Federal officials say they're investigating older models of the Chevrolet Cobalt compact car and HHR small wagon for potential fuel leaks after more than 200 owners filed complaints with safety officials. The probe encompasses more than 614,000 Cobalts from 2008-2010 and HHRs from 2008-2009, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The NHTSA said owners complained about gas puddles or drips from leaking fuel lines near the left rear wheel well, near the exhaust pipe and muffler. The leak is caused by corrosion of the metal fuel lines that are secured to the body of the car by plastic blocks.
According to complaints filed with the federal agency, owners said the affected models had strong odors of gas inside and outside of those cars. In some cases, owners had the fuel lines or fuel pumps replaced. Some owners have said the issues persisted despite attempted fixes.
In 2012, GM recalled nearly 50,000 models, including 2008-2009 Cobalts, for a faulty fuel pump that could crack, especially in warm weather states. The cars were also part of a massive 2014 recall for faulty ignition switches that could unexpectedly disable the car and its airbags while moving and increase the risk of a crash. The defective switches were responsible for 124 deaths.
Investigations initiated by the NHTSA arise from a consistent pattern of complaints from consumers. They may lead to recalls. The problem has not led to any crashes, fires, or injuries reported to the NHTSA.
GM told the AP that it was cooperating with investigators and that owners who can see or smell gas should immediately contact a Chevrolet dealership.