Hyundai and Kia cars in Australia under investigation for fires and engine failures


Hyundai and Kia owners in Australia who experienced engine fires, engine splutters, and premature wear are being urged to register their details online for a possible class action lawsuit.

Sam Purcell

Kia Hyundai engine failure

Kia Hyundai engine failure

Petrol-powered Kia and Hyundai vehicles – which could number in the hundreds of thousands – are under the spotlight in Australia for possible major engine faults that could cause a fire.

And the investigation could lead to a major class action lawsuit.

2016 Kia Cerato S Premium Hatch REVIEW | Solid Value And Easy On The Eye

2016 Kia Cerato S Premium Hatch REVIEW | Solid Value And Easy On The Eye

The possible class action comes after Hyundai and Kia issued recalls for nearly 425,000 vehicles in the United States for faults related to the engine’s internal components that could spark a fire.

In the US, the recalls culminated in a $US1.3 billion settlement against Hyundai and Kia, stemming from class actions that date back to 2017.

Charles Bannister – principal at Bannister Law – told Seven News: “You don’t get a billion-dollar settlement – the highest penalty in the United States – for an opportunistic claim without merit.”


2018 Kia Stinger

However, it’s not yet clear whether such engines used in Hyundai and Kia cars sold in Australia are identical to those in other markets.

More specifically, problems are associated with engine components such as connecting rods and bearings, which may be affected by premature wear.


According to Bannister Law, premature wear could lead to problems such as shuddering, knocking, engine seizing, or engine failure or – in extreme cases – result in fire.

This news comes after Bannister Law recently announced an investigation into Isuzu D-Max and MU-X vehicles following reports of cracks in the engine bay and clogged diesel particulate filters. 

The possible Kia and Hyundai class action in Australia also comes after a Hyundai Tucson recall in 2021 for a fire risk. More than 93,000 vehicles were affected by that recall, which was also foreshadowed by a larger recall in the United States.

2018 Hyundai i30 Go new car review

2018 Hyundai i30 Go new car review

A spokesperson for Hyundai Australia told Drive: “A recall of a Hyundai vehicle in an overseas country does not necessarily mean Hyundai vehicles in Australia are also affected by the same issue.

“We are aware of the class action investigation and note that no proceedings have been filed. In the meantime, we continue to resolve any issues for owners as quickly as possible, regardless whether they are related to recalls or not.”

Hyundai owners with concerns can get more information from the manufacturer at this link, while Kia owners can get more information at this link.

Ashlee is a support services worker from regional NSW and has owned her 2016 Hyundai Tucson Active X since new and has so far clocked up 100,000km.

Hyundai Tucson Active X

Hyundai Tucson Active X

Ashlee told Drive she refuses to drive her Hyundai after experiencing engine stalling, knocking and surging, along with high levels of oil consumption and intermittent warning lights.

Her vehicle is currently booked in for an inspection at her local Hyundai dealership, after previous attempts at diagnosis were unsuccessful.

Michelle Rice, an education worker in South Australia is the second owner of a 2017 Hyundai Tucson. 


Michelle told Drive she experienced a knocking noise from the engine two weeks after the warranty expired. The engine was found to be low on oil, and Michelle was quoted $10,500 to replace the engine. 

Michelle told Drive Hyundai opted not to replace the engine – diagnosed as having a worn bearing – free of charge because the log book indicated the vehicle missed one of its scheduled services over the 125,000km.

Michelle has been without her car for two weeks, while she waits for a secondhand engine to be installed.

Kia and Hyundai engine failure symptoms

According to Bannister Law, the following symptoms in Kia and Hyundai vehicles with petrol four-cylinder engines ranging from 1.6- to 2.4-litres in capacity could indicate a major fault:

– shuddering

– knocking, clicking or other abnormal noises (likely vary with the revs of the car)

– engine seizing

– stalling or stopping suddenly

– reduced power or hesitation

– illumination of the ‘check engine’ or ‘engine oil pressure’ warning light

– burning smell, oil leaks, smoke

– fire

– reports from mechanics of oil starvation issues, bearing wear and / or metal debris or filings in the engine oil

– knock sensor repair, replacement or software update

List of potentially affected Hyundai and Kia vehicles in Australia

Kia Sorento

Kia Optima

Kia Sportage

Kia Stinger

Hyundai i30

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai iLoad

Hyundai ix35

Kia Soul

Kia Cerato

Hyundai Veloseter

Hyundai Accent

Kia Pro_cee’d

Kia Rio

Sam Purcell

Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

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