11, 2020,” according to the Defect Notice Report on NHTSA’s website.  

So far, zero crashes implicating issues with the airbag systems on the affected Kia models have been reported, according to Kia and NHTSA. However, 13 customer complaints have been filed, and 947 warranty claims have been filed relating to the defect.

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