• Up to 72,568 vehicles potentially could be affected
  • Normal wear could damage a sensor that shuts off the passenger's-side airbag when a child is occupying the seat
  • Airbag deployment could injure a child passenger, although no such instances have been reported

Kia has initiated a voluntary recall of 2006-08 Rio vehicles to replace a faulty airbag sensor. The sensor is part of the car's occupant classification system (OCS), which shuts off the front passenger airbag when a child occupies the seat.

In a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kia said that normal wear could cause cracking in the passenger OCS sensor mat, resulting in failure. Without a functional OCS sensor mat, the passenger airbag could deploy in a crash and potentially injure a young passenger. Kia said no undesired airbag deployments or injuries have been reported to date.

The recall includes 72,568 vehicles, but Kia said it does not know how many of those have cracked because of fatigue. A malfunctioning OCS sensor mat will trigger an airbag light on the instrument panel, though. To ensure availability of parts, owners of recalled vehicles that have the airbag light on will be serviced first. Kia intends to replace the mats with a sturdier part.

This recall is the first for any 2006-08 model Kia Rio.

Kia will begin notifying both dealers and owners in July. Kia says a second notification date will be scheduled later, pending further information from the parts supplier. For more information, the NHTSA's website lists all automotive recalls. Search safercar.gov for the Kia Rio recall using campaign identification code 12V244000.

What it means to you: Owners of a Kio Rio from 2006-08 model years will be notified next month of the recall. Until then, keep kids in the back, especially if the airbag light on the instrument panel comes on.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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