The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into one of the most popular vehicles in the United States. The agency said it has received 11 complaints of engine fires in Toyota RAV4 SUVs from 2013-2018. In 2020, the RAV4 was ranked fourth in sales, behind three pick-up trucks. It was the top-selling non-pick-up truck in the country.
The investigation impacts nearly 1.9 million vehicles sold in the U.S.
The issue appears to be caused by an improperly installed battery on the left side of the engine. A terminal on the 12-volt battery can short-circuit and result in the vehicle losing power. It can also cause the engine to stall, and in some cases, result in a fire in the engine.
While most of the fires occurred while the SUV was being driven, several people reported their car was off when the engine burst into flames.
"Drivers experienced stalling prior to the thermal event in half of the instances where the vehicle was in motion," NHTSA investigators said.
The NHTSA has not documented any injuries or accidents due to the problem and has not issued a recall on the vehicles. The agency said that the investigation may lead to a recall in the future.
"Toyota is aware that NHTSA has opened this investigation, and we are cooperating with the agency," the car company said in a statement.
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