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NHTSA takes closer look at electrical issues in 550,000 Pontiacs

Hybrid VehiclesScienceFuel-efficient VehiclesFinancially Distressed CompaniesPontiacNational Highway Traffic Safety AdministrationToyota

Federal safety regulators have stepped up their probe of about 550,000 Pontiac G6 sedans to a full engineering analysis to try to figure out why the brake lights don’t operate properly on some of the vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said GM has had a “significant” number of warranty claims for the problem and more than 1,100 reports concerning the issue. Additionally, the safety agency has received another 314 reports, including one that said the problem resulted in a crash.

Brake lights that aren't operating properly won’t warn a driver in a following vehicle that a car is slowing, which could lead to a crash, the NHTSA said. 

The complaints allege that the brake lights illuminate when the brake pedal is not depressed, and turn off once the brake pedal is applied. In addition the driver may have difficulty shifting out of park, or the cruise control may not engage properly.

It affects 2005 through 2008 G6s.GM no longer sells Pontiacs.It discontinued the brand during its bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.

The problem may be caused by corrosion in electrical wiring.GM has known about the problem since at least 2008, when it issued a bulletin to its dealers telling them to apply silicone grease to protect the wiring, but not to replace the entire electronic module.

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