Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A second case of a 2013 Hyundai Sonata fire surfaces in the US. American driver seeks redress from Hyundai Motor America.

Two photos of the American back seat fire in a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. 
Clearly this is a seat heater fire. Note the three burns that the driver put out 
with a bottle of water. The second picture shows a child's toy that almost 
ignited. Also please note the child seat still in place next to the fire source.

2013 Hyundai Sonata car fire story back in the news. New US case and interest by Korean broadcaster KBS.

Readers may remember stories I did in early 2014 about 2013 Hyundai Sonata car fires. These fires start in the back seats of these Hyundai Sonatas. In the case of the first car fire I covered the flames consumed the inside of the car leaving it a smouldering wreck  on the side of the road in about 20 minutes. The engine compartment was left intact.

That fire was the result of an alleged general computer failure. Before the fire burst out the entire car came to a halt. All dashboard warning lights lit up and then went out when the system crashed leaving the seat heater gate open to start the fire. 

Forensic reports done many months later on the hulk left at a wrecking yard during the Canadian winter stated that no firm cause of the fire could be ascertained but the seat heater switch was open. There is no doubt in the driver’s mind that the fire started in the rear seat.

The point is these cars are dangerous to their drivers and passengers and so far Hyundai and their dealers say nothing probably because they fear liability claims. The general system failure of the first fire locked the back doors and as a result the driver lost her lap top computer and some school records because the doors would not open.

She was on her way to pick up her teen age children at school. Had they been in the back then it is anyone’s guess whether they would have been able to escape when the electric doors locked. 

Questions that I raised at the time about taking the car back to a heated garage to try and read out the car’s computer was never attempted. It sat in the wrecking yard subject to the extremes of a Canadian winter for any weeks before the forensic examination finally took place.

Recently on 2 November 2015  I was contacted by an American driver of a 2013 Hyundai Sonata after a similar seat fire experience. Photos provided show a hole in the seat and another smaller hole where a second burn was starting. A child’s toy was also burned as the second photo indicates. The driver in this case put the fire out with a bottle of water. ( see the photos above)

The driver of this Hyundai Sonata smelled smoke and stopped the car before the fire got going. The  back seat heater was on. The driver’s dealer indicated that they could see no reason for the fire and repairs were initiated. The driver is reluctant to accept a repair when the safety of children is in doubt. This driver through a lawyer has now contacted Hyundai Motor America who have suddenly gone silent.

The American driver has a lease and won’t accept the car back. At this point the driver is renting cars ( from 15 September 2015) until a satisfactory resolution is found. 

This story is now finally taking hold. I have also been contacted by a Korean broadcaster KBS who has also read the original blog story and wants to interview me about what I know about these Hyundai Sonata seat fires. 

© Copyright 2015, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.