WASHINGTON (Nov. 28, 2000)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has quietly dropped investigations of whether two popular Ford and GM sports vehicles have an increased tendency to lose their spare tires in operation.
NHTSA found no defect trend in the case of 1,243,291 Ford Explorers, model years 1991-94, whose spare tire cable winches allegedly failed while the vehicles were in motion. The agency received 18 complaints from Explorer owners on this issue.
The agency also found no problems with 2.28 million Chevrolet S10 pickup trucks, model years 1991-96, which were the subject of 171 complaints alleging failure of the wire cables holding the spare tires to the trucks.
In both cases, motorists complained not only of spare tire loss, but of damage to the vehicles and occasional accidents and injuries caused by the tires bouncing into the vehicles after falling.
The closure of both investigations was announced Oct. 20 and noted in the October recalls list NHTSA issued Nov. 27.