‘It sounded like a blown tire’: Swollen fuel tanks may impact more than just Kia cars

ORLANDO, Fla. — A sudden swelling of gas tanks could impact more cars than initially thought.


Action 9 has been following this problem affecting Kia K5s for several months and has now learned some Hyundais could have the same problem.

When we first reported the problem with Kia fuel tanks expanding and popping up the rear seats in January, it was after Clermont mother Brittany Kelley contacted Action 9.

Kelley explained to Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal, “I mean my kids were sitting there when it happened.”

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Her 2022 Kia K5 made a popping noise and her gas gauge went from full to empty. The local Kia dealership at first told her the PCV valve that helps with ventilation was bad, but it then let her know the problem was much bigger.

“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 response from the dealership.

Since then, Action 9 has heard from several other owners of K5s experiencing the same issue. Now, we’ve learned it may not just be Kias with the problem.

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

“It sounded like a blown tire when it went off, when it popped,” said Devonte Wardell, who owns a 2020 Hyundai Sonata. Wardell said his Hyundai dealership confirmed his gas tank expanded. There was so much pressure, the back seat popped off and then he saw gas bubbling up from his tank.

Hyundai is the parent company for Kia and Kia K5s are very similar to Hyundai Sonatas.

Kia has acknowledged there is a problem and that it’s impacting more than 230,000 K5s. The company is offering a free repair that involves a software update for some 2021-2024 K5s if the tanks haven’t already swelled.

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

Hyundai said it’s aware of the issue and is investigating, but unlike Kia, it hasn’t issued a service campaign or recall.

Devonte Wardell said, “I’m here for the safety of the next person that’s driving a Hyundai Sonata.”

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Here’s a full statement from Hyundai on this issue:

Hyundai Motor America is aware and investigating the issue. Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are backed by America’s Best Warranty (more information). Hyundai encourages any customer having an issue with their vehicle to contact our Consumer Assistance Center.

If you experience this gas tank issue, make sure you document it and contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and let the Action 9 team know.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

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

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