Federal safety regulators have opened an investigation into gas tanks that could pose a fire danger on an estimated 3 million older Jeep Grand Cherokees. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched the preliminary investigation in late August in response to a petition it received in October from the Center for Auto Safety (CAS). It should be noted that the probe doesn’t mean the vehicles are being recalled. That could come later depending on what NHTSA finds.
CAS claims that Jeep Grand Cherokees made between 1993 and 2004 have defective fuel tank storage systems that present a fire hazard in crashes. The consumer watchdog said federal records indicate that the Cherokees in question were involved in 172 fire crashes where 254 people died. According to CAS, the plastic gas tank on the Jeep Grand Cherokees from those model years was placed behind the rear axle and below the bumper, where it could be ruptured in a rear-impact collision. The tanks in question also had inadequate shielding, according to the group. In response, NHTSA says it reviewed the records going back to 1992 and identified ten crashes where the alleged defect may have been a factor. Those crashes resulted in 13 deaths, according to the agency. This investigation will be watched closely.
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