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Kia owners outraged to be excluded from recall after engines fail

WATCH: Anne Drewa has the story of some owners of KIA vehicles whose engines broke down, and were told by the automaker their engines weren't covered by a recall.

Some B.C. Kia vehicle owners say they feel abandoned by the South Korean automaker after they experienced engine failure.

“I will never have another Kia,” Cindy Nichol told Global News.

Nichol was forced to pay thousands of dollars out of her own pocket when her family’s 2013 Kia Sportage engine seized without warning.

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“The panel lit up and it just died in the middle of rush hour traffic on the highway,” said Nichol.

The Nichols say they were told their engine needed replacing, even though it had just over 67,000 kilometres on the vehicle.

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Making matters worse, their vehicle was two months past its warranty and not under recall. They were able to apply to a goodwill fund which reduced their repair bill to just over $4,000.

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As a result of engine complaints from the public, Transport Canada opened an investigation into Kia and Hyundai engine failures in September 2018.

The agency told Consumer Matters that in 2019, Hyundai and Kia issued a number of recall notices covering the majority of the complaints of Hyundai and Kia engine failures reported to the department.

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However, not everyone is covered by that recall, despite experiencing similar engine related issues.

Kayla Switlishoff told Global News that back in February the engine in her 2013 Kia Sportage failed while driving to Big White Ski Resort in the Okanagan.

“I hear a knocking under my engine and my engine seized,” said Switlishoff.

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Her vehicle, which had approximately 180,000 kilometres on the odometer, was towed to a Kelowna dealership where she says she was told there was nothing wrong with vehicle.

Switlishoff says, miraculously, her Kia started, but months later in August her engine lost power again along the Kootenay Pass.

“It ended up seizing with a couple of cars behind me and I was lucky enough to pull over,” said Switlishoff.

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The B.C. resident says Kia Castlegar determined there was a hole in the engine block and the engine would need replacing. She says Kia Canada did not offer any compensation telling her the warranty had expired and her vehicle was no longer under recall, even though thousands of 2013 Kia Sportages have been recalled.

She paid over $8,000 out of her own pocket.

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Kia Canada told Consumer Matters that both of these vehicles are 2.4L Multi Port Injection engine vehicles and, as such, are not part of the recall involving 2.4L and 2.0L Gasoline Direct Injection engines as they are completely different engines.

But Merchant Law Group says the recall by the automaker does not go far enough.

The firm has launched a Canada-wide class action lawsuit that’s waiting to be certified by the court.

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“We’re alleging that there were engine defects. That the engines that were installed in these vehicles were defective. That was the cause of the dangerous situation,” said Steve Roxborough, a lawyer for Merchant Law Group.

“It’s not just a compensation issue. It’s a safety issue as well,” he added.

Kia Canada would not comment on the lawsuit.

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Transport Canada says if any car owner or driver experiences what they believe to be a safety issue with their vehicle, they are encouraged to report it to Transport Canada’s Defect Complaints and Recalls Hotline at 1-800-333-0510 or submit a defect complaint form online at www.tc.gc.ca/recalls.

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