Kia K5 gas tank issues continue, as another Central Floridian’s tank expanded

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — There are more concerns about fuel tanks on newer model Kia K5s.


Action 9 showed you in January a mother’s back seat popped up with her kids in the car after she said her K5 gas tank suddenly expanded. Now an Osceola County man has come forward claiming he heard what sounded like an explosion when the fuel tank on his Kia K5 expanded.

John Laukaitis was driving on Interstate 4 in Orlando when he heard it.

“The sound was so loud it shook my car. I could feel it my chest,” Laukaitis told Action 9.

His car is a 2023 Kia K5. Hearing the sound made him think something scary was happening around him.

Laukaitis said, “I heard a huge bang in the car. Boom… like an explosion.”

At first the Kia dealership couldn’t find anything wrong with it, but after he drove it back off the lot he started hearing more strange sounds. Then he realized his entire back seat had popped up. When he took it back, the shop saw the problem right away.

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“They told me that apparently the fuel tank had swelled along with the fuel pump and blew and that’s ultimately what that explosion was,” Laukaitis said.

A friend showed him an Action 9 story from January involving a Clermont mother named Brittany Kelley. Kelley’s kids were in the backseat when her 2022 Kia K5 shook with a similar loud bang.

She couldn’t believe what the dealer’s repair shop told her. “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.

The local dealership later sent her an email stating its “shop foreman believes that the PCV valved 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, the dealership wrote it “found damage under the seat and the fuel pump cover bent.”

Both consumers drive a lot for their work. Brittany Kelley had around 72,000 miles on her 2022 Kia K5. John Laukaitis had around 48,000 on his 2023 model.

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Attorney Patrick Cousins, who specializes in Lemon Law cases and other cases involving car defects said, “For a fuel tank to do that you’re thinking something that’s been on the road 50-years sitting, it’s got rust, it’s got a hole in it, but not a brand new vehicle.”

And he wonders if this will start happening to more Kia K5s as more of them reach higher miles.

“You know for the average person to get 48,000 miles, it’s going to take about four years. And you know, you may be running at the end of the warranty,” he said.

Action 9 Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal asked Kia if it’s looking at that and, if so, how many cars it could impact. Kia has said it’s investigating.

Meanwhile, Brittany Kelley and John Laukaitis are hoping if there is a bigger problem Kia will solve it before someone gets hurt and help drivers like them who may be impacted.

“I just hope ultimately Kia does the right thing by me and by their customers,” said Laukaitis.

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They’re both wondering if this could turn into a recall issue. Kia has offered to repurchase or replace their vehicles with different dollar figures, but nothing has been finalized in either case.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

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