[VIDEO] The NHTSA Has Complaints of the 2020 Corvette’s Frunk Opening While Driving

22844

[VIDEO] The NHTSA Has Complaints of the 2020 Corvette's Frunk Opening While Driving


The mid-engine 2020 Corvette was a clean sheet redesign and Chevy’s designers and engineers are doing many firsts on the car. It’s obviously the first time the long-running sportscar has had a “frunk”, or front trunk for storage as the engine is now behind the driver.

Comparing how the frunk opens to previous generations’ front hoods, all previous Corvette models featured the hood with hinges at the front of the car, while the C8’s frunk has its hinges close to the windshield to allow easier access to the storage area. With the hinges on the front of the hood on previous models, the opportunity for the hood to fly open while driving is statistically null. Yet, already we are hearing multiple reports on the forums of the C8 frunk’s hood releasing without warning while driving, with the hood flying up and blocking the vision of drivers.

Check out this video on YouTube and you can see it happen while the car is in motion:


Currently, two complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) detailing the owner’s incidents.

The first report is dated April 11th and the owner describes the incident that took place:

WHILE DRIVING THE 2020 CORVETTE AT A LOW SPEED, THE FRONT HOOD FLEW OPEN AND IMPAIRED MY VISIBILITY. THIS IS CHEVROLET’S FIRST ATTEMPT AT A MID-ENGINE CAR. SO THE FRONT HOOD IS ACTUALLY A TRUCK [sic]. THEY FAILED TO ENGINEER THE APPROPRIATE SAFETY LATCH FEATURES INTO THE HOOD THAT WOULD PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING. HOODS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE A SECONDARY LATCH THAT MUST BE PHYSICALLY OPERATED TO OPEN COMPLETELY.

The second incident happened on April 30th and it’s a similar story to the one above:

THE 2020 CHEVROLET CORVETTE IS TRULY A UNIQUE LOOKING AUTOMOBILE AND IT ATTRACTS ATTENTION EVERYWHERE YOU GO. ALMOST EVERYBODY WANTS TO LOOK AT IT. ON 04/30/2020, I WAS AT A LOCAL SHOPPING CENTER AND SEVERAL PEOPLE WERE ADMIRING THE CAR AND LOOKING AT IT. THE VEHICLE WAS SITTING STATIONARY IN A PARKING SPACE, THE ENGINE WAS RUNNING AND THE VEHICLE WAS IN PARK. WHEN THE PEOPLE HAD FINISHED ADMIRING THE CAR, I GOT INTO IT AND PROCEEDED TO THE EXIT. FROM THE EXIT, I TURNED ONTO THE MAIN ROAD (A US DESIGNATED HWY) AND ACCELERATED. WHEN I REACHED A SPEED OF APPROXIMATELY 25 TO 30 MPH, THE FRONT HOOD (ALSO CALLED A FRUNK), FLEW UP AND COMPLETELY BLOCKED MY VISION OF THE ROADWAY. I WAS ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY BRAKE AND PULL TO THE SHOULDER OF THE HIGHWAY WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT.

THE “FRUNK” HOOD COMPLETELY BLOCKED MY VISION OF THE ROADWAY AND DAMAGE WAS DONE TO THE HINGES, HOOD AND FENDER ON THE DRIVER’S SIDE.

[VIDEO] The NHTSA Has Complaints on the C8 Corvette's Frunk Opening While Driving


And that’s just the two NHTSA reports. A member of the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com also details his experience with the frunk suddenly opening in early June:

Well now it’s happened to me. Left home and going quite slowly – 50 klicks max (30 MPH) and the hood flew up. Quickly pulled over and closed it. On getting back home I see all kinds of misalignment with some interference between the edge of the hood and fender that’s left a ding in the edge of the hood. I’ve shimmed and adjusted as best I could to improve things, but still not great. Don’t know how it happened to be open, I never leave it open. Not conscious of any warning, although I could have missed the DIC warning I suppose. This thing needs a loud audible warning. Present system isn’t good enough. I now understand there should have been an audible warning, but it’s not functioning on my car.

[VIDEO] The NHTSA Has Complaints on the 2020 Corvette's Frunk Opening While Driving


The 2020 Corvette has three separate positions for the frunk hood. It’s either closed all the way, slightly opened but held with a latch point that allows the use of a trickle-charger on the battery without pinching the cables, and the third is the frunk completely unlatched. When you open the frunk with the release button, you can hear it open past that second latch point, and all you have to do is simply raise it to open.

When the frunk is unlatched in either position, there’s a large red warning displayed on the DIC on start-up, and an audible warning to alert the driver when car is placed in Drive. So we think it would be difficult for the driver not to know the frunk was unlatched before driving.

CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn has read these reports as well and then went out to his garage to test the warning systems on his 2020 Corvette regarding the open frunk.


From the video, we see that Jeremy’s 2020 Corvette alerts him correctly when the frunk is opened, and it will not open when in Drive, Manual Mode, or Neutral. Jeremy even tests it at 44 mph and the frunk will not open if you push the button. Only with the car in Park will the frunk open when pressing the keyfob.

The third possibility is that something in the frunk shifted and hit the inside button to open. If this happens, it’s supposed to catch at the latch point when driving over 3 mph and the audio/visual alarms are supposed to show. However, we don’t think this is the case for all these incidents. Below is a graphic detailing the frunk emergency open operation:

2020 Corvette Frunk Operating Info


So far, we appear to be at the beginning of this situation, and from what we’ve gleaned from the forum posts, this has the potential to be a real problem with serious consequences. Another member of the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com detailed his issue that when the frunk hood flew up at 30 mph, it bent the hinges as it covered the windshield while also doing so damage to the hood itself. The dealer refused to fix it as a warranty claim after calling GM and “they wouldn’t pay as it was my fault,” according to the owner.

Like this owner, those that have had this happen have had no warning or don’t recall seeing a warning that the frunk was opened. Now that we’ve seen Jeremy’s test, we have to think there’s something happening while driving that causes the latch to open and not driver error of accidentally hitting the fob button (twice). Hopefully, we’ll hear something soon from GM on this issue. Until then, be aware and be prepared!


Source:
NHTSA.gov and MidEngineCorvetteForum.com

Related:
NHTSA Upgrades Investigation into 2005-2007 Corvette Headlights
NHTSA investigating 2004 Corvettes for Leaky Fuel Tanks
[RECALL] 2017 Corvette Among Several GM Models Being Recalled for Potential Power Steering Issue

 



25 COMMENTS

  1. Some people are just better off using Uber or Lyft…the same ones who have been known to eat Tide Pods. 🙂

  2. I would think the frunk opens because the last person in the frunk didn’t properly latch the frunk and ignored the dash light that informs them of the fact as they drive away in a burst of speed. To latch the frunk lower the lid then press down twice and listen For two distinct latch clicks and note the lid is flush with the inside edge of the fenders. It does not have a self closing device. Do not slam the lid to close the frunk it won’t latch and will fly up! The tendency to open the frunk to Show everyone you meet the Corvette moved the engine to middle increases the likelihood you leave without latching the frunk. So stop it and don’t suggest there is something wrong with the Frunk Latch when they probably need a recall on the drives that won’t leave them closed in the first place!

  3. I am sorry for the owners that this is happening, but I am once again reminded why I have sworn off Corvettes forever, due to this statement above

    “they wouldn’t pay as it was my fault,” (flying frunk club owner)

    Joining the “I love GM lawyers club members”:

    “they wouldn’t pay because the bent wheels were the drivers fault”
    “they wouldn’t pay because the wonky transmission shudder was the drivers fault”
    “they wouldn’t fix because oveheating only occurs on a racetrack and we don’t believe a Corvette should be on a racetrack.”
    and pre-C7:
    “they wouldn’t pay because the motor eating valves is the drivers fault on the c6 Z06.”

    The C8, with a price twice the median price of a 2020 new car, is not a cheap car. But GM continues to treat all Corvette owner’s like bums.

    Now who is the real bum here?

  4. WOW…..now I’m thinking to cancel my 2021 order with furman…..engine seizes……front trunk opening without warning….what’s next?

  5. I am sorry for the owners that this is happening, but I am once again reminded why I have sworn off new Corvettes forever, due to this statement above:

    “they wouldn’t pay as it was my fault,” (flying frunk club owner)

    Joining the “I love GM lawyers” club members:

    “they wouldn’t pay because the bent/cracked wheels were the drivers fault”
    “they wouldn’t pay because the wonky transmission shudder was the drivers fault”
    “they wouldn’t fix because overheating only occurs on a racetrack and GM doesn’t believe a Corvette should be on a racetrack; just look at what happened to GM president Mark Reuss at the Detroit GP!”

    and pre-C7:
    “they wouldn’t pay because the motor eating valves is the drivers fault on the c6 Z06.”

    The C8, with a price twice the median price of a 2020 new car, is not a cheap car. But GM continues to treat all Corvette owner’s like bums looking for handouts in the form of free repairs on their cars. Corvette owners just want a car that runs, and if, in the land of the cheapest bidder supplier, a part or mechanism fails while under warranty, to have it fixed under warranty without having to keep a litigious consumer product liability attorney on retainer to force the repair.

    Now who is the real bum here?

  6. The fact that GM won’t pay for the repairs is inexcusable. This is clearly an engineering issue. There should be no possible way for the trunk to open when the car isn’t in park, and it shouldn’t leave park unless the trunk is completely latched. That it can and does open in these situations is GMs fault, and they are responsible for any damage caused, to the car or otherwise.

  7. I have owned my C8 for 27 hours. Earlier today when washing it, I noticed the frunk rattled when closed. It doesn’t seem to latch tight, in other words it moves around when I push down on it it when properly closed. It also rattles when I thump it lightly with my fist. I was going to have it looked at during my first oil change at 500 miles but I don’t think I’ll wait given all this. I’m worried that this is a scary problem that Potentially could kill or injure me or / and my wife. You can’t dismiss our safe being.

  8. Gee…mine seems to work fine….just like every Corvette I have ever owned. But, then, I know how to follow instructions and try to never senselessly abuse my vehicles. Maybe that makes a difference.

  9. DrZ C-8 #422. Last NCM pre co-v museum delivery. March 17,20, my 30+ vette. Look at the dash dumb-a, this car is PERFECT! We have logged on 2200 miles so far with no problems whatsoever, except the few times we’ve topped it off, it takes 20 minutes at the gas station to answer questions to very respectful onlookers, dreamers and historians (usually self proclaimed) folks who bought a ‘58 for $800 bucks. All in all, this car is the most fun you can have with your clothes on…. sour grapes to the nay-sayers who didn’t belly up and order one, check all the boxes and go for it June of 2019!!! Snoozer loozerz! BTW, cmon- 495hp,470ft/lbs torque, a PERFECT tremendous tremec 8 so dct!!!! After 5 Ferraris, countless Porsche’s a pantera, my “ other car is a ‘93 NSX….. My matrix grey 3LT w morello red is a showstopper and I can’t wait to rack up the miles driving it like I stole it! I guess Jeremy Welborn is a great guy but he seems too good to respond to the great story on #422… oh well…

  10. This is just another example of why you shouldn’t buy the first year model of an all new or radically redesigned American made car of any brand. I once made the mistake of buying a new 84 Corvette. It was by far the most troublesome Corvette I’ve owned and I’ve owned seven other Corvettes. I kept the 84 for only sixteen months before I traded it in on an improved 85 Corvette. And yes I believe in only buying American cars but wait for them to get the bugs worked out of them.

  11. All of the evidence to the contrary and all the scientific efforts to get normally operating C8, have no bearing at all upon whether or not the frunk opened without warning on the affected motorists. In the test trials, I did not see the person attempt to use the electronic opening device on the door. But even that is not relevant. Countless tests on 90% of the cars or more increase the chance that driver error was involved. However, these tests do NOT confirm whether or not something went wrong in some part of the release mechanism. I note that in the cases cited that there is a possibility that the frunk was left inadvertently open in each case. However, with the material brought to bear in each of the three cases (nominal) there is no proof whatsoever that the hood either was nor wasn’t closed properly. Given that the hood can open from the mechanical loop; can open with 2 clicks of the key; and can open from the driver’s compartment and can open from within the frunk, there are a lot of switches and wiring involved. What are other possibilities? All of the following are unlikely, but could have occured: 1) An intentional outside signal was deployed; 2) Unintentional outside wave signal occurred, triggering the trunk opening; 3) Electronic failure of some sort within the electronics/switching/signaling system of the car triggered the opening of the frunk. A partial open was not detected by the driver information center (DIC), or warning light system, resulting in driver being unaware he was driving away with frunk unlatched, or latched once. 4) Defective latch or receiver. In none of the cases was it reported exactly what the driver was doing the few seconds before the occurrence. Was there an attempt at any electronic input where an error might have occurred, or was the driver solely driving with no other input.

    I will reiterate that it is important to check the frunk more than the trunk. The immediate blocked vision creates the extreme danger.

    Apparently, thousand of Corvette owners have had thousands of repetitions without the frunk flying open. I do know that on one occasion in a Mustang I own, after charging the battery on it for a couple of days, I pulled the charging equipment off the battery and somehow forgot to close the trunk of the car and enough lift occured after driving about 21 miles per hour that my front trunk lid flipped open. I had to repair the roof of the car and have some alignment issues corrected and it cost me a bunch of money. It was my fault. The peculiar thing is, it took me a while before I realized my own mistake. I was so surprised by the happening, that I forgot that I had forgotten to latch and close the trunk.

    I clearly have left the frunk open once or twice and the error message alerted me. Perhaps, just like a brake interlock, perhaps the mid-engine corvette shouldn’t be allowed to start, if the frunk is left open. The only things that I can see that would cause the accident that would not be recorded on the event data recorder, would be a happenstance signal that instructs the frunk to open. If this occurred, it would be a manufacturing/engineering error that allows intentional or unintentional waves to instruct the frunk to open. Hacking of electronics in vehicles has been mentioned as a concern in modern vehicles.

    The safest method to know for sure is to consciously look and even physically check the frunk every time before entering the car. Any time closing, of course, both listen to and feel both positive clicks.

    The park and drive feature, where the car senses the key and unlocks within a 3 feet or 3 yard radius of the lock could inadvertently open the frunk if the electronics of either the key or the car itself were somehow compromised as a result of the build or materials of either the key or the vehicle. It’s possible, as unlikely as it seems reasonable. AF

  12. As far as GM taking responsibility or refusing to take care of its customers, my personal experience with both Porsche and Mercedes Benz, in situations where I know that it was a personnel error during a service that caused one problem I had; and an engineering error that was well known that caused another problem I had. Both companies refused to accept responsibility. One was inconvenient and just meant that I had to pay for a heated seat repair when a mechanic or employee caused the problem during a service. The other was more serious and I sustained a number of painful injuries as did my wife in an accident where a sudden acceleration was caused by a design flaw in a cruise control that resulted in the loss of control of the car and a subsequent 4 car accident. Had traffic been very light, my wife and I would have been killed. The heavy traffic allowed the high impact collision to be mitigated as the out of control Mercedes did not have time to get any faster than35-45 mph before the collision brought the car to a stop. The point is, that in both cases, I believe the car company deserved some or all of the responsibility. I was told to take a hike. Tesla is now well known for denying responsibility when one of its self driving or self-stopping systems fail and kills someone and suits are pending against them. This frunk situation is very unfortunate. A lot of people would not like a frunk interlock as it takes away freedoms. Well so did the brake interlock now in effect on all USA sold cars take away a freedom. Ultimately there is no real inconvenience to the brake interlock and there would be no real inconvenience to a frunk interlock (must be closed in order for the car to start. AF

  13. This is what happens when the front Corvette hood opens the “wrong” direction for the first time ever.
    Why is there no manual secondary safety latch like all other cars have? I thought it was mandatory.

  14. Chevy Engineers are going to put a small glass window in the frunk so when it pops open you can see where you’re going and come to a stop.

  15. It’s only a problem if it happens to you, just like the wheel problem on z06 and grand sport C7s

  16. Curious that the 2021’s won’t let you put the car in drive without putting your seatbelt on,but you can drive up to 82 mph with the frunk unlatched

  17. For several generations Corvette had a FRONT hinged hood. C-8 should have continued that tradition with a front hinged FRUNK. Problem should never have come up. (No pun intended)

  18. Has anyone had a broken windshield on a C8?

    A minor pebble—that I did not hear hit my windshield—broke the windshield and sent a crash halfway across my windshield.

    Anyone else had a windshield issue?

  19. A friend told me today that his hood flew open as he drove away from his house recently.  How did it happen?  He simply forgot to close the hood, got busy, then got in the car and took off.  He didn’t even notice the warning on the instrument cluster until the hood came all the way up.  The same could happen even when someone truly thinks they had closed the hood.  Could any of the reported incidences happen in this manner?  It’s definitely a possibility.  

  20. This is what happens when the front Corvette hood opens the “wrong” direction for the first time ever.
    Why is there no manual secondary safety latch like all other cars have? I thought it was mandatory.

  21. I am reading this article because this happened to me yesterday at a speed under 30 miles per hour, without any warning signals until the front truck lid was straight up in front of my face with only 3 miles on the car odometer. I was on the way to the customers house after fueling the vehicle for delivery. I was convinced one of the lot kids didn’t shut it all the way, but pics taken minutes before I drove it to get fuel for the customer show the lid shut flush. It did not pop open on me on the way to the gas station, but pulling out after fueling. I had both key fobs in the cupholder as well, so it wasn’t accidentally “double clicked” to open. The only item in the front truck was the window sticker. I had to remove the hood 1 mile from the dealership to drive it back and then got hinges overnight from Cincy to get the vehicle delivered this morning. The customer knows about it and when I drove the car to his house this morning I didn’t want to drive over 20 mph and I didn’t have to as the customer lives in a subdivision behind the dealership. There was not a warning for open hood until it was fully up in front of my face and I was able to see under it until parked safely off the roadway. 32 years of selling Chevy’s at my store so I am not entirely an idiot…lol

Comments are closed.