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Throttle issues with Ford Escapes

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DETROIT -- U.S. safety regulators are looking into throttle problems with older Ford Escapes at the request of a consumer group.

The non-profit North Carolina Consumers Council has asked federal regulators to investigate two complaints from drivers the small SUVs stalled or surged forward.

The government will look at 1.6 million Escapes from the 2005 to 2012 model years. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decides to launch a formal investigation, it could lead to a recall of some of the SUVs.

The council said in its petition Ford has sent a number of advisories to dealers about stalling and surging. The so-called technical service bulletins are sent out to help mechanics spot problems and fix them. Such advisories are not recalls.

Veloster sunroof could shatter

DETROIT -- U.S. drivers of the Hyundai Veloster could be in for a surprise while cruising down the highway.

The panoramic sunroof on the funky hatchbacks can shatter without warning, showering the driver with glass.

U.S. safety regulators are investigating the problem, although they have not recalled the cars. The probe affects about 18,000 vehicles from the 2012 model year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday.

So far, 11 drivers have complained to NHTSA about the panoramic roofs shattering. Seven said the cars were moving.

Shattering glass could distract the driver and injure people in the car, the agency said. A few people complained of minor scratches from the glass, but there were no reports of crashes, according to NHTSA.

NHTSA investigators will figure out whether the problem is bad enough to require a recall.

In one complaint, a driver was making a left turn on Aug. 3 when there was a loud bang and the sunroof shattered.

"I had shards of glass in the top of my head, back down the inside of my shirt, and the glass still hanging was flying off," the driver reported.

Hondas might roll away

DETROIT -- U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints Honda Odyssey minivans and Pilot SUVs can roll away after drivers remove the ignition key.

The probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration affects more than 577,000 vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years that have automatic transmissions.

The mechanism that locks the key in the ignition can fail. When that happens, drivers of the vans and SUVs are able to remove keys without shifting into park. Some have left the vehicles, and the vans or SUVs have rolled off unexpectedly.

Owners have filed 43 complaints with NHTSA, including 16 that resulted in crashes. Two people reported injuries.

In the most serious case, a driver reported a broken leg after being run over by his 2003 Odyssey.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 6, 2012 B17

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