Automotive Defect InvestigationThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues safety standards that require automobile manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects. An important first step to identifying a problem is to keep a database of complaints received from owners. Similar complaints from a number of owners about the same product are usually a good indication that a problem could exist. The NHTSA will review the complaints and, in most cases, open an investigation. If the investigation leads to a recall, the NHTSA will monitor the effectiveness and management of the recall, including the filing of recall notices, communicating with owners regarding the recalls, and tracking the completion rate of each recall.

The NHTSA currently has three investigations affecting certain Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles.

Stalling And Loss Of Motive Power Due To Transmission Malfunction
2019-2021 Chrysler Pacifica and 2019-2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 40 complaints alleging incidents of stalling and loss of motive power in certain 2019-2021 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Most incidents occurred at speeds greater than 25 MPH and resulted in a vehicle stall. The loss of motive power was often accompanied by a dashboard warning message indicating a charging fault. A review of vehicle data showed that the malfunction was correlated with an internal transmission fault. The ODI is opening an investigation to assess the scope, frequency, cause, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.

Crankshaft Or Camshaft Sensor Failures
2016 Dodge Journey, 2016 Jeep Compass, and 2016 Jeep Patriot

In December 2016, the NHTSA issued a recall (16V-907) that identified crankshaft or camshaft sensor failures on certain 2016 Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot vehicles. According to the recall report, the crankshaft or camshaft sensor may work intermittently, possibly causing the engine to stall while driving. Following this recall, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has continued to receive consumer complaints from owners who say they are experiencing crankshaft or camshaft failures on similar vehicles not included in the recall. The NHTSA has opened a Recall Query (RQ) to further assess the scope, frequency, and safety consequences of the alleged defect.

Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) Inadvertently Activates While Driving
2014-2020 Jeep Cherokee

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 80 complaints for 2014-2020 Jeep Cherokees alleging the Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) activated while the vehicle was in motion. Based on repair invoices, the problem is caused by water leaking into the vehicle and damaging the EPB module which inadvertently activates the vehicle to a stop. The ODI is aware of recall 15V-393 that addresses water ingress affecting the power lift-gate module on the same population of vehicles. The lift-gate module can potentially catch fire as a result of the water damage. Both the lift-gate and EPB modules are located in a similar area of the vehicle.

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Chrysler will be contacting the owners of certain 2014-2019 Ram 1500 and 1500 Classic Pickup trucks equipped with 3.0L Eco Diesel engines because of a vehicle safety problem.

According to the defect report, the Exhaust Gas Re-circulation (EGR) coolers are susceptible to thermal fatigue and could crack over time. Th crack could allow pre-heated vaporized coolant to enter the EGR system and could combust inside the intake manifold, causing a vehicle fire. Drivers may be alerted there is a problem through a noticeable loss of coolant, lack of heater function and potentially a Malfunction Indicator Lamp.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealerships to have the EGR cooler replaced. Dealers will also inspect and replace the intake manifold as necessary. Chrysler’s number for this recall is VB1 and the NHTSA campaign number is 19V-757.

In June 2014 Chrysler opened an investigation into shocks installed on certain 2015 Chrysler 200, 2014 Jeep Cherokee, and 2014 Ram 1500 vehicles, as a result of shock supplier, Hitachi, having a KL rear shock ring split during bushing press operation. The investigation found that, due to an inadequate inspection process at the supplier, the ring loop at the rear shock attachment may have a weld that is insufficient to carry the load of the vehicle. The loss of one of the two welds could result in damage to chassis components and tires, and decreased brake function. Continue reading

Federal regulators are putting pressure on Chrysler to accelerate production of trailer hitches needed to repair an estimated 1.6 million Jeep SUV’s. In June 2013 Chrysler and the NHTSA reported that the fuel tanks in these vehicles are more susceptible to leaks and fire during certain rear impact accidents because of the location of the tank behind the rear axle, slightly below the rear bumper. Chrysler’s repair of installing a trailer hitch for extra protection has been approved by the NHTSA despite criticisms from consumer advocates who say that hitches will only incrementally improve the performance in certain low speed rear impacts. The initial Jeep recall involved approximately 2.7 million vehicles, but Chrysler says that, given the age of some of them, only about 1.6 million remain on the road. Continue reading

Drivers of certain 2008-2010 Chrysler and Dodge minivans and crossover SUVs could experience an unexpected engine shut off while driving over rough roadway condition or when the driver accidentally bumps the vehicle key Fob. According to reports filed on the NHTSA website, when the vehicle is started, the key FOB could over travel and hang up between the ON and ACC detents of the ignition. Continue reading

An investigation into overheating window vent switches on some 2010-2014 Chrysler Town and Country and 2010-2014 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans will have owners returning their vehicles to have repairs done. The investigation began in early October 2012, after the automobile manufacturer identified seven warranty claims in which the vent switches were replaced because they had melted. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue, but as of April 2014, Chrysler has identified approximately 36 reports of the problem. Continue reading

Owners of certain 2011-2012 Dodge Charger cars will be contacted by Chrysler to return their vehicles to a manufacturer approved repair facility for a problem that could result in unexpected loss of headlights. The vehicles affected by this problem were manufactured between May 20, 2012 through November 8, 2011, and are equipped with halogen headlamps. Continue reading

Chrysler has submitted a noncompliance report with the NHTSA containing details of a safety defect that could affect braking in certain 2011-2014 Dodge Durango and 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles. The problem will have approximately 644,354 owners returning their SUV’s to a manufacturer approved repair facility to have them tested and repaired as necessary. Continue reading