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U.S. regulators upgrade safety probe of 2005-2007 Chevy Corvette

Four-year old son Ethan Toloza looks over a Chevrolet Corvette at Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg, Maryland May 1, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cam
Four-year old son Ethan Toloza looks over a Chevrolet Corvette at Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg, Maryland May 1, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cam

DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators said on Tuesday they are upgrading an investigation of 103,000 older Chevrolet Corvettes after drivers reported instances of the low-beam headlights failing.

The vehicles under investigation are from model years 2005 through 2007, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also received complaints from drivers of the 2008 Corvette.

There have been no reports of injuries or deaths related to the defect, NHTSA said.

The headlight outages occurred after driving for five to 30 minutes, and the lights went out because of a fractured circuit wire, NHTSA said. The wire "is located in a high heat area near the engine, and the low beam circuit wire routing ...makes it susceptible to cyclical stress caused by thermal expansion."

The agency opened its initial investigation in May. NHTSA performs a preliminary evaluation if there is an indication that there may be a safety defect. After the initial evaluation, it either upgrades or closes the investigation.

An engineering analysis may lead to a recall or NHTSA may decide to dismiss the investigation.

General Motors Co. said in a statement that it is cooperating with the investigation.

(Reporting by Joseph Lichterman; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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