An engine fire can engulf your car faster than you can imagine. A Kia Sportage was caught on camera disintegrating into nothing due to an engine fire.
A video posted to Reddit showed a 2017-2022 Kia Sportage crawl to a stop in front of the camera. Within seconds, smoke began to emanate from under the hood as its occupants struggled to get out. Within 20 seconds of stopping, the smoke is thick enough to make it clear that there’s something morbidly wrong. People around brought extinguishers, but some 90 seconds after the smoke reappeared.
This mishap might have been caused by mechanical problems that have led to multiple recalls for this generation of Sportage in the United States. According to the NHTSA, Sportages that have had engines replaced due to a prior recall have had problems with fuel lines being damaged or improperly reconnected during service. This can lead to a fuel leak and a risk of a fire.
There may be other causes like faulty electronics. Both the Hydraulic Electric Control Unit and the optional tow hitch harness have been found to be at risk of short circuits that can cause fires.
Kia’s passengers were smart enough to vacate the vehicle at the first chance. They presumably smelled something burning, or saw the check engine light come on, and stopped driving. They evacuated the car, cleared out valuables, and tracked down a fire extinguisher on the double. The only thing they could’ve done better might have been popping the hood, but that could have been risky too.