The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently opened three separate investigations due to vehicle defects which pose serious crash hazards. The investigations cover the Dodge Viper, Ford Crown Victoria police cars, and the Porsche 911. The NHTSA classifies these investigations as preliminary evaluations which could be upgraded to a more serious engineering analysis or a recall if investigators find reason for concern.
According to a report posted on the agency’s website, the NHTSA is investigating the Dodge Viper due to concerns that the rear suspension knuckle may break while driving, which could cause the driver to lose control and crash. The investigation was prompted by two complaints to the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) in which vehicle owners said they lost control of their vehicle and crashed due to a rear suspension knuckle failure. The NHTSA investigation covers approximately 2,500 third-generation Dodge Vipers including 2005 and 2006 model years.
NHTSA has also opened an investigation into Ford Crown Victoria police vehicles due to reports of potential steering issues. According to the agency’s website, a link between the upper and lower shafts of the steering column may fail causing the steering wheel to disconnect from the power steering unit. Five complaints have been filed with NHTSA. However, no crashes or injuries have been reported. NHTSA’s probe covers 195,000 Ford Crown Victoria vehicles, including model years 2005 to 2008.
The NHTSA is also investigating Porsche 911 vehicles equipped with GTI engines due to concerns with the cooling system. The investigation covers approximately 10,000 Porsche 911 models ranging from model years 2001 to 2007. According to reports, at least 10 Porsche owners filed complaints claiming that a coolant hose attached to the engine failed, leading to sudden coolant loss beneath the vehicle. There were no crashes or injuries reported. However, the agency said that the coolant’s slippery properties could affect tire traction as well as the safety of motorists traveling behind the affected vehicles.