Kia recalls 507,000 vehicles in U.S. for air bags that may not deploy

Kia Motors Corp said on Friday it is recalling more than 507,000 vehicles in the United States because an electronic glitch may prevent air bags from deploying in the event of a crash.

The recall follows an announcement in March by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it was investigating why some air bags had failed to deploy in Kia vehicles and its affiliate Hyundai Motor Corp after crashes in which four people were killed and another six injured involving the two automakers' vehicles.

In total, the two Korean automakers have now recalled nearly 1.1 million U.S. vehicles to address the issue. NHTSA said in March it was aware of six serious crashes in which air bags failed to deploy in frontal crashes, including four in 2011 model Hyundai Sonatas and two in 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte vehicles. The crash of the 2013 Forte occurred in Canada. 

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Never, ever leave these things in your car

Medication

Most medicine should be left at room temperature, but a car will rarely stay at that point when not in use. Heat probably won’t make your drugs directly harmful, but it could make them less effective.

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Electronics

Beyond the expense of the devices themselves, gadgets like laptops, cell phones, and thumb drives contain information that could be easy to steal. If you’re in a position where you have to store your laptop or phone unattended, make sure the information is encrypted, says Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of Identity Theft Resource Center. This makes thieves unable to view information without a code, separate from the password used to log in to the device. “It’s a strong layer of protection and would need someone putting a fair amount of effort into it to view,” Velasquez says. “It’s much stronger than password protection.”

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Sunscreen

Ironically, the active ingredients in sunscreen break down in high heat. Leaving it in the car on a hot day could reduce its effectiveness. Plus, the heat could cause it to explode, leaving you with a hot mess. Check out these things you should never leave in your garage.

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Water bottles

Although the research is a bit unclear, studies have linked BPA and phthalates, chemicals found in plastic water bottles, with health conditions like cancer and heart disease. Letting a bottle sit in the sun and heat up could cause these chemicals to leach into the water. Plus, if the bottle has been lying around for a while, it could start harboring microorganisms.

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Handbags

Leaving a purse or wallet in plain sight makes your car a target for thieves, even if you’ve locked your doors or taken the valuables out of your bag. “It doesn’t matter if the alarm goes off,” Velasquez says. “It’s attractive, and they’re going to grab it.” These are the 12 items you should never keep in your purse.

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Sunglasses

Take advantage of your car’s sunglasses compartment while driving, but don’t leave your shades in it after you reach your destination. Heat can warp plastic frames and make metal ones too hot to wear. Leaving your glasses or sunglasses on the dashboard is even worse because the windshield could attract sunlight like a magnifying glass, American Optometric Association spokeswoman Susan Thomas has said.

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Important documents

If you have personal documents that you plan to mail or shred, make that task a priority on your to-do list. Letting files like school transcripts or tax forms sit in your car while you run other errands or until you have time to take care of them leaves information vulnerable if anyone breaks into your vehicle, Velasquez says. “Put it in the car, take care of it, and then you’re done,” she says. “You have to follow through.” If they don't need to be in your car, leave them at home or in the office—but make sure you know the 9 things you should never keep on your desk.

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Passport

Never leave a passport in the car while traveling, even if it seems like it’s too bulky to carry around. Identity theft is even easier with a passport than with a driver's license, Velasquez says. “We have to think of data and pieces of our identity as valuables,” she continues. “You’re not going to leave jewelry in the car, but we don’t have that same level of concern with things that make up our identity, and we need to.”

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Wine

Wait until after work or errands to pick up a bottle of wine. If the bottle gets too hot, the flavor could be affected, and the liquid could expand enough to seep around the cork or push the cork out a bit, contaminating the wine inside. Don't miss these 14 things you should always keep in your car.

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Kia's recall issued on Friday covers 2010-2013 Kia Fortes, 2011-2013 Kia Optimas and 2011-2012 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona vehicles. The company said the air bag control unit may short circuit because they may be susceptible to electrical overstress, preventing the frontal air bags and seat belt pretensioners, which pull the driver and front seat passenger firmly back into their seats, from deploying.

The company said it does not yet have a fix, but is working with its supplier on the issue.

Hyundai in February issued a recall for 154,000 U.S. Sonatas after non-deployment reports were linked to electrical overstress in the air bag control unit. In April, Hyundai recalled an additional 425,000 U.S. vehicles to address the same issue.

Hyundai said in March it was aware of reports of two deaths in its vehicles, which occurred in head-on collisions at extremely high rates of speed.

NHTSA said the air bag control module under investigation was built by ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a German auto supplier. The company said in March it was working with NHTSA.

The safety agency also said that electrical overstress appeared to be the root cause in a 2016 recall by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of 1.4 million U.S. vehicles for air bag non-deployments in significant frontal crashes. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot)

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