The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 865,000 General Motors Co. sport utility vehicles for potential faulty fuel gauges that could mistakenly tell drivers their vehicles have more gas than they do. NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation covering Chevrolet Trailblazers, GMC Envoys, Buick Rainiers and Saab 9-7s from model years 2005-2007, after receiving 668 complaints alleging inaccurate fuel gauge readings. Of the complaints, 58 incidents were alleged to result in a vehicle stall with 43 of those occurring because the fuel level reading indicated more fuel than what was actually in the tank. One complaint alleged the affected vehicle stalled while exiting an interstate highway and was struck from behind, according to NHTSA. The complaints were said by NHTSA to show an apparent increasing trend, with most complaints received within the past year.
The agency has also opened preliminary probes for Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. vehicles. NHTSA received 18 complaints concerning the liftgate glass on the rear doors or hatches on 200,000 Ford SUVs. The reports said the liftgate glass on Ford Escapes and Mercury Mariners for model years 2010 and 2011 could spontaneously shatter when the liftgate was opened or closed. In one incident, according to NHTSA, a consumer reported that she and her ten-year-old son were cut by glass fragments. Many of the incidents occurred during cooler temperatures.
NHTSA also said it opened an investigation covering 288,000 Honda CR-V SUVs from model years 2002 to 2004 for complaints that the headlights stopped working. The agency said it has received 12 complaints alleging that both low-beam headlights stopped working simultaneously. NHTSA had this to say about the complaint:
Several of the complainants report the headlight switch and its wiring harness connector required replacement to repair the low beam head light circuit. It was also reported the switch and connector had become damaged by overheating/melting.
GM, Ford and Honda all say they are cooperating with NHTSA. This is an obvious safety issue that should require a thorough investigation. It will be interesting to see what NHTSA does during and after the investigation.
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