• The Santa Fe may fail to detect adults of small stature
  • The Sonata's side curtain airbags may deploy unexpectedly
  • Hyundai will soon mail recall notices to owners

The Hyundai Santa Fe SUV and Sonata sedan will soon be recalled for two separate airbag issues. The automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced the recalls, which affect the 2007-2009 Santa Fe and 2012-2013 Sonata.

According to the NHTSA, a total of 22,513 units of the midsize Sonata sedan are being recalled because the side curtain airbags may inflate unexpectedly. While the agency didn't offer a specific cause, it said the airbags may inflate due to "an error in manufacturing." The NHTSA also noted that such inflation could cause a significant distraction, impair driver visibility and increase the risk of an accident.

A further 199,118 units of the Hyundai Santa Fe are also being recalled for a separate airbag issue. According to the NHTSA, the front airbags in some 2007-09 Santa Fe models may have an improper occupant classification system in the front passenger seat. This could place children and small-statured adults at risk, as the airbags may not detect their size and could fail to deploy in a collision.

According to Hyundai, the Sonata recall was prompted by 16 reports of airbags deploying unexpectedly, though it said none of these incidents resulted in an accident. The automaker did not specify what prompted the recall on its Santa Fe SUV. Affected Sonata models were built between January 24, 2012, and June 21, 2012, while affected Santa Fe units were manufactured between April 19, 2006, and July 7, 2008.

Hyundai says the Sonata recall will begin this month. The automaker will mail recall notices to owners of affected vehicles, urging them to come to a dealership for service. According to Hyundai, dealers will replace the sedan's side curtain airbags free of charge. Although Hyundai has not yet announced when the Santa Fe recall will begin, the automaker says it will involve dealership service departments updating the occupant classification software on affected models.

Owners with questions can reach Hyundai at 1-800-633-5151, or call the NHTSA's recall hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

What it means to you: If you own a vehicle that may be affected, be on the lookout for a recall notice in the mail.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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