The investigation was originally called after 17 owners complained of oil leaking onto the right rear tire of their cars, causing handling problems. While most of the owners said they lost some vehicle control, one reported that the vehicle actually caught on fire.
The recall affects all 2005 and 2006 Lotus Elise and Exige models built from June 1, 2004, through November 30, 2006, of which there are some 5,037 cars in contention.
According to the NHTSA, the oil cooler line in these cars may become detached from its fitting, which could then spray oil throughout the engine compartment and increasing the risk of fire.
Owners of the affected cars should contact their closest Lotus dealership, which will repair the fault free of charge. For further information contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 (reference recall campaign number 11V510000) or Lotus at 1-800-245-6887.
Note, this is the last year that the Lotus Elise and its Exige cousin will be sold in the U.S. The reason is because of the expiration of an existing airbag exemption that will leave the models on the wrong side of government regulations. That, coupled with the fact that Toyota manufactured its last 2ZZ-GE four-cylinder engine last spring, means that Lotus has wound down production on the U.S. Elise and Exige models.