WASHINGTON -- U.S. safety regulators have opened preliminary investigations on several models, including the 2005 Honda Pilot and 2006-08 Toyota RAV4s, for possible defects.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today it was investigating consumer complaints of stability control failure, autonomous braking, and malfunctioning steering on the 2005 Honda Pilot. The probe covers an estimated 142,000 vehicles.
The agency has so far received 35 complaints of problems with the vehicle, including one in which an owner said the car "screeched to an unexpected full stop in the middle of an intersection halfway thru a turn."
The first incident was reported in 2006; another 10 have been reported within the past 12 months.
"We are aware of the investigation and we're cooperating with NHTSA," Honda spokesman Ed Miller wrote in an e-mail. "We have begun our own analysis as well."
NHTSA also is investigating alleged defects on 2006-08 Toyota RAV4s. The agency has received seven complaints of rusting tie rods in the rear. Four complaints allege that the part failed at speeds of 35 mph or more, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
This investigation covers an estimated 460,000 RAV4s.
Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said the automaker has not yet received a report from NHTSA. "We will fully cooperate with its investigation," he added.
Additionally, regulators are investigating complaints of faulty low-beam headlights on 2007-09 Saturn Outlooks and GMC Acadias. NHTSA has received 415 consumer complaints from April 2008 to May 2012 of the headlamps failing. The investigation covers 248,253 vehicles.
No deaths or injuries were reported in any of these cases.
Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, said the auto company started a customer satisfaction program in December 2011 to provide free replacement parts and reimburse for repairs as a way to address complaints of overheating bulb connectors in the headlamp.
More than 60 percent of the 343,000 vehicles covered in this program have been repaired. Customers, who were notified by letter, have until the end of 2013 to take advantage of it free of charge.