Kia Recalls More than 146,000 Vehicles for Possible Airbag Malfunction

Kia Recalls More than 146,000 Vehicles for Possible Airbag MalfunctionCar manufacturer Kia has announced the recall of 146,000 cars for faulty airbag systems, with several models and years affected by the defect, CNN reports.

According to the news provider, the company is recalling Kia Optima vehicles produced from 2006 to 2008, as well as Kia Rondo vehicles assembled in 2007 and 2008. The company says the recall came after discovery of a flawed spring system that could succumb to damage over time.

As a result of the defect, the driver's side airbag in affected models may not deploy as designed in the event of a car accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted in its January 20 recall alert.

The problem was first reported by Kia last week. The company says the recall is expected to begin in March. According to the Los Angeles Times, the problem will cause the airbag warning light in the car to be illuminated in an affected vehicle. If the signal is not lit, the airbag should still be in working order.

Customers whose cars are determined to be affected by the defect can have their vehicles fixed at licensed dealerships free of charge, the media outlet stated.

Kia stated it first became aware of the issue in November, and has not received any reports of accidents or injuries caused by the defect.

The recall comes on the heels of a major recall announced by Hyundai, Kia's parent company, which was said to affect 205,000 vehicles with a similar problem, according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to The New York Times, Hyundai recalled its 2007-2008 Veracruz and Santa Fe crossover models due to the same spring issue in the airbag assembly. When the recall was issued, the South Korean car manufacturer stated it had received almost 8,000 warranty claims. Kia then also announced a separate recall that same week after questions arose over the the passenger-side airbag on the company's Sorento crossover.

The company first started investigating the issue in 2009, but resisted announcing a recall of defective products for nearly two years. The car maker agreed to the recall after the NHTSA stated it would continue to raise awareness of the issue by announcing an unusual, formal demand for a recall, the news provider stated.