Fuel Tank Filler Tube Separated, Causing Fire


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
31,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Pontiac Aztek fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2002 Pontiac Aztek Owner Comments

problem #1

Nov 122004

(reported on)


  • 31,000 miles


I bought a brand new Pontiac Aztek in February, 2002. That's right... No end of model year incentives... I paid full retail on this with no rebates, etc.

Fast forward 31,000 miles... After a history of excellent maintainence on this vehicle (Full synthetic oil, and other services well within specified time periods) the Aztek caught fire on our way from North Carolina to Colorado for our Christmas vacation. The cause? Manufacturers defect. the fuel tank filler tube came apart from the tank and spilled fuel all over the hot exhaust where it ignited. Leaving my wife, seven year old child, and myself standing barefoot in the slushy grass in 28 degree weather on the side of the Interstate in boontown, IL watching in horror and disbelief.

Now, here's where things get a bit sticky...

I have owned, and maintained a fan club website for the Aztek since shortly after I bought mine. (www.aztekfanclub.com) This is NOT an isolated incident. The forums show that at least 2 other members/owners have had the same defect appear, although mine is the only one that resulted with a fire (that I am aware of).

By the way, you can see pictures of the fire, in progress here: http://www.aztekfanclub.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=9

GM basically told me to take a walk, that my insurance company would take care of it... Let me tell you how THAT worked out...

My insurance company paid the blue book value of the vehicle to GMAC, leaving me a balance of more than $2,500.00 to take care of. then my insurance company dropped my policy. (They gave me an option to renew at almost double my rate, even though they were to get their money back from General Motors and "ESIS" (GM's insurance company.) I did have "Gap Insurance" which covered the rest of the loan amount. NEVER EVER buy a new car without this!!!

So then...

If the motor had blown under the factory warranty, GM would have had to replace it. Had the doors fallen off, they would have had to either put them back on, or replace them. Should they not then have to replace the entire vehicle if it is broken???

Yes, it is true that through insurance coverage, I was able to get the loan paid off... but what about the almost $10,000 in monthly payments I had made? What about the contents and personal items that were destroyed in the fire? After all, it was Christmas time. We all had our best clothes packed. We were transporting gifts for the family from all of the relatives who wanted to send something across the country. The amount in personal losses totalled into the THOUSANDS!

I had many attorneys tell me that had someone been injured or killed, then GM would be responsible for that. How can they be responsible for a life, but not for the monetary losses? (not to mention the 5 days I had to wait to find a rental that would allow me to go one way back home with, or the subsequent visits to the neurologist and the councelor for the seven-year-old who now dreams that she is burning to death in a fire almost every night... or my wife who had to sleep with the lights on for 6 months...)

I purchased this vehicle brand new SPECIFICALLY for the peace of mind that it was covered under warranty, and in good faith that with the correct maintainence, it would last long enough for the seven year old to drive at least once.

All of that went "down in flames" (pun intended) on the side of I-64 on December 19, 2003. It didn't take long for us to find out that it was "our problem" to deal with. Thanks, GM. Great customer service!

- , Apex, NC, USA

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