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Fire Risk in Some 2007 Toyotas, and ’06 and ’07 TrailBlazers?

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NHTSA logoFederal safety regulators are investigating reports of driver-side door fires in 2007 Toyota Camry Sedans and RAV4 sport-utility vehicles, and also in some 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer sport-utility vehicles. Reuters reports in the Chicago Tribune that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation covers more than 309,000 General Motors (GM) vehicles, a probe spurred by 12 consumer complaints and by field reports of the melting or burning of the TrailBlazers’ driver’s power window master switch. Ten of the complaints were of driver-side door fires, which sometimes occurred while the SUVs were being driven, Reuters writes. No injuries or accidents were reported, according to a GM spokesman.

Meanwhile, as many as 830,000 Toyota Camry sedans and RAV4 sport-utility vehicles might have problems with fires in the driver’s side doors, and federal safety regulators are looking into the matter, but have not recalled the cars. As Jerry Hirsch notes in the Los Angeles Times, the Camry is the bestselling passenger car in the U.S.

Tom Krisher of Associated Press writes in the Detroit Free Press:

GM believes the condition is restricted to the 2006 and 2007 model years. That is because of a parts change made for the 2006 model year that lasted through the end of the 2007 model year, says GM spokesman Alan Adler.

A NHTSA spokeswoman said the agency is in the process of finding out if GM and Toyota Motor Corp. got switches from the same parts maker, and if any other vehicles had them.

The NHTSA began its investigation of the Toyota cars after getting reports of six fires starting in the driver’s side door, according to another article by Tom Krisher. There are no reports of anyone getting injured. Most of those fires were minor and damaged only the cars’ doors. But in one case, a Camry owner reported flames were coming from the door right after starting the car on Nov. 19, 2011, and despite firefighters arriving, the car was destroyed in the fire. Krisher writes that several owners have said they were afraid to drive their vehicles because of the fire threat.

In another case, the owner of a RAV4 said that, last August, the switch on the car’s master power window caught on fire and burned a dime-sized hole. Its power window had been causing problems since 2009. Toyota said in a statement that it is cooperating with NHTSA in the investigation. To learn more, you can call Toyota at 800-331-4331. To learn more about the fires in TrailBlazers, you can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020.

And as Richard Read writes for The Car Connection:

However, given the specificity and seriousness of this particular investigation, we’d suggest that you also sign up for recall alerts from the NHTSA. (The NHTSA publishes recall alerts long before automakers begin notifying vehicle owners.) Just visit the Recall Notification registry on the NHTSA website, enter your model year and make — in this case, 2007 Toyota — and provide a valid email address. Granted, you may receive recall notices for other 2007 Toyota models, but with a little luck, there won’t be many to sift through.

Image by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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