Kia Motors America has issued a recall for 36,000 Optima models made during the 2001 through 2004 model years. The recall covers a defect of the vehicle’s steel subframe, which could be adversely affected by road salt in certain parts of the country, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The problem ultimately could cause a vehicle to become uncontrollable, possibly resulting in personal injury or death.
According to Kia’s defect notice, exposure to road salt can cause critical structural problems, including failure of certain components related to the vehicle’s suspension and steering systems. The notice, which was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the road salt applied in states such as Maryland during the winter months may cause progressive internal corrosion of the car’s subframe. Over time, this kind of structural corrosion can affect areas of the subframe where the lower suspension control arms connect to the vehicle.
If sufficient corrosion occurs in these areas, a number of potentially dangerous conditions can result, such as wheel misalignment and/or other noticeable stress in steering, or accelerated abnormal tire wear. Ultimately, this kind of condition can lead to “wheel separation, possibly resulting in a vehicle crash,” according to Kia.
The states affected by the recall include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Kia dealers will inspect recalled cars, and if necessary, repair the subframe free of charge. Dealers are expected to contact owners through the mail this month, but those who wish to make their own repair arrangements may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542.
It is this kind of vehicle defect that can be the cause of a crash and result in serious injury or death of the driver, passengers or bystanders. As Maryland automobile accident attorneys, Lebowitz-Mzhen LLC helps defend victims and their families in cases where a company has been negligent in providing a safe product to the public. If you or a relative has been injured due to a possible vehicle defect, we highly recommend that you contact a qualified legal professional to assess your potential case. You may call us at 1-888-311-HURT for a free initial consultation.
Recall Alert: Kia Optima, USNews.com, June 10, 2009