Photo Courtesy of CorvetteImages.com
And then there was…no light?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this week that it is expanding its probe into complaints that low-beam headlights have suddenly quit working on some C6 Corvettes.
The investigation started in May after NHTSA received 30 reports that both low-beam headlights stopped operating at night without warning.
Since then, NHTSA has reviewed 95 complaints and reports from owners, mainly concerning 2005-07 Corvettes though there have been four cases reported in 2008 models. Now, the agency will be doing what it calls an “engineering analysis” that could lead to a recall if the investigation proves it to be warranted.
GM is cooperating with the investigation and says the problem is caused by a wire in the electrical center similar to a fuse box that can break because its location in a hot area near the engine makes it susceptible to stress.
However, no technical service bulletins have been issued, and GM told NHTSA in June that warranty claims related to the problem have been “extremely low.” The issue would be covered by warranty for the first 36,000 miles or three years.
GM says that the high beams and fog lights continue to operate, allowing a driver to still use the car until it is fixed. The automaker told NHTSA that the “rate of inoperative headlights does not present an unreasonable risk to vehicle safety” and that it knows of no crashes or injuries caused by the problem.
But that doesn’t make the issue any less real to the few Corvette owners who have suddenly been affected by it.
That includes one Arizona man who reported his low-beams went off in 2011, “placing me in the dark and almost caused a wreck. I drove the rest of the way with my high beams.”
Another driver told NHTSA that when his lights went out, he ran over a discarded tire as he tried to pull the road. Others said the problem is intermittent, which is even more annoying, and some have said that their low-beams came back on later, usually after the car had been parked.
The investigation will include a total of 103,374 2005-07 models.