NHTSA to look into complaints of auto defects

Drivers in Chicago may do all the right things to avoid a car accident, but sometimes being prudent on the roads is not enough to prevent a crash. We may be unaware of auto defects that lie concealed beneath the hood or within a casing until a crucial component breaks down at an inopportune time.

When consumers register complaints about perceived defects, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may decide to get involved and initiate an investigation. That’s precisely what the NHTSA is doing regarding 2009 and 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks and 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

As for the Grand Cherokee, it appears that a hose carrying power steering fluid can spring a leak and cause the engine to catch fire. Although no one has yet been harmed by the leaky hose, the potential for injury is large: Approximately 107,000 of the SUVs could have trouble with their hoses. By contrast, Ram owners have complained of their rear wheels locking up. One crash has been linked to the issue so far. It appears that the root of the problem may be with the gears that operate the rear wheels. The gear trouble may affect approximately 230,000 trucks.

There have been a number of notable automotive defects over the years and, even in recent memory, car manufacturers have initiated large-scale recalls to address problems that could lead to accidents. The Ram trucks and Grand Cherokee SUVs are not yet subject to a recall, but the results of the NHTSA investigation could prompt one.

Source: Associated Press, “Feds investigate wheels that lock up on Ram pickups and engine fires in Jeep Grand Cherokees,” July 23, 2012.