Loss of Motive Power


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a letter dated July 13, 2022, petitioning the Agency to initiate a safety defect investigation into loss of motive power allegations attributed to oil drain pan assembly failures on certain Hyundai Motor America, Inc. and Kia America, Inc. vehicles spanning Model Years (MY) 2005-2021. The Petitioners cited examples of complaints indicating that the subject vehicles were experiencing rapid loss of engine oil due to oil drain plug back outs, resulting in loss of motive power and/or catastrophic engine damage. Additional complaints were provided which alleged that the oil drain pans lack sufficient structural integrity and are susceptible to cracking. The petition itself can be reviewed at NHTSA.gov under ODI number 11481745. On September 12, 2022, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened Defect Petition (DP22-003) to evaluate the Petitioners-?? request. The Petitioners have provided additional complaints within four supplemental letters dated January 31, 2023, March 21, 2023, May 23, 2023, and August 4, 2023. ODI-??s evaluation included the review and analysis of the complaints and supporting information submitted by the Petitioners, as well as additional complaints submitted directly to NHTSA which referenced either the oil drain plug or a crack in the oil pan. After reviewing the available data, ODI has not identified evidence that would support opening a defect investigation into the oil drain pan assemblies of the subject vehicles. Based on a review of the available information, a loss of motive power resulting from an oil drain plug back out has not occurred between the initial sale of a vehicle and the completion of its first oil change. If during an oil change service, a technician fails to remove the existing drain plug gasket before installing a new gasket, it is likely that a proper seal between the drain plug and the oil pan will not be made. An improper seal between the drain plug and oil pan could lead to the backing out on the drain plug, resulting in the sudden loss of oil while driving. Additionally, the provided examples of oil pan cracks were localized to the immediate vicinity of the oil drain plug and/or appeared to be the result of direct-contact with a tool during servicing. ?There is no information to support that a vehicle-based defect exists relating to the oil pan assembly, and instead the documented incidents are related to the failure to follow the proper maintenance procedures during oil change service. In October 2023, Hyundai published a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that provided detailed instructions for oil change service on its gasoline powered vehicles, specifically highlighting the need to remove and replace the existing drain plug gasket prior to reinstalling the drain plug. After a thorough review of the material submitted by the petitioner, the information already in NHTSA's possession, and the potential risks to motor vehicle safety implicated by the petitioners' allegations, NHTSA does not believe that a formal investigation is warranted. Therefore, the petition is denied. A Federal Register Notice (FRN) further detailing NHTSA-??s reasons for denial of the petition will be published. The reference numbers for the complaints to NHTSA cited by the petitioner can be found in the petition submission documents in the public file for DP22-003. To review those complaints and the additional complaints ODI added to its evaluation which are cited in the Closing Resume ODI Report Identification Number document, go to NHTSA.gov.
Documents (2)

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Date Opened
SEP 12, 2022
Date Closed
DEC 12, 2023
NHTSA Recall #
No recall issued
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