NHTSA Investigates 865,000 GM SUVs

Posted: May 02, 2011 10:30 a.m.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last week into 895,000 SUVs built by General Motors from 2005 to 2007. The agency has received nearly 700 complaints of inaccurate fuel gauge readings that can cause the SUV to run out of gas, according to the New York Times. The investigation covers 2005, 2006, and 2007 model year Chevrolet Trailblazers, GMC Envoys, Buick Rainiers and Saab 9-7Xs. None of these SUVs is currently in production, since GM discontinued the platform in 2009. The Saab 9-7X is included in the recall because the automaker was owned by GM until 2010, when it was sold to Spyker.

58 owners reported that their cars stalled due to an inaccurate readout, and so far one accident has been attributed to the defect. In that case, the driver ran out of gas on a highway off-ramp and was rear ended, according to Left Lane News. Keep in mind, though, that about 610 people reported that their gas gauges were broken but did not experience their SUV running out of gas.

So far, NHTSA hasn’t asked for GM to recall any of these affordable midsize SUVs. If the investigation turns up information that the problems were the manufacturer’s fault, the automaker will issue a recall. Most of the time, they’ll mail owners a letter informing them of the problem. If a recall is issued and you’re not sure whether your Trailblazer, Envoy, Rainier or 9-7X is included, you can always call NHTSA’s hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit NHTSA’s website.

Until NHTSA decides whether to recall the models, you should set your trip odometer every time you fill up at the pump, and keep an eye on both the gas gauge and the odometer. A 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer with a V6 engine and two-wheel drive can drive about 317 miles on a full tank of gas, according to the EPA. If your trip odometer says you’re getting close to the 300-mile mark but your gas gauge says you still have half a tank left, you’ll know to keep an eye out for a potential recall.

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