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There are a lot of things you don’t want to happen to your car, but having it go up in flames for no apparent reason is likely close to the top of the list. Yet, that’s apparently occurred to eight Smart vehicles in the last two years. 

As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this week that it had opened a preliminary investigation into 42,875 model year 2008 to 2009 Fortwo vehicles.

According to NHTSA’s preliminary evaluation notice [PDF], the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation has received eight complaints from consumers related to incidents in which the engine compartment – located in the back of the vehicle – caught fire.

The owners reported that the fires occurred both when the car was in use and while it was parked.

In six of the incidents, owners reported that the vehicles filled with smoke, the check engine light illuminated, or they heard unusual noises while driving. Two other incidents were not detected until the vehicles had stopped.

All eight incidents ended with the vehicles completely engulfed in flames. No injuries were reported.

While the vehicles are seven to eight years old, the incidents occurred more recently with five taking place in 2015 and three in Oct. 2016.


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