As of July 16, 2014, out of a population of 248,453 subject vehicles, NHTSA received 473 consumer complaints of inoperative head lamp. Many of these complaints indicated that the head lamp harness suffered damage from overheating. After reviewing the complaints, ODI found:
- 69% (328) alleged that a single head lamp was inoperative.
- 18% (86) alleged that both head lamps were inoperative but not at the same time.
- 9% (41) alleged that both head lamps were inoperative but the complaints did not indicate whether the failures had occurred at the same time.
- 4% (17) alleged that both head lamps were inoperative at the same time.
- One additional complaint cited wire harness damage to both sides but did not specify an outage
- No crashes or loss of vehicle control were reported.
- Any alleged thermal damages were limited to melting of the head lamp harness and the head lamp housing.
- A head lamp would intermittently fail to come on or flickers before becoming completely inoperative.
For the seventeen complaints that alleged simultaneous failure of both head lamps while attempting to turn them on or while driving, the head lamp failures likely had occurred one at a time. The subject vehicle's head lamps are connected in a parallel circuit and each circuit is fused. Therefore, failure of one head lamp or its harness should not affect the other head lamp operation.
Over the last 25 years, ODI has opened numerous defect investigations of the loss of headlamp illumination. Investigations that resulted in safety recalls involved simultaneous loss of illumination from both headlamps. NHTSA does not consider the loss of a single headlamp as presenting an unreasonable safety risk-such failures are readily detectable by the driver while allowing the vehicle to retain forward visibility and conspicuity from the remaining headlamp. There is typically enough time between the failure of the first headlamp and the second during which the vehicle operator can obtain the needed repairs.
Based on the information currently available, NHTSA does not believe that the headlamp condition as alleged by the petitioner indicates the likelihood of a safety-related defect that would warrant a formal investigation. Therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the agency's safety mission, the petition is denied. Further specifics can be found in the Federal Register Notice
ODI complaint ID numbers are referenced on the next page.