Picture this: you’re driving along a backcountry highway late in the evening and the fog is starting to roll in. You want to take it slow, but even then your visibility just isn’t where you’d want it to be. Fortunately for you, your headlights are illuminating the path as you continue your journey. But what if they’re just not powering up the way you’d anticipate? What if they’re dimming, or worse yet, malfunctioning?

An overlooked safety feature on automobiles are the headlights. We use them every single day: driving to work early in the morning, heading home from a restaurant in the evening, or to navigate torrential downpours. We expect them to work, and in one-hundred plus years of automobile manufacturing, the reliability of headlights have come a long way. Many will now never have to change out their headlights during the entire duration of ownership, leaving us just expecting that they’ll be there to turn on when we need them.

Unfortunately for some 2019 Kia Forte owners, that hasn’t exactly been the case. After noticing dealership warranty patterns concerning new Kia Forte’s not having proper headlight low-beam aiming, the company decided to investigate and subsequently issue a recall notice on 2019 Kia Forte’s. It is estimated that approximately 1,700 model-year 2019 Kia Forte sedans are affected by the recall.

It is currently suspected that, initially, the headlights in certain 2019 Kia Forte’s were not manufactured with the correct low-beam aiming. This can, in turn, reduce driver visibility while on the road, greatly increasing the chances of a traffic accident and subsequent injuries.

Kia announced the recall on the 1,700 Kia Forte’s and began to notify owners as of November 30th, 2018. If you are a Kia Forte owner, expect to receive correspondence concerning the recall by mail. However, if you’ve bought the vehicle used it is quite possible that Kia Motors America will not have your information on file and will be unable to reach you with a recall notice. In such an event, you should contact either the automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline to address any concerns you may have regarding your Kia Forte.

The positive note about recalls is that automakers issue them to ensure vehicle safety and insulate their company’s from liability in the event of an accident where faulty equipment is the culprit. Accordingly, vehicle makers typically make recall service for their customers completely free of charge. All it requires is for you to call a local dealership, make an appointment and take the vehicle in to have the issue corrected. Particularly with a safety feature like headlights, it’s critical to get them inspected as soon as possible. The fix is pretty simple: dealers will have service technicians look over the headlight aiming and simply replace headlights as necessary.

Follow our guide below to check if your Forte makes the recall cut; all you need is your VIN (information on locating that is included below).

The Details of the 2019 Kia Forte Headlight Recall

In the event that you’re the owner of a 2019 Kia Forte, it’s entirely possible that your car could be a part of the recall. In any event, you should take the appropriate steps to reach out to the manufacturer and see what steps are necessary to remedy the headlight aiming malfunction. The list of vehicles includes 2019 Kia Forte’s in its various configurations (FE Manual, FE CVT, LXS, S and EX).

Kia is said to have uncovered the problem and fixed it on the assembly line, so so many Kia Forte’s will not be affected by the recall. Still, it is best practice to check and see if your specific model falls under the realm of the recall and take it to the dealership to have it corrected immediately.

Here’s a quick summary of the 2019 Kia Forte Headlight Recall:

What’s the Reason for a Recall?

Kia Motors America has issued the recall for certain 2019 Kia Forte automobiles that are equipped with LED headlights upon manufacturing. The recall is standing due to the headlights, which may not have been manufactured with the proper low beam aiming. If the headlights are not properly aimed out of the factory, motor vehicle operators may experience a reduced range of visibility. This can, in turn, reduce the time to react while on the road and lead to a greater risk of traffic accidents and injuries. Accordingly, these specific vehicles that are affected may fail to comply with the standards and requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, which is associated with, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Number of Affected 2019 Kia Forte Vehicles: 1,754

What Will the Fix Require From the Dealership?

Kia will start to notify affected owners on November 30th, 2018, about the recall and how to get it corrected. Upon arrival of the vehicle at the dealership, service technicians will inspect the headlight aiming. If the aiming fails to meet the standards as outlined by the FMVSS requirements and show to be defective, service technicians will replace the headlights, as necessary. As of February 9, 2019, the recall is still in effect via both Kia and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What Will the Fix Require From the Vehicle Owner?

Only your time. Dealers have already been notified of the recall, but owners will not receive direct notification of the Forte recall until a first-class mail notice is sent this past November. The recall will be corrected by the dealership free of charge to vehicle owners.

How to Contact the Manufacturer to Learn if Your Vehicle is Part of the Recall

Owners of the aforementioned 2019 Kia Forte should contact Kia at 800-333-4542. Owners can also then contact their local Kia dealership to set up an appointment time to correct the recall. Check with dealerships on whether or not they have the headlight replacement materials in stock to expedite your trip.

Kia Motors America’s Recall Number: SC171

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Campaign Number: 18V771000

How to Check to See If Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall Notice

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website will provide further information if your vehicle, whether it’s a Kia or other make, currently has an open recall notification that necessitates your attention to address it.

To search on the site, go to the recall page and type in the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) located on the lower left of your car’s windshield. You VIN may also be located inside the driver’s side door in some makes and models, as well as on your car’s registration card and occasionally shown on your vehicle insurance card.

Once you plug in your car’s 17-digit VIN on the NHTSA website, if a recall does not appear on the screen then your vehicle is currently free of any open recalls. However, automakers frequently issue safety recalls on vehicles. It is prudent for you to regularly check back on the site to see if your vehicle has any new open recalls that could be affecting the safety or performance of your motor vehicle.