Action 9

Frustrations grow, consumers claim KIA has no fix for expanding fuel tanks

ORLANDO, Fla. — The owner of a 2023 Kia K5 is frustrated after he was told by his local dealership that his car could be sitting for months with no fix after it had a major problem with its fuel tank.

Action 9 has been warning Kia drivers about this expanding fuel tank issue for months and now another case has popped up in central Florida.

“You can see where it’s completely bowed up all through the middle,” said Scott Meinke as he showed Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal where the backseats of his 2023 Kia K5 had been removed.

Meinke moved his hand across the length of the rear passenger compartment where there is an obvious bulge and added, “This side and that side used to be pretty flat.”

He shared with the Action 9 team how the car he loved has suddenly turned into a brick in his Port Orange driveway.

“I’ve always loved the body style. The color is great,” Meinke said.

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But he can no longer drive it after the fuel tank suddenly expanded as he was driving with his wife and daughter.  His wife was in the back seat at the time.

“She was like, ‘What did you hit?’ And I was just like, ‘I don’t know.  I guess a piece of truck tire,’ he said recalling the conversation.

They both described hearing a Thunk. It wasn’t until later when his daughter was riding in the back, they realized the rear seat had been popped up and was sliding around as they drove.

Meinke said, “And she’s like, ‘Is my car seat supposed to be moving?’  And I was like, ‘No. Your seat doesn’t move.’  And she was like, ‘Well, it’s moving.’”

We first heard about the problem with Kia K5 fuel tanks expanding in January from Clermont mother Brittany Kelley who had her kids in the backseat when it happened.

She described what her local Kia dealership shop told her about her 2022 K5, “Your gas tank expanded.  And you’re lucky you made it here safely. Your car is no longer safe to drive.”

Since then, Action 9 has seen a handful of other cases with K5 owners experiencing the same type of swelling in their fuel tanks.

Kia has offered to buy some of them back and is now looking into Scott Meinke’s case.

Last month, the car maker issued what it’s calling a voluntary emissions service campaign for some 2021 to 2024 K5s.

Its shows, “Kia has become aware that the subject vehicles may experience fuel tank swelling…”  At no cost Kia will do a software update on an electronic control module and if needed even replace the fuel tank and/or the pcs valve.

Records provided by Kia to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show this impacts more than 236,000 Kia K5s.

Action 9 asked Kia about this potentially transitioning into a recall.  It responded by saying it expects the service campaign to address the issue.

Scott Meinke said, “I just want Kia to do the right thing and just make sure everybody’s safe out there.”

If you have a Kia K5 under this voluntary service campaign that hasn’t had this problem yet, you can take it to your local Kia dealership and they should make the repair at no charge.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

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