Hyundai and Kia are telling the owners of more than 571,000 sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans in the US to park them outdoors because the tow hitch harnesses can catch fire while they are parked or being driven.
The affiliated Korean carmakers are recalling the vehicles and warning people to park them away from buildings until repairs are made.
Affected Hyundai vehicles include the 2019 to 2023 Santa Fe, the 2021 to 2023 Santa Fe Hybrid, the 2022 and 2023 Santa Fe Plug-in hybrid and the 2022 and 2023 Santa Cruz.
The only Kia affected is the Carnival minivan from 2022 and 2023.
All have Hyundai or Kia tow hitch harnesses that came as original equipment or were installed by dealers.
Water can get into a circuit board on the hitches and cause a short circuit even if the ignitions are off, the Korean firms say in documents posted on Thursday by US safety regulators.
Hyundai has reports of one fire and five heat damage incidents with no injuries.
Kia has no reports of fires or injuries.
Dealers will first remove the fuse and tow hitch computer module until a fix is available.
They will later install a new fuse and wire extension with an improved connector that is waterproof.
Owners will be notified from May 16.
Last year, Hyundai recalled more than 245,000 2020-22 Palisade SUVs for a similar problem.