- The US government is looking into 11 complaints of Toyota Rav4 engine fires.
- If the NHTSA forced a recall, it would impact nearly 1.9 million drivers.
- A Toyota spokesperson said the company is working with the NHTSA to investigate the issue.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday said it is investigating nearly 1.9 million Toyota RAV4 cars after receiving 11 fire complaints over the past year.
The complaints involved RAV4 models from 2013 to 2018. NHTSA said the majority of the fires originated from the vehicle’s 12-volt battery, coming from the left side of the engine. A terminal on the 12-volt battery may short to the frame, according to NHTSA documents, resulting in “the sudden loss of electrical power, vehicle stalling, and/or a fire originating in the engine compartment.”
“Toyota is aware that NHTSA has opened this investigation and we are cooperating with the agency,” a Toyota spokesperson told Insider. The small SUV is one of the car company’s top-selling vehicles, as well as one of the fastest selling cars in the US, according to iSeeCars.com.
The agency said the fires could likely be attributed to instances of prior front end collisions or improper battery installation. Many of the reports included cars with less than 50,000 miles on them.
While most fires occurred when the vehicle was on the road, four fires reportedly took place when the engine was turned off. At least two incidents detail RAV4 drivers who returned to their parked cars to find fire had “consumed the car.”
Half of the drivers on the road said the vehicle stalled before catching fire, according to NHTSA's report. At least two drivers said they were "lucky to be able to [walk] out from my burning vehicle" and hoped to warn other drivers who may be at risk.
NHTSA is still in the process of investigating the fires. Though the investigation could force a recall, no Toyota RAV4 models have been recalled.