Way back in July 2020, GM Authority reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into General Motors and the Chevy Cobalt and Chevy HHR after receiving a slew of concerns related to the two vehicle’s fuel lines. Now, after over three years of inquiry, the NHTSA has finally closed the investigation.
According to a report from Car Complaints, more than 200 complaints related to rusted fuel lines in 2008 to 2010 Cobalt and 2008-2009 HHR units lead the NHTSA to begin an investigation to determine the cause. According to General Motors, the metal fuel lines are covered in a protective coating that prevents corrosion, as well as wrapped in heat shielding. However, it was found that there was a crevice between the heat shield and coating through which water and salt may enter.
“The metal fuel lines are corroding and leaking fuel in the area between the front and rear wheels on the driver’s side of the vehicle before the muffler,” an NHTSA spokesperson stated in a prepared statement. “Most consumers allege a fuel odor and/or an observable fuel leak that alerts them to the condition.”
The NHTSA reports finding a high correlation (80 percent in fact) between complaints and vehicles in operation across the salt belt, an area where vehicles are particularly susceptible to corrosion. As a result, the administration closed the investigation due to low manufacturer complaint/warranty rates for fuel line replacements in these areas, and noted that the potential safety consequences are very low.
It’s also worth noting that General Motors claimed that there were no crashes or injury reports related to the rusted fuel lines, despite at least two reported fires.