Driver complaints prompt government investigations

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Complaints from drivers of certain model Ford SUVs and Chrysler sedans prompted a pair of investigations this week from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The investigations were prompted by complaints about power steering problems and engine shut downs.

Local 2 Investigates found several complaints filed in regard to the power steering in Ford Explorers malfunctioning. Drivers complained the power steering would give out, making it difficult to turn. These complaints deal strictly with 2011 model Ford Explorers. Government officials report this investigation deals with 83,000 vehicles.

The other investigation was prompted by complaints regarding Chrysler 200 mid-size sedans with 3.6 liter, V-6 engines. Drivers complained that when stopped or slowing down, the engines would stall. This investigation deals solely with 2011 model Chryslers and involves 87,000 vehicles.

In a statement to Local 2, Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne wrote, "Chrysler Group's Pentastar V-6 is an award-winning engine featured in 12 models across three brands and has accumulated millions of miles of problem-free driving. Performance by any engine is subject to numerous factors, from fuel quality to software. The complaints in this case occurred infrequently and did so only in low-speed, low-risk situations, such as coming to a stop. However, Chrysler Group takes this action very seriously and is working to assist NHTSA with its investigation."

Ford spokesperson Hallie Robinson wrote, "The investigation was just opened this week and we are fully cooperating with the agency on it."

If you have a news tip or question for KPRC Local 2 Investigates, drop them an e-mail or call their tipline at (713) 223-TIPS (8477). Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.