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Fiat Chrysler Recalling 1.33m Vehicles for Fire, Airbag Risks

Two separate problems announced Friday.

by on Jul.14, 2017

A 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the models recalled for a fire risk.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced two separate recalls on Friday that will cover 1.33 million vehicles worldwide.

The two issues involve potential fire risks in a variety of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep models, as well as faulty airbags that have been fitted into Dodge and Fiat models. Most of the recalls involve vehicles sold in the U.S. market.

Beyond the Headlines!

The announcement by FCA comes at a time when the auto industry has been running record numbers of recalls, including one earlier in the week involving 2.7 million defective Takata airbags. The FCA airbag issue does not involve Takata devices, however.

(Honda confirms 11th Takata airbag related death in the U.S. Click Here for the story.)

The bigger of the two recalls involves 770,000 sport-utility vehicles that suffer from a wiring issue that could cause their driver-side airbags to deploy unexpectedly. FCA says it has received reports of five minor injuries, but no fatalities nor crashes linked to the defect.

According to the automaker, wiring in the steering wheel can chafe over time and eventually cause a short-circuit that could trigger an airbag deployment. The defect can affect other circuits, among other things causing the windshield wipers to come on – or become inoperable.

The Dodge Journey is one of the models with airbags that could inadvertently deploy.

About 538,000 Dodge Journey SUVs are covered by the recall. They were sold in North America during the 2011 to 2015 model-years. In other markets, the automaker will recall 233,000 Fiat Freemont SUVs sold during the same period.

(Not all airbag recalls involve Takata. Click Here for more.)

The small recall still covers 565,000 sedans and coupes, including the 2011 to 2014 model-year Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger and Challenger, as well as Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The affected Jeep model was sold during the 2012 to 2014 model years.

In this case, hot ambient temperatures can cause diodes in the alternator to wear prematurely and possibly smoke or catch fire. The problem could also cause systems such as a vehicle’s antilock brakes to fail or the engine to stall.

FCA plans to issue recall advisory notices to owners in the coming weeks and dealers will make repairs at no charge.

The two service announcements from FCA come as just the latest in a series of large automotive recalls. The industry has been tracking at a record rate again, following a series of recent annual recall records.

Part of the problem is that many components, such as the alternators affected by the FCA recall are shared among a large number of vehicles. So, when a defect is discovered it can impact a large number of products simultaneously.

But defective Takata airbags, some installed more than a decade ago, have collectively been responsible for the biggest safety issue in automotive history, covering more than 100 million bags used worldwide, at least 70 million of them in the U.S.

On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added another 2.7 million Takata airbags to the list. They were installed in vehicles sold by Ford, Mazda and Nissan.

(For more on the new Takata recall, Click Here.)


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