The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last week into 4,400 Lotus Elise cars from model years 2005 and 2006 that may have ruptured oil lines. So far, there has only been one complaint of an engine fire, although NHTSA says any type of oil leak can cause a fire. Otherwise, no injuries or fatalities have been reported. As of July 18, the agency had received 17 total complaints of fire or oil leakage.
NHTSA’s investigation report says, “Consumers state that while driving smoke would appear in the interior of the vehicle, or an oil leak would become otherwise apparent. On further examination the consumer discovered an oil cooler line had failed causing oil to spray within the engine compartment area, and/or near one of the wheel or brake assemblies. One report alleges an engine compartment fire, while others allege a vehicle control concern due to oil leakage on the tire.” NHTSA’s report marks the beginning of an official investigation, which may lead to a vehicle recall.
The Lotus Elise is a small, lightweight, luxury sports car. If you own a 2005 or 2006 Lotus Elise and want to see if it’s under investigation, visit NHTSA’s defect investigation website for more information. You can also report similar problems to the agency using one of these forms. Though most of the time, the automaker will call or write to you to let you know if a recall has been issued. If you’re curious or unsure, you can either search for recalls online or call NHTSA’s toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
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