Faulty Ignition Switches Lead to Loss of Engine Power, Power Steering, Braking and Airbags
On June 3, 2015, Chrysler updated its recall of Jeep Grand Cherokees (model years 2005-2007) and Jeep Commanders (model years 2006-2007) over an ignition switch defect, which Chrysler described as follows:
Chrysler has decided that a defect, which relates to motor vehicle safety, exists in 2005 through 2007 model year Jeep® Grand Cherokee and 2006 through 2007 Jeep® Commander vehicles.
The problem is…
Some Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles may experience an unintended change in ignition switch position while driving which may result in loss of engine power, power steering, and braking assist increasing the risk of a crash and disabling one or more of the vehicle’s safety features including the frontal airbags.
As of the date of this updated Chrysler Jeep recall, Fiat Chrysler stated that its dealers would repair these vehicles subject to the Chrysler ignition switch recall free of charge, however, “the part required to provide a permanent remedy for this condition is not currently available.” According to the Washington Post, Fiat Chrysler said that it would officially begin notifying customers about the updated recall by mid-September of 2015. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that part of the reason for Fiat Chrysler’s record-setting $105 million civil penalty that it enforced against Fiat Chrysler was the manufacturer’s terrible record of notifying vehicle owners of its recalls. In some cases, purchasers of Jeep Grand Cherokees and Commanders subject to the previous 2014 recall never received a notice.
Recent Chrysler Recall Over Cybersecurity Concerns
The latest Chrysler recall involves a flaw in radios which allows the vehicle to be controlled by hackers. Bloomberg news reported today that Fiat Chrylser waited 18 months to tell federal safety regulators about a security flaw in radios being installed in more than a million vehicles that hackers exploited in July to seize control of a Jeep.
Chrysler says it was working on a fix, and didn’t consider the problem a safety defect. NHTSA disagreed. Eight days after being notified by the company, the agency pushed Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million cars and trucks — the first auto recall prompted by cybersecurity concerns.
The episode came just days before Fiat Chrysler agreed to the record $105 million penalty to settle complaints about its recall performance on other issues, including loss of engine power, loss of power steering, loss of power brakes, and malfunctioning air-bags.
Other Chrysler Recalls
There have been many more recent recalls involving Fiat Chrysler vehicles for a host of defects involving fire hazards, suspension problems, etc. For a list of Fiat Chrysler recalls, click this link.
To learn whether your Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicle is subject to a Chrysler recall, find your vehicle identification number (VIN) in the driver’s side area where the windshield meets the dash. Go to NHTSA’s VIN search website and search your VIN. The site will tell you whether your vehicle has been recalled. If it has been, please take your vehicle to an authorized dealer and get the problem fixed. Many of these safety hazards can cause catastrophic injuries and death.
Phelan Petty is investigating cases involving Chrysler ignition switch defects resulting in loss of engine power, steering, braking, and/or airbags.