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The 2001-2004 Kia Optima is being recalled in several states for corrosion of the front subframe. The recall covers some 36,538 examples sold in the U.S. in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia – all areas typically noted for being high rust threats due to their difficult winters and use of road salt.
According to the recall, internal corrosion of the front subframe can weaken the mounting points near the lower control arm, leading to everything from irregular tire wear to abnormal stress levels in the system that may contribute to a cras.

The recall begins this month, but neither Kia nor NHTSA have outlined a potential fix in the recall notice posted after the jump.

[Source: NHTSA]

NHTSA NOTICE

Vehicle Make / Model: KIA / OPTIMA
Model Year(s): 2001-2004
Manufacturer: HYUNDAI-KIA AMERICA TECHNICAL CENTER INC
Mfr's Report Date: MAY 26, 2009
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09V183000
NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: SUSPENSION:FRONT
Potential Number of Units Affected: 36538

Summary:

KIA MOTORS CORPORATION (KMC) IS RECALLING 36,538 MODEL YEAR 2001-2004 OPTIMA VEHICLES ORIGINALLY SOLD IN OR CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN THE STATES OF CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ROAD SALT APPLIED IN THESE STATES DURING THE WINTER MONTHS MAY RESULT IN PROGRESSIVE, INTERNAL CORROSION OF THE FRONT SUBFRAME. OVER TIME, SUCH SUBFRAME CORROSION NEAR THE CONNECTION TO THE LOWER CONTROL ARM CAN LEAD TO WHEEL MISALIGNMENT AND/OR OTHER NOTICEABLE STRESS IN STEERING, OR ACCELERATED ABNORMAL TIRE WEAR.

Consequence:

CORROSION OF THE FRONT SUBFRAME COULD LEAD TO SEPARATION, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A VEHICLE CRASH.

Remedy:

KMC WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND DEALERS WILL REPAIR THE VEHICLES FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING JUNE 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT KIA'S CONSUMER ASSISTANCE CENTER AT 1-800-333-4542.

Notes:

KMC'S RECALL CAMPAIGN NO. SC075. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundai/Kia should have been more vigilante about the corrosive effects of the amount of salt used in the cold-weather states.

      But then again, considering the 3 decades headstart in dealing w/ US winters and the resulting salt, Toyota and Nissan shouldn't be having the same subframe corrosion problems w/ the Tundra/Tacoma and the Altima/Maxima recently.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't it amazing how far we've come when a car can be recalled over rust, as opposed to it just being expected?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't this the same car as the Hyundai Sonata? If so, why wouldn't the Sonata's subframe be vulnerable to the same defect? I wonder if something is different between those two cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hyundai did a recall for their Sonata a few months ago.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If only the Nissan 240SX and Pulsar had this recall...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Has anyone noticed that most of Hyundai/KIA's recent recalls have been of vehicles from this time period? Was that Hyundai/KIA's nadir in terms of reliability? I thought that came earlier. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that these reliability issues are much reduced (if at all existent) in their current vehicles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Anyway, I'm pretty sure that these reliability issues are much reduced (if at all existent) in their current vehicles."

        It's really impossible to say until the current crop is several years old.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Conundrum, every car is going to have issues. The days of having a bulletproof Honda/Toyota are over. I have a list of over 10 problems with our 08 Accord. It is the most problematic Accord that we have owned.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Hyundai/ Kia recalls are still present just like they are with ALL companies who make cars.

        2008/2009 fuel pump malfunction
        2008 airbag malfunctions
        2008 towing systems
        2007 brake lights that fail to work
      • 6 Years Ago
      If only the Nissan 240SX and Pulsar had this recall...
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ remy...
      Not exactly true. Certain people who register the vehicle in a "non-recall" state may travel frequently in the "recall" zone or have the same problems even if they do not travel there.
      I for one had a GM full size truck that was used to visit family in the NorthEast on numerous trips. The truck developed the same ABS speed sensor/ hub problem that was recalled in the northeast region on similar GM trucks. Mine wasn't covered.
      Auto companies argue with federal agencies to limit the scope of these type of recalls because they are expensive... not because they are the only regions where problems occur.
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