Kia is recalling every 2022 Carnival minivan and some Carnivals from the 2023 model year. The recall population includes 51,568 units built from January 4, 2021 through February 22, 2023. The van’s power sliding door is programmed with an auto-reverse system meant to stop the door from trying to close when the system detects an obstruction. This auto-reverse isn’t working properly, apparently, allowing people to get appendages stuck between the door and the body. What’s strange about this recall is that based on information Kia included with its Safety Recall Report to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the automaker can’t find anything out of legal or minivan-segment spec with the doors. However, the small number of scrapes, bruising and injuries — one of them a broken arm — suggests there’s a problem with the door or how owners are using it.
A YouTube short shows the power of the door on what’s claimed to be a 2021 Carnival, the caption indicating the “door doesn’t always retract when it detects an object on its movement.” Kia’s chronology report indicates the automaker began investigating the matter in summer of 2021 after the Kia North America Safety Office “begins to identify customer complaints alleging child injuries caused by operation of power sliding door.” By March of 2022, the Safety Office was sending letters to Carnival owners “to remind them of PSD [power sliding door] features, functions, and usage to ensure clear understanding of PSD operation, including its reversal feature limitations and warnings.” That didn’t stop the occasional report of another injury.
Kia performed its own evaluations of the door mechanism, retained a third-party engineering firm to do the same, then retained a third-party biomechanical firm to create a realistic prosthetic of a child’s arm to test the Carnival door and those of other minivans. At least four tests are mentioned in the chronology. In all cases, Kia said that neither it nor the third-party firms could find a manufacturing defect, and said findings showed the Carnival sliding door performed in line with its minivan peers.
Nevertheless, there’s new software for the door’s control module. The fix for vehicles in the recall is a trip to the dealer to have the power sliding door control module software updated.
Kia says it will begin sending letters to owners on April 28. Until then, Carnival drivers can contact Kia customer service at 800-333-4542 and mention internal recall number SC266. They can also get in touch with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 (TTY 800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov, and refer to campaign number 23V236000.