Kia recalls 377,000 SUVs to fix shift lever problem

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2013 file photo, a worker polishes the new Kia Sorrento during the Brussels Motor Show at the Expo Center in Brussels. Kia is recalling more than 377,000 Sorento SUVs because the transmission can be shifted out of park when the driver's foot isn't on the brake. The recall covers Sorentos from the 2011 through 2013 model years. Dealers will replace the brake-shift interlock mechanism with improved parts. Owners will be notified starting Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

DETROIT (AP) — Kia will recall more than 377,000 Sorento SUVs in the U.S. because the transmission can be shifted out of park when the driver’s foot isn’t on the brake, a violation of safety laws.

The recall covers Sorentos from the 2011 through 2013 model years. The cars can roll away unexpectedly and cause a crash, Kia says in documents posted Thursday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The problem happens when the gear shift lever is pushed too hard, causing a part in the shifter to crack. It has caused three injuries.

Kia says it began investigating the trouble in August when it got a letter from a lawyer saying that a child moved a Sorento shift lever out of park and the SUV rolled in a parking lot. The child’s father stood in front of the SUV and was joined by his son. The son got between the Sorento and a stopped vehicle and suffered a broken leg, according to the documents.

Kia then began investigating and found 54 warranty claims. It decided to recall the SUVs on Sept. 28.

Dealers will replace the brake-shift interlock mechanism with improved parts. Owners will be notified starting Nov. 24.

Messages seeking comment were left Thursday morning for a Kia spokesman in California.

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