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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it closed the investigations surrounding possible fires on the Volkswagen Passat and cracked cooling fans on various GM trucks without issuing a recall or fines to either automaker.
Originally the 2002-03 model year Passats were under investigation for possible ignition coil fires in July 2010 but things didn’t stop there. In January 2011, the investigation was upgraded to include 2001-07 VW Passat models with the four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. There were 135 unique fire engine reports attributed to the coil-on plugs, but after a thorough investigation there was no safety-related defect identified, so the investigation closed.
Unfortunately the investigation closure alone doesn’t ensure the absence of a defect. NHTSA will continue to monitor the issue to see if further action needs to be taken. None of the fires reached beyond the engine bay and no reports of crashes or injury were related to the 135 incidents.
GM on the other hand, got a thumbs-up after NHTSA looked into the cracked cooling fans on GMT-560 series of trucks. Those trucks span models from Chevrolet, GMC and Isuzu including the 4500 and 5000 medium-duty trucks. Even though NHTSA said that it “remains concerned about the potential for injury,” at the current time it can’t find the cause for the issue and that the complaints are “small and diminishing.”
Not exactly comforting, but we also know NHTSA would issue a recall if the organization saw fit to do so.