Chevrolet Corvette probed by U.S. regulators for headlamp issue

DETROIT Fri May 10, 2013 2:21pm EDT

DETROIT May 10 (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators said on Friday they have opened an investigation into possible problems with the headlights on General Motors Co's model year 2005 to 2007 Chevrolet Corvette sports cars.

An estimated 103,374 Corvettes in the United States are subject to the investigation. The preliminary evaluation is short of a recall but may lead to one.

Corvettes from model years 2005 to 2007 have been involved in several recalls in the past.

Thirty U.S. consumers have complained to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about losing both low beam headlights without warning while driving.

No injuries or accidents have been reported, NHTSA said.

NHTSA said high beam and fog headlights on the Corvettes remained in working order in cases where the low beams were not.

NHTSA opens a preliminary evaluation once consumer complaints or manufacturer service bulletins suggest there may be a safety defect. When the preliminary evaluation is completed, NHTSA either begins an engineering analysis or closes the investigation.

Based on the result of the engineering analysis, a recall can occur or the issue is dropped.

The current probe follows recalls such as one in 2009 for model year 2005 to 2007 Corvettes with removable roofs because adhesive holding the roofs could be defective and roofs could fly off during travel. This was after a 2006 recall failed to fix the problem.

In 2010, model year 2005 and 2006 Corvettes were recalled for an issue with the steering column in that in some cases led the cars to be pulled to the left or the right.

Corvette model year 2005 and 2006 Corvettes were involved in a wider GM recall for the chance that a power steering hose may leak causing the loss of power steering and difficulty braking.

And in 2004, some model year 2005 Corvettes had hydraulic brake lines to rear wheels that were placed too close to exhaust pipes, which could cause the brake fluid to boil, rendering the car without rear brakes.

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