Action 9

Expanding fuel tanks in certain KIAs leave drivers feeling scared and frustrated

ORLANDO, Fla. — The owner of another Kia K5 has reported hearing an explosion right before finding their rear seats popped up.  This is the third case reported to Action 9 since January.

“It’s detached and everything,” said Alfrida Bryant as she showed the Action 9 team where the rear seats were partially detached from the rest of her car.

Bryant said she found the seats like this shortly after hearing a loud bang as she was driving down the road in North Carolina.

Bryant said, “It basically sounded like an explosion, like a bomb went off, and then it kind of shook the car.”

She just recently finished paying off her 2023 Kia K5.

“I love the style, the body, the way it looks.  I love everything about it,” she told Action 9.

She never expected problems so soon, but after getting it home after hearing that loud bang she discovered the seats were popped up.  She described the seat bench as being bowed in the middle.  She noted, it appeared to be an expanded fuel tank, a problem she saw in an Action 9 story that featured two other Kia K5 owners in central Florida.

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Brittany Kelley couldn’t believe what the Kia dealership repair shop told her about her 2022 model.

“Your gas tank expanded.  And you’re lucky you made it here safely. Your car is no longer safe to drive,” she said recalling the conversation at the repair shop.

The local dealership later sent her an email stating its “shop foreman believes that the PCV valve failed due to a defect of the gas tank.  The tank expanded and caused the PCV valve to lock shut.”  And in a message to Kia, it wrote they “found damage under the seat and the fuel pump cover bent.”

John Laukaitis experienced a similar situation with his 2023 K5 as he was driving on I-4 in Orlando.

“The sound was so loud it shook my car, I could feel it my chest,” he said.

Both of their cars had high miles for their age, and Alfrida Bryant is in the same boat.  She already has around 85,000 miles on her 2023 model.

Action 9 also found a complaint about a 2021 K5 from south Florida that was submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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“It’s something that I think Kia needs to get on top of now and immediately. And if they don’t, then the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should,” said Michael Brooks, Executive Director of The Center for Auto Safety.

And he raised the question, “You know, what happens when a gas tank expands too much and you’ve got two children sitting on top of it in the rear seat?”

Bryant still likes Kia and is thankful no one was hurt, but she’s now waiting to see how Kia will address this problem.

“I feel like I just paid $44,000 for a brand-new car that don’t work anymore,” she said.

The company offered to buy back or replace two of the vehicles and said it’s aware of Bryant’s issue and is working with her on a safe and mutual solution.

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