WASHINGTON — U.S. auto safety regulators said Monday they were opening a probe into nearly 1.9 million Toyota RAV4 vehicles for fire risks.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the preliminary evaluation into 2013-2018 RAV4 vehicles comes after 11 reports of fires.
The agency said some drivers experienced stalling prior to the fire in half of the instances where the vehicle was in motion. The 12-volt battery was identified as the area of origin in a majority of incidents reviewed, the agency said.
Toyota did not immediately comment.
Most NHTSA investigations start as preliminary evaluations, where agency engineers request information from the manufacturer, including data on complaints, injuries and warranty claims. The manufacturer can also present its view regarding the alleged defect and may issue a recall.
After the evaluation, NHTSA will either close the investigation or move into the next phase. If a safety-related defect exists, according to NHTSA, the agency may send a “recall request” letter to the manufacturer. Typically, automakers will initiate recalls before NHTSA forces them to do so.
Automotive News contributed to this report.