The United States Auto Safety Agency has intensified its investigation into engine fires in some Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corp vehicles over the past six years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has opened an “engineering assessment” on approximately 3 million vehicles in order to assess, among other things the effectiveness of the recalls by the automakers. It said that 161 fires could have been caused by engine failures.

A next step in any process that could lead you to recall is an engineering analysis. However, NHTSA sometimes closes such probes without any action being required.

In 2019, the agency opened an investigation into the Kia Optima, Sorento and Kia Soul from 2011 to 2014. Additionally, the Santa Fe and Hyundai Sonata from 2011 to 2014 were included in the investigation. This was to look into non-crash fires.

Record civil penalty

Hyundai and Kia stated Monday that they will continue to cooperate fully with NHTSA regarding non-collision engine fires.

After regulators found that they failed to recall 1.6million vehicles due to engine problems in a timely manner, the two South Korean companies reached an agreement to pay a $210 million civil penalty.