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NHTSA Opens Investigation Affecting 1.9 million Toyota RAV4s

2013 Toyota RAV4 | Photo: Toyota
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Daniel Rufiange
There’s no talk of a recall yet, but the NHTSA's inquiry into engine-fire complaints could lead to a massive campaign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 after receiving 11 complaints of a fire in the engine compartment. This was first reported by the Associated Press.

A total of 1.9 million vehicles are potentially impacted. The NHTSA suspects the problem is the positive terminal of the 12-volt battery, which can short out in contact with the frame holding the battery in place. According to documents published by the NHTSA, this “may result in the sudden loss of electrical power, vehicle stalling, and/or a fire originating in the engine compartment”.

Of the 11 complainants, seven reported that the fire started while the vehicle was in motion. Of those cases, about half of the complainants saw the engine shut off before the fire started. No accidents or injuries were reported as a result of this problem.

NHTSA also noted that improper battery installation or prior collision repairs were factors in some cases.

At this time, the vehicles have not been recalled, but this preliminary investigation could lead to a recall – and it would be a massive one. Stay tuned.

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Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists