Action 9

‘Like an explosion’: Kia fuel tank issues could affect over 200,000 vehicles

ORLANDO, Fla. — We’ve now learned hundreds of thousands of Kia cars could be impacted by an issue Action 9 has been warning about for months. Kia has announced a possible fix to the issue that involves gas tanks suddenly expanding.

At the same time, another central Florida driver has reached out to Action 9 claiming the fuel tank on her Kia K5 expanded and popped her backseats up while her kids were sitting there.  Driving on Interstate 4 from Orlando to Daytona Beach in her 2023 Kia K5, Chelsea Bryant said it appeared her car was quickly losing fuel.

“It was just going down, going down, going down. It wasn’t going up. But I knew for a fact that it had a half a tank of gas in there,” she said.

And the car wouldn’t accelerate.

Bryant told Action 9, “When I pulled over that’s when my son was like, ‘Mommy our back seat just move or pop or something.’ I’m like, ‘What?’”

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From photos Bryant showed the Action 9 team, it appears the fuel tank expanded and popped up her back seat where she said her son and young daughter were sitting at the time.

She pointed to the photos and to show where her daughter was sitting, saying, “She literally sits right there.”

And this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this.  In January, we showed you when Clermont mother Brittany Kelley had the seats pop up in her 2022 model while her kids were in the car.  She couldn’t believe what the Kia dealership repair shop told her about it.

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

Since then, others have come forward describing the frightening experience.

Alfrida Bryant, who isn’t related to Chelsea Bryant said, “It basically sounded like an explosion, like a bomb went off. And then it kind of shook the car.”

Now, Kia has issued what it’s calling a Voluntary Emissions Service Campaign for some 2021 to 2024 K5s. It shows: “Kia has become aware that the subject vehicles may experience fuel tank swelling.”

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At no cost, Kia will do a software update on an electronic control module and after an inspection possibly even replace the fuel tank and/or the PCS valve.

Records show this impacts more than 236,000 Kia K5s.

But the possible fix does little to help Chelsea Bryant.

She said, “They (Kia dealership repair shop workers) were telling me that it may be a fuel problem and the fuel tank or fuel pump. They don’t know for sure.”

Chelsea Bryant’s car has been sitting at a local Kia dealership for nearly a month.  Unlike other customers with this issue, she claims she has not been provided a loaner vehicle and she’s paying nearly $100 a day for rideshare drivers to get her kids to and from school.

The situation is leaving her frustrated that 2023 car she paid cash for has put her family through this.

She told Action 9 Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal, “It’s not fair to any one who is dealing with this situation.”

After Action 9 reached out to Kia the company offered to provide a rental car to Chelsea Bryant and to buy her K5 back.

If you have a Kia K5 that falls under this campaign and have not had an issue yet, you should be able to take it to a local Kia dealer to have the repair done free of charge.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

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

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