NHTSA Probes Jeep Cherokee Gas Tanks

San Jose, CA Car Defect Lawyers

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating a safety issue that affects millions of Jeep Grand Cherokee drivers.

The probe focuses on the gas tanks of Grand Cherokees produced between 1993 and 2004. According to the Center for Auto Safety, the D.C.-based consumer advocacy group that brought the issue to the attention of the NHTSA, the Grand Cherokees plastic gas tank is positioned in a way that increases the possibility of crash fires. The Center claims the crash fire rate of Jeep Grand Cherokees is four times higher than the crash fire rate of similar vehicles, such as the Toyota 4Runner and the Chevy Blazer.

The root of the potential problem is that the plastic fuel tank is tucked behind the rear axle, under the rear bumper. If the vehicle is rear-ended, the gas tank could be punctured, torn or otherwise compromised so that a leak occurs, creating a fire hazard. This is a terrible design, claims Clarence Ditlow, the head of the Center for Auto Safety. The organization may ask Chrysler to voluntarily recall the Grand Cherokees that fall under the problem dates.

The NHTSA is asking Toyota, GM and Ford to provide data on crash fire rates for the SUVs they produce that are comparable to the Grand Cherokee. The NHTSA is asking for records of lawsuits, warranty claims, defects and other field reports regarding the fuel systems of Toyota 4Runners, Chevrolet Blazers and Ford Explorers produced between 1993 and 2004. Comparing the reports of these automakers against Chryslers reports on the Grand Cherokee will help identify if there is a greater risk of crash fires with the Jeep.

Chrysler assures that its vehicles are safe and that there will be no discrepancy between the Grand Cherokees data and the data of its competitors. It is cooperating with the NHTSA as it conducts its investigation. Jeep Grand Cherokee owners should be aware of this potential dangerous fire hazard and stay tuned for the NHTSAs findings. If you have been injured in an accident that may be related to this recall issue, please speak to a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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