Earlier this year, we told you that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had launched an investigation of the 2012 Hyundai Elantra. According to the Detroit Free Press, that probe has now been expanded to include 2011 and 2013 models, too.
NHTSA's initial investigation began when an Elantra driver reported severe ear lacerations after the vehicle's side-curtain air bags deployed. Photos posted to the NHTSA website showed "a metal component protruding from the left edge of the headliner above the driver's seat", which presumably caused the injuries.
Though this was the one and only such complaint NHTSA received about the Elantra, the agency launched a formal investigation on May 10.
NHTSA hasn't released any of the findings from that probe, but the situation doesn't look particularly good for Hyundai. After studying the vehicle mentioned in the initial complaint, as well as other 2012 Elantras, NHTSA has upgraded its investigation to an "engineering analysis" -- not a recall, but a step in that direction.
More troubling: NHTSA has now added 2011 and 2013 Elantra models to the probe.
There is a small bit of good new for Elantra owners, though. NHTSA says that the part that caused the problem in the initial complaint is found only on Elantra models manufactured in South Korea. So, those built at Hyundai's Mongtomery, Alabama plant could be immune.
We'll keep you posted as NHTSA's investigation progresses, and of course, we'll let you know if it escalates to a full recall.