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2018 Kia Sportage - Safety issue

has anyone who owns a 2017 Kia Sportage ever had the engine electronic timing sensor get hot and melted? Its a male/ female plug on the upper passenger side of the engine. Mine malfunctioned, the plug melted and malfunctioned causing the engine to lose power, I could smell something burning, very scary, didn’t know if the engine was going to catch fire, and if my family would make it home safely, called dealer, they had to change the entire wiring harness which the Kia Engineers advised to do. My SUV was in the shop for about a week. the service mgr. said they were going to send the defective harness to KIA to be analyzed they were ging to determine the cause and get back to my local dealer. The dealear never sent it to KIA, and if dealer doesn’t get a request to send back the defective wiring. this happened on June 27th, If the dealer doesn’t get the request to send it to them in 90 days they will destroy it/the evidence. this is a huge safety issue which could cause death if this happens again. KIA and the dealer weren’t concerned? 90 days will be up on sept 27th, I called yesterday, ( Sept 19, 2018? I requested they turn over the harness to me so I can get an independent inspection. This could be very serious, with a huge liability on KIA and the Dealer. Im concerned each time I drive my KIA this will happen again, fire and accident, Please share anything you have experienced similar to this, Thanks Steve Clark

Just this week I reported on a NHTSA safety recall for almost this exact problem with the Prius. If you’d like to drop a dime on Kia and report this to help prevent any issues for other owners, here is where you start:

Fire is unlikely as melted plastic doesn’t burst into flames nor do cars (except in Hollywood movies). As for causing an accident, that depends more on the driver’s ability to safely control the vehicle and pull it to the side of the road.

Just for reference, I am a retired automotive engineer and amateur racer. I’ve dealt with a lot of over-heated and heat damaged stuff as well as less than competent dealers.

You don’t own the affected harness anymore and they have no responsibility to give it to you. Unless you are planning to sue Kia and the dealer to retrieve it, your course of action is to notify NHSTA yourself and file a formal complaint. Don’t expect NHSTA to keep you informed. If you still wish to, hire a lawyer and go to it.


However, if you try to get a lawyer… Well, you might have a tough time finding one to take your case. You didn’t get hurt, Kia replaced the harness so you haven’t suffered a loss, and you were in no danger of being injured – just because you think a melted harness is scary (and I understand why you think that) doesn’t mean it is actually dangerous.

I know a person who thinks his house is haunted by a malevolent ghost, but that doesn’t mean that he would get very far suing the people who sold him the house, because he would have to prove that there is an actual danger there that they were aware of, and since ghosts aren’t real he couldn’t do that.

Similarly, you would have to prove that the melted harness presented an actual danger of setting your car on fire, and the overwhelming odds are that it didn’t.


I would agree with advice to notify the NHTSA. I’d also contact Kia via the route described in your owners manuals for handling complaints that are not resolved by the dealer.

Of course keep copies of all related documents. Get on with life in your repaired car and put the lawyer option in the deep freeze, available if needed later.

Mustangman summarized things very well, and I agree 100% with his reply to the OP.

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Retaining a lawyer is pointless because the OP suffered no actual damages…as long as a free loaner car was provided while his car was in the shop. If the OP had to pay for car rental, he needs to contact Kia at the corporate level and demand compensation for his rental expenses.

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Write a short letter to the CEO of Kia, sticking to the facts rather than speculations. See what he has to say about this incident. Cars these days have miles of wires in them, and it’s not possible to prevent short circuits from occurring 100% of the time. Wires can get nicked during manufacture of the harness, or when installed in the car, or from heat and and chaffing during operation. I concur that a thorough investigation is needed, but that may have already been done. Making sure the CEO is aware of the situation is probably the best you’ll be able to do. In my experience, even with large corporation, CEO’s generally are presented with, and do read letters like this, provided they are short and to the point and focus on the facts, and don’t make unsubstantiated accusations.