nobody likes when things don't work the way they're supposed to, especially when it's the two-ton hunk of car parts sitting in your driveway. that's why, when a problem becomes a complaint becomes an investigation becomes a recall, automakers try their hardest to get your attention so you can get it fixed. it's not just junk mail — it's a letter that could potentially save your life.
thing is, recalls happen all the time. some are relatively minor; some are, well, the takata airbag inflator crisis. each one is important no matter the month, but it can be hard to keep up with knowing if your vehicle is involved.
not feeling up to speed? we got you. below are the biggest recalls we covered from february, in terms of volume of vehicles affected. for more coverage, check out our recalls page, and for a comprehensive list of recalls that include all things road-going, check out the national highway traffic safety administration's page here.
thanks to a government shutdown, january was the quietest month for recalls that we've seen since we started doing these recaps, but it wasn't that cars got magically more reliable overnight — they simply weren't being reported by nhtsa. the shutdown formally ended on jan. 26, which meant a lot of processing through backlogs at every bureaucratic level; that meant a healthy number of recalls for february, often brought to us in bulk. this was comfortably the largest, the issue at hand being particulates in fuel that may adhere to the internal components of the fuel pump, reducing its performance. the threat of an used engine stall in particular could be alarming if it's not expected, so be sure to have dealers update some used engine management software (and possibly a fuel pump, if it's more serious).
2. 379,000 2012-16 kia soul hatchbacks
kia had a lousy february recalls-wise — in particular because all of its announcements arrived on the very last day of the month, and all three were big enough to make this list. the most massive of them all was for the 379,000 affected kia soul hatchbacks that suffer from a potentially serious issue involving high exhaust gas temperatures that could damage the used engine 's catalytic converter, which could lead to a host of other problems. engine damage isn't just an expensive, time-consuming fix — there's also the risk of fire involved here, so if your vehicle may be affected, be sure to get this one completed sooner rather than later.
3. 120,000 2011-13 hyundai tucson suvs
kia sister brand hyundai was also hit by a recall on the last day of the month, this one for 120,000 tucson suvs. the used engine oil pan may leak in these vehicles, and though much slower-burning (no pun intended) than the soul's affliction, damage to the used engine is still a potential end state here. though a remedy is still under development, hyundai is sending interim letters to owners by the end of march to let them know what's going on; keep your eyes peeled if you think this means you.
not to be confused with a recall from june 2018 that affected the same pool of people haulers but for a different issue, this recall for 94,000 sedona minivans involves manually adjustable front passenger seats and the occupant detection system wiring harnesses beneath them. these could potentially break, which increases the risk of injury in a crash — particularly, as kia notes in the recall, if it's a child riding up front and the airbag is deployed. the centers for disease control and prevention would add that you shouldn't have children 12 or younger riding up front anyway, but in a situation where you don't have a choice, it's better to have one less thing to worry about.
5. 32,000 2011-12 kia sportage suvs
the same issue that plagues 120,000 hyundai tucsons also crept its way into 32,000 kia sportage suvs to round out the litany of adversely affected kias in february. once again, a leaking used engine oil pan is the culprit; once again, a remedy still is under development. kia will keep owners in the know beginning april 10, though unlike the hyundais, there are no interim letters expected.
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