The switch recall involves most of the Korean automakers' model lineups from the 2007 to 2011 model years, which includes nearly 1.7 million vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a faulty switch can stop the brake lights from illuminating when drivers press on the pedal.
Also, the cruise control may not turn off when a driver steps on the brake, push-to-start buttons may not work and a feature that stops the driver from shifting out of park without a foot on the brake may fail.
The air bag issue impacts about 194,000 Hyundai Elantra compacts from 2011 to 2013.
No crashes or injuries have been reported due to the problems. Owners will be notified by Hyundai or Kia, and the parts will be replaced for free. Kia said it will send notifications in May, and Hyundai said it expects to send them in June. Both automakers need to wait until enough replacement parts are shipped to dealers.
Like many automakers, Hyundai and Kia, which are owned by the same company, try to use the same parts in as many cars as possible to get a better price from parts suppliers and make manufacturing simpler. But the downside is when something goes wrong, it can cause a massive recall.
For more information about the recall, owners can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236, or go to safercar.gov.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.