Hyundai and Kia recall 600,000 cars for trunk latch that could trap someone

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Recall risks

Forcibly opening the trunk lid could lead to an injury to the user, as well as damage to the pawl. If small children climb in the trunk and close the lid, they might not be able to get out, exposing them to the risk of injury from lack of oxygen and high temperature.    

Other Hyundai recalls

Hyundai previously issued a recall in August 2021 for 348,158 vehicles including the 2017-2018 Sonata, 2016-2018 Sonata Hybrid, and 2018-2020 Accent over a similar issue. 

Hyundai’s sister company Kia also recalled 253,074 vehicles for the same defect the following month, covering the 2016-2018 Kia Forte and the 2018-2019 Kia Rio.

There was a Hyundai Sonata recall in October 2021 due to faulty turn signals, as reported.


A tie-down mechanism for securing a pivotally mounted automobile trunk lid 20 when objects 24 in the trunk are too large to allow the fully closing of the lid. The mechanism includes a reel 32 journalled for rotation on a reel housing 34 which is attached to the underside of the trunk lid. A flexible strap 41 wound on the reel spool is provided with a fastener 46 on its free end. A ratchet and pawl mechanism mounted on the reel housing includes a pawl 58 which is normally spring biased to lock the ratchet and reel against rotation in the unwinding direction. The reel is releasable by manual retraction of the pawl from engagement with the ratchet and the pawl held in the disengaged position by cooperation of a holding pin 70 on the pawl and a shoulder on the pawl carrier 56. With reel released, the strap can be withdrawn from the reel and its free end secured to an anchoring element 23 in the trunk. The reel 32 can then be manually rotated to tighten the strap, preferably when the pawl is released to engage the ratchet, such that the trunk lid tightly engages the objects in the trunk. By release of the pawl, the reel is locked against rotation in the unwind direction. It may then be rotated in the wind-up direction and the strap made taut to thereby secure the trunk lid in its tightly engaged position.

How to escape a trunk

The Kia and Hyundai recall has inspired a bit of true crime information. Because people do get kidnapped in trunks sometimes. I’m sure we’ve all seen a movie about someone being tied in a trunk as the criminal speeds away. 

The first thing you should do is pull the emergency release handle. All American cars manufactured after 2022 are required to have a trunk release inside of the trunk. It may be a glow-in-the-dark handle, but it could also be a cord, button, or handle that doesn’t glow. 

If you have your phone, call the police. Provide information about your location and the type of vehicle you’re in. If the driver has exited the car, exit through the backseat. The middle seat in the second row usually provides access to the trunk. You might be able to push it open. 

Other methods involve pushing out the brake light, using a tool to open the trunk latch, or using the jack to pry open the trunk. You can also bang on the top and make noise to attract attention. Stay safe out there, and get those latches fixed.

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