U.S. agency opens safety probes into Honda, Jeep, Ram vehicles

FILE PHOTO: Paris Auto Show

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is opening new safety probes into 1.72 million Honda vehicles, 230,000 Jeeps and 390,077 Ram trucks.

The auto safety regulator said it will begin preliminary evaluations into issues involving loss of power and braking, a first step before it could seek to compel recalls.

The largest probe covers reports alleging a loss of power for more than 1.7 million U.S. 2018-2022 model year Honda CR-V and HR-V vehicles. Those reports said some drivers lost power at highway speeds without warning and some reported differential seal leaks resulting in rear differential lock-up as the cause. Some reports allege the rear lock-up caused the driveshaft to fracture while the vehicle was in motion resulting in the vehicle being towed.

Honda said it “will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process, and we will continue our own internal review of the available information.”

NHTSA is also investigating 390,000 2017-2018 model year Ram 2500-3500 pickup trucks after received 134 reports alleging an intermittent or permanent loss of braking performance. Some reports said replacing the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) module and Hydraulic Control Unit (HCU) appeared to correct the issue.

The agency is also looking at nearly 230,000 2019-2020 model year Jeep Compass SUVs after receiving 15 complaints alleging a loss of power while driving that was accompanied by a high coolant temperature message appearing on the vehicle dashboard.

A U.S. spokesman for Stellantis NV, the parent company of Jeep and Ram, said it was fully cooperating in the investigations.

There are no crashes or injuries reported in relation to any of vehicles in the three new investigations to date. Before NHTSA could demand a recall it must decide at a later date whether to upgrade each probe to an engineering analysis.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Berkrot)