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Billings Kia, Hyundai owners worried about vehicle recall

Chris Lord
Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 11:08:59-04

Billings Kia and Hyundai owners expressed concern Tuesday over the companies' most recent vehicle recall.

The recall, which was issued last September, affected 3.4 million vehicles because they risked catching on fire, even when turned off. Six months later, most of those autos remain on the road — unrepaired — putting their owners, their families and potentially other people in danger of fires that could spread to garages, houses or other vehicles.

Hyundai owner Chris Lord is among those still driving an unrepaired vehicle. He said hearing the news that it was being recalled was a surprise.

"You know, it was kind of a shock," Lord said. "You don't want it to happen to you, but you're always worried that it's going to happen."

Lord's other vehicle, which is also a Hyundai, is currently in the shop for an unrelated issue. Currently, it sits at 35th on the waiting list and because it isn't usable, the family is stuck using the one that has been recalled.

Lord said it's a scary instance because according to the recall, the car could erupt in flames at any moment.

"The way we kind of took it was park it away from buildings or not in garages and stuff like that," Lord said. "We're worried about it, and we've even thought about just getting rid of it."

While the decision to sell might seem extreme, it is going to take a long time for any repairs to be made. Both Kia and Hyundai have acknowledged that there isn't a good chance that repairs will be made in most of the affected vehicles until June, due to delays in parts and the number of vehicles involved.

"The uncertainty is a bit stressful, just because you don't know what's going to happen," Lord said.

Another Billings Hyundai owner, Linsdey Deshler, is also frustrated. She said she bought her used Hyundai two years ago and it was undrivable for a different recall just less months later.

"I was driving the car around and the engine fails," Deshler said. "They said, 'Oh, you didn't get that recall done? We're not covering anything.'"

Deshler was confused by that recall process, which she originally was told by a Billings dealer would be covered. Deshler said she was forced to pay for a new engine out of her own pocket.

"I will not lie, I cried for like a month in a half because I was saving up to buy a house," Deshler said. "Now, these cars can set on fire, like why would you even buy these cars anymore?"

It's an ongoing problem, making a big impact in the lives of residents like Deshler and Lord.

"I've got two kids and a wife and everyone needs to get around," Lord said. "It's really not the best situation."