— A Kia Nu MPI engine recall includes nearly 167,000 Soul and Seltos vehicles that may need their engines replaced due to problems with the piston oil rings.
The 2-liter engines in 2020-2021 Soul and 2021 Seltos vehicles may have piston oil rings that weren't properly heat-treated, something that could cause damage to the Kia Nu MPI engines.
Kia received a complaint from a Soul owner in December 2020 who said the engine made noise, seized and stalled. Kia confirmed the engine seized and sent the engine to Korea for inspection.
The automaker reviewed engine replacement claims but found low claim rates for Souls and Seltos, but the failed Soul engine showed a chipped piston oil ring, a scratched bore and a seized connecting rod bearing.
In February 2021, Kia noticed possible engine problems at an assembly plant and also learned about an engine fire that occurred in a 2020 Kia Soul. It was determined the fire occurred when oil leaked onto the exhaust and engineers found a hole in the block from a damaged connecting rod.
Kia then learned the piston oil ring supplier had problems with the heat treatment process for the rings. The automaker also determined there was a connection between engine replacement claims and chipped piston oil rings.
Kia says the heat-treating process was corrected with engines produced as of June 30, 2020.
Kia says it knows of four engine fires but no crashes or injuries.
A driver may notice various signs of trouble, including an illuminated oil pressure warning light, increased oil consumption and engine noise.
There are 147,249 recalled Kia Souls and Seltos in the U.S. and 19,634 recalled in Canada.
Kia dealers will inspect and possibly replace the engines once the recall begins June 11, 2021.
When available, dealers will also install piston ring noise sensing system software to alert drivers of potential damage to the piston oil rings.
Kia Soul and Kia Seltos owners with questions should call Kia at 800-333-4542 and ask for information about recall number SC209.