US Government Launches Probe Into Hyundai, Kia Air Bags After Failures

US Government Launches Probe Into Hyundai, Kia Air Bags After Failures

Less than a month ago, Hyundai announced the recall of almost 155,000 2011 Hyundai Sonatas due to the risk that a short circuit could prevent the air bag deploying in the event of a crash.

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into a series of deadly crashes in which airbags in Hyundai and Kia cars failed to inflate.

The models being investigated are 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and 2012 and 2013 Kia Fortes, according to a document posted on the NHTSA website. The Associated Press reports that while the NHTSA is probing the Kia Forte, the Korean automaker has not issued a recall for the compact auto.

The specific concern with the air bags is an electrical overstress condition (EOS), which happens when an electronic device experiences a current or voltage beyond its specified limit.

The problem leads to electrical circuit shorts in air bag control computers made by parts supplier ZF-TRW.

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All of the accidents involved either 2011 Hyundai Sonatas or 2012-2013 Kia Fortes, according to documents posted on the NHTSA's website Saturday.

The NHTSA reports it is aware of four deaths, six injuries and six front-end crashes with heavy damage related to the recall in its report. A spokesperson for Kia could not be reached for comment.

NHTSA said it understands that the Kia Fortes under investigation use similar air bag control computers made by ZF-TRW.

Hyundai recalled over 150,000 Sonatas in February due to problems with air bag control units.

The agency says it also is looking into a 2016 recall involving Fiat Chrysler vehicles that had a similar problem causing the air bags not to deploy.

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