The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 17 complaints about an errant oil line in the Lotus Elise, and thus, has opened an investigation. The issue concerns the line on the front right cooler, which, having got loose, sprays oil either on the wheel or inside the engine bay.

This investigation pertains to around 4,400 of the little track-day wonders sold in the 2005 and 2006 model years. There have been no injuries, but one car did leave the road and catch on fire. A NHTSA investigation doesn't mean a full recall has been issued, just that your friends in the fed are looking into the matter.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Kamil K.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Since when is an oil leak on a British car a cause a safety investigation? I would be concerned if it wasn't leaking oil, as that's a clear sign if low oil level.
        Paul P.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kamil K.
        Haha, I thought the same thing when I saw the title to this story. I can't remember the last time I owned a British car that didn't leak oil (or have some sort of electrical issues).
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not leaking oil, it's marking it's territory.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Proton quality. Lotus is part of Malaysian government-owned car company Proton.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes, but wanna bet the part that's leaking was built by Toyota.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wait, they're checking British cars for oil leaks? I'm paying these guys for this?
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, the Brits have always adhered to their traditions...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Turns out they should be inspecting all celica's and other toyota products that have the leaky engine as well.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its actually a pretty serious problem, as the oil cooler is in the front of the car and the lines run to the back to a sandwich plate. The oil cooler crimped connectors leak or just blow without warning losing all the oil within seconds. However in many cases the oil spray coats the rear tires and if you are at any type of speed it is very dangerous, aside from fire hazard.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "...having got loose." Really? This guy is a writer for the New York Times? Really?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am one who filed a complaint wrote: I almost got into an accident when it popped which could have included a number of people around me at the time. The Dulles Access toll road (rt 2567 in Virginia) documented the 3/4 mile oil cleanup they performed on the road which is estimated to cost them over $4,000 U.S. Feel free to contact me at The post mortem was extremely expensive. I replaced all of the 4 press on oil fittings and replaced them with aftermarket ones with big barbs to hold the hose. Cost of repair = $ 3,000 US. Two months later, #3 valve broke, partially due to oil starvation from this event AND a known (hundreds of postings on Lotus talk) soft cam issue that can wear out the intake camshaft in as little as 1,500 miles. Cost of repair = $ 8,000 US. Both of these issues were out of warranty and in my opinion are manufacturer ‘defects’ or very poor design. My car also suffered from the known a/c relay failure issue that was replaced. My steering is starting to ‘clank’ which the message boards tells me is another problem with these cars in that the steering mechanism wears out at about 35,000 miles or so. I have all of the bad parts which I am making into a display which includes a bent valve, severely worn intake camshaft, failed intake oil pressure switch, relay, etc. I also have plenty of pictures that document the towing, servicing, etc. should Lotus sincerely be interested in ‘probing’ the issues. It would be nice if Lotus would make me whole on these repairs as I put over $10,000 out of pocket in one year on top of the cost of a not so inexpensive sports car. It’s a shame, because like a wayward child, I still love the model. Complaint I filed: Make : LOTUS Model : ELISE Year : 2006 Manufacturer : LOTUS CARS LTD Crash : No Fire : Yes Number of Injuries: 0 ODI ID Number : 10390528 Number of Deaths: 0 Date of Failure: March 17, 2011 VIN : SCCPC11186H… Component: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING:ENGINE Summary: TL*THE CONTACT OWNS A 2006 LOTUS ELISE. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE OIL LINE HOSE FITTINGS CONNECTION FAILED CAUSING THE OIL TO SPILL ONTO THE ENGINE. WHILE DRIVING 65 MPH THE INTERIOR OF THE VEHICLE FILLED WITH SMOKE FROM THE OIL THAT SPILLED ON THE ENGINE. THE CONTACT DROVE THE VEHICLE TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD WHERE HE NOTICED THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT OF THE VEHICLE WAS ON FIRE. THE CONTACT PUT THE FIRE OUT HIMSELF AND NO ONE WAS INJURED. THE VEHICLE WAS TOWED TO A LOCAL MECHANIC WHO CONFIRMED THAT THE OIL LINE HOSE CAUSED THE FAILURE TO OCCUR. THE VEHICLE WILL NOT BE REPAIRED FOR AT LEAST FOUR WEEKS. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT CONTACTED. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 35,000.
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