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NHTSA investigates Smart Fortwo over engine fires

The feds have received eight different complaints about engine fires. And you know what they say about when there's smoke...


Fiat Chrysler isn't the only automaker to end up under a new safety investigation this week. That dubious honor also goes to Smart, thanks to some fires that have broken out in its Fortwo city car.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the 2008-2009 Smart Fortwo after it received eight different complaints of engine fires. Six of those complaints report smoke, a check engine light and a subsequent fire in the engine compartment while driving. The other two were discovered while stationary.

Smart Fortwo: A favorite of art thieves.


Fire eventually engulfed all eight vehicles. Thankfully, no injuries were linked to these fires.

These aren't old complaints, despite the cars being somewhat old. Five of these were reported in 2015, and the remainder have all been reported since October 2016. Vehicle mileage ranges from 29,000 to 86,000 miles, with the average being about 54,000.

An investigation is a first step that could, but is not guaranteed to lead to a recall. NHTSA will evaluate the cause, scope and frequency of the problem, and if necessary, it can compel the automaker to issue a recall. The automaker can also issue a voluntary recall on its own, but it appears that isn't currently in the cards.

Multiple requests for comment were not immediately returned. Many of those contacted were already out of office for the holidays.