Tag: fire

By on September 21, 2021

The Chevrolet Bolt has evolved from being General Motors’ superstar EV, radiating optimism for the company’s ambitious electrification strategy, to a public relations nightmare in relatively short order. While sales of the hatchback (and EUV) actually skyrocketed in Q2 of 2021, thanks largely to a diminished production output from the same period in 2020, shoppers are becoming aware of the fire reports and prolonged recall campaign that followed.

Another chapter has been added to that story, with GM now convinced that this will be the conclusion of the dejected tale. On Monday, the manufacturer issued an announcement that batteries for the Bolt had resumed production. But they won’t be coming out of the South Korean facility owned by LG Chem that’s been alleged as ground zero for the relevant defects. GM has instead elected to source the units from Michigan while LG improves quality assurance with the automaker peering over its shoulder, hopeful that customers will someday be able to use their car normally. Sadly, that moment still looks to be several months away.  (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2021

If you’ve been following the Chevrolet Bolt, then you know it’s gone from a competitive front-motor, five-door all-electric subcompact to a tinderbox on wheels. Battery issues have resulted in numerous recalls while the associated fire risk is gradually making it the spiritual successor to the Ford Pinto flambé edition. Though, in fairness, the Bolt issue is nowhere near as devastating as those vintage Ford fires and pales in comparison to the General Motors’ own faulty ignition switch fiasco that left over 100 people dead.

It’s still leaving a bad impression, however, and GM’s latest decision (prudent as it might be) won’t be helping. As part of the recall campaign, the manufacturer has advised owners not to park the vehicle inside garages or close to buildings. It also has a charging protocol for customers to use to help minimize its risk of spontaneous combustion. Following yet another fire incident, GM has updated those recommendations and now advises drivers to park the Bolt at least 50 feet away from all other vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2021

On Friday, General Motors announced that its recall of the Chevrolet Bolt would result in a loss of $1 billion. But only after it expanded the campaign to encompass every electric vehicle it has produced. Rather than a single $800-million defect requiring fire-prone models to come back for repairs, GM is now confronting two problems and including Bolts (and Bolt EUVs) from 2019 onwards. The automaker has said this will necessitate an additional billion-dollar financial setback.

Keen to avoid being the recipient of the swelling public outrage, the manufacturer has been trying to shift criticism onto battery supplier LG Chem. The South Korean firm has been involved in numerous fire-related recalls pertaining to electric vehicles and GM would very much like to remind you of that, rather than take the blame for building and selling EVs that it’s advising customers not to charge too much or park anywhere near their home.  (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2021

The Chevrolet Bolt has become the focus of negative attention following some fire incidents that were believed to be related to battery components. After two recalls, General Motors has decided to replace the battery modules of every model that could be impacted — rather than focusing on units with proven defects.

While it’s undoubtedly going to cost the company a fortune, this is probably the correct move. The implications of negative publicity stemming from repeat vehicle fires have a tendency to linger and be blown up to larger-than-life proportions. This is especially true if an automaker rushed that vehicle to market to better wrangle the segment. Just ask Ford about the Pinto if you’ve any doubts.   (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2020

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

Hyundai Motor Co. is recalling roughly 129,000 vehicles sold in the United States over an engine issue that may pose a fire risk. While we’ve been generally kind to the manufacturer of late, thanks to a rather good lineup of well-designed vehicles, it’s been mucking things up with recalls.

Last week, Hyundai Motor Group (including Kia) agreed to shell out up to $210 million in civil penalties after American safety regulators said it was dragging its feet on enacting a recall that encompassed 1.6 million automobiles. Apparently, there was some confusion on what needed to be reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But let’s begin with the latest problem covering the company’s 2.4, 2.0, and 1.6-liter engines.

(Read More…)

By on August 10, 2020

2014 Chrysler Town & Country

A defunct minivan is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after three owners reported fires breaking out in the interior of their vehicles.

The preliminary probe, opened August 6th, covers only the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country, the high-zoot sibling of the Dodge Grand Caravan. It seems the trouble lies with the vehicle’s charge hub, which sits between the second- and third-row seats. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2019

It’s a question that I often joked about in relation to racing in LeMons competition. The joke being that small fires are normal for $500 crap cans and don’t necessarily warrant a pit stop (this is not actually true). As I stopped the not-a-crapcan GT350 in the pits to have grass cleared from the grille openings, I heard someone yell, “Fire!”

Knowing the probable source of the combustion, there was just one thing to do… drive. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, V8-6-4 engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Without fire, society as we know it could not exist. The combustion of flammable fuels is what warms most of our homes, cooks much of our food (perhaps indirectly), and drives the bulk of our many modes of transportation. Long ago, people considered fire one of the essential elements, like air and water.

A beautiful thing to behold, yet fire’s destructive power remains ever-present in the back of our minds. Uncontrolled fire takes lives, scorches homes, and can lower the value of your vehicle to zero. Maybe this has happened to you. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2018

It wouldn’t be a supercar without some risk of getting burnt. Those performance limits are far beyond the capabilities of most owners, after all.

This time, however, the threat of conflagration is real.

According to Ford, certain copies of the GT run the risk of dribbling hydraulic fluid from the lines feeding its adjustable rear spoiler. Since the car’s centrally-mounted exhaust tips are located in close proximity, this problem could set the whole works ablaze.

(Read More…)

By on June 19, 2018

Imasge: Mary McCormack/Twitter

Never let a crisis go to waste, goes the saying. In this case, it’s an actress and her husband facing a car shortage and a rival automaker sensing an opportunity for a juicy dig.

Mary McCormack, who appeared on the endlessly referenced political drama The West Wing, tweeted a video of a Model S in flames Friday, claiming the blaze broke out “out of the blue” as her husband’s Tesla cruised through traffic in West Hollywood. She directed her tweet at Tesla.

General Motors has since capitalized on the unsolved blaze, offering McCormack and her husband, identified as director Michael Norris, a new Chevy Bolt. (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2018

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel, Image: Ford

As we told you yesterday, Ford announced it will temporarily halt production of the F-150 and Super Duty after a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America knocked out a key supplier. While the Blue Oval isn’t the only automaker affected by the supply shortage, as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz also report the likelihood of production interruptions, Ford has the most to lose.

Taking the company’s most profitable vehicle out of the mix for a few weeks is a big deal. During a bad month, Ford might sell around 50,000 F-Series trucks in the United States. But a good month can see around 90,000 deliveries, so an unplanned idle probably has the automaker tugging at its collar a little. Fortunately, Ford currently has a 84-day supply of F-series pickups. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel the pinch if the wait on parts takes longer than expected.

The factory shutdown affects F-150 production at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant, which Ford said will last until at least May 14th. Super Duty lines at Kentucky Truck and Ohio Assembly have also shut down. Ford’s Dearborn Plant is expected to go down temporarily in the near future.

So, how far have the ripples spread? (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2017

burned f430, Image: South Yorkshire Police

A driver in the United Kingdom obliterated a Ferrari after only a single hour of ownership. Not that it’s easy to tell from the photographs, but the vehicle in question used to be a Ferrari F430 Scuderia prior to its transformation into smoldering wreckage.

The South Yorkshire Police said fire and rescue services were on the scene when they arrived, “squirting water all over some kind of sporty motor” that had careened some fifty meters off the M1 highway before exploding into flames. Miraculously, the vehicle’s owner survived with only a few scrapes but his ego may not have made it. Taking some mild joy in the wealthy man’s plight, the department wrote on social media the officers on the scene “asked the driver what sort of car he ‘had’ to which he replied ‘It was a Ferrari.’ Detecting a sense of damaged pride he then said ‘I’ve only just got it, picked it up an hour ago.'” (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2017

maserati emblem

Maserati is recalling roughly 40,000 Ghibli, Levante, and Quattroporte models in the United States after uncovering two defects that could lead to fires. According to U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records, adjusting the front seats runs the risk of causing an electrical shortage and potential fire in vehicles from model years 2014 through 2017. Fuel-line leaks are also forcing Maserati to recall Quattroporte and Ghibli cars from 2014 and 2015. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2016

smart fire

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluations in response to complaints that Smart ForTwo engines are catching fire before quickly engulfing the car in flames. Eight complaints have found their way to NHTSA about fires in 2008-2009 Four Twos, with six of the incidents occurring while the cars were being driven.

According to the agency, the incidents began with the illumination of the vehicles’ check-engine light, followed by smoke and odd noises. In every occurrence, owners claim the fires quickly spread to the entire car. (Read More…)

By on November 3, 2016

Tesla fire

A severe head-on crash in Indianapolis last night claimed the lives of two people — but because it’s a Tesla, the story made national news.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the Model S impacted a tree, throwing debris 150 yards and starting a fire that consumed the vehicle. This isn’t a story about whether the vehicle or its electronic systems may have caused the crash — police made it clear that speed was a factor.

Rather, the aftermath of this crash shows what firefighters face when the lithium-ion battery pack in an electric car catches fire. (Read More…)

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