Toyota RAV 4 Car

Safety: Traffic regulators launch investigation into Toyota RAV4 engine fires

*The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the engine fire issue involves nearly 1.9 million vehicles made between 2013 and 2018, with 11 reports of fires involving Toyota RAV4 vehicles

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that it launched an investigation into Toyota’s RAV4 vehicles. Why?

Regulators said there have been 11 reports of fires in 2013-2018 RAV4 vehicles.

Auto manufacturer Toyota said it was aware of the investigation, and is cooperating with the NHTSA’s probe, which involves more than 1.86 million vehicles.

In a filing, the NHTSA alleged that “a non-crash thermal event” originated in the left side of the SUVs engine compartment, agency report noted.

The auto safety agency said the vehicle’s 12-volt battery appears to be the “area of origin” in a majority of incidents reviewed.

Investigators stated they suspect that the issue may be caused by improper battery installation. Specifically, they say it involves a short on the battery’s hold-down frame by the positive terminal of the 12-volt battery.

The agency said the problem “may result in the sudden loss of electrical power, vehicle stalling, and/or a fire originating in the engine compartment.”

On how the engine fire issue occurred, most drivers said the incidents happened while they were driving their RAV4, but four fires started while the ignition was off.

Investigators said “stalling” was reported in the run up to several incidents.

According to NHTSA, “drivers experienced stalling prior to the thermal event in half of the instances where the vehicle was in motion.”

The regulatory agency stated that it has opened the investigation to “better understand the contributing factors and frequency of vehicle fires originating from the battery region of the subject vehicles.”

So far, no injuries or accidents have occurred in connection to the issue.

The vehicles under investigation have not been recalled, but they eventually could be depending on what the investigation reveals, report said.

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