Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hosts an extensive list of well-known car brands including Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and of course – Fiat and Chrysler. As the world’s seventh largest automobile manufacturer, FCA holds a lot of responsibility in ensuring their vehicles are safe for drivers, passengers and others on the road. In 2015 alone, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles sold over 4.7 million cars and light commercial vehicles to end buyers. With a company as big as FCA, it’s surprising to find out that they have issued four recalls this year, with a possible fifth recall looming. If you discover there is an issue with your car that is not listed on the recall list, or you’ve been injured because of a defect in your vehicle, you should seek medical attention and contact a car accident attorney immediately to begin determining what the correct next steps are. According to Joseph Cullan, a Kansas City car accident attorney, auto manufacturers can, and should, be held liable for collisions and injuries stemming from a fault of theirs.
Gear Shift Confusion Recall – April
Fiat-Chrysler’s 2016 recall issues started off in April when their newly redesigned gear shift caused confusion for drivers, causing the death of ‘Star Trek’ actor Anton Yelchin. The gear shift design made it hard for drivers to tell when the car was in Park. Because of its unique design, the gear selector always remained upright – different from traditional gear shifters that move up and down. FCA decided to recall 1.1 million Dodge Chargers, Chrysler 300 sedans and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs worldwide. In addition to the death of Anton Yelchin, the gear shift confusion caused 266 collisions, 68 injuries and 308 reports of property damage. As a response, FCA enhanced car alerts to the driver when the door was opened but the car was not in Park, and changed the design of the gear shift in future models.
Wiring Recall – July
Later in the year, Fiat-Chrysler then realized it had an issue with the wiring in 410,000 of their vehicles. The company discovered a problem in the wire harness (the collection of the wires) that could cause the vehicle to register a fault code (an alert that something is wrong with the car) and cause the vehicle to cut propulsion. FCA issued an update to the software which allowed the car the ability to roll to a stop after a fault code was issued, giving time for the driver to safely pull to the shoulder of the road. Although no injuries or collisions were reported, FCA issued a recall on all 2015 Chrysler 200 midsize sedans, Ram ProMaster City small vans, Jeep Renegades and Cherokee SUVs, as well as some 2014 Jeep Cherokees.
Air-bag and Seat-belt Tightener Recall – September
In September, Fiat-Chrysler issued their most devastating recall of the year. After three fatalities and five injuries, FCA recalled 1.9 million vehicles due to defects that could prevent the air-bag and seat-belt tighteners from reacting properly during collisions – causing devastating effects. Although FCA would not release the name of the company that made the faulty equipment, they assured the public that the faulty component was only used in models made between 2010 and 2014. The recalled models included 2010 Chrysler Sebring, 2011-2014 Chrysler 200, 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber, 2010-2014 Dodge Avenger, and 2010-2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs.
Fuel Tube Leak and Windshield Wiper Recall – November
In FCA’s most recent set of recalls, two car components were involved – the fuel tube and windshield wipers. In total, 89,000 cars and SUVs were involved in the recall and no injuries were reported. For the fuel tube portion of the recall, 35,000 2016 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, both equipped with 3.6-liter V6 engines, were involved. The issue was discovered by an employee who noticed the fuel tube could have been damaged in manufacturing and cause a gas leak and fire. For the windshield wipers, FCA recalled 54,000 2016 Dodge Dart compacts when they determined electrical voltage spikes caused by the windshield wiper pump could cause short circuits and cause the wipers to fail.
Roll Away Recall Investigation – December
Most recently, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation on 1 million Ram pickup trucks and SUVs because of a possible roll away risk. The recall, which is not to be confused with the April gear shift recall, states there have been reports of vehicles rolling away after being properly placed in Park. So far, there have been 25 collisions and nine injuries reported, involving 2013-2016 Ram 1500 pickup trucks and 2014-2016 Dodge Durango SUVs. Although a formal recall has not been issued, the NHTSA and FCA are taking the investigation very seriously.
2016 was a year of massive recalls by all types of auto manufacturers. Although the seriousness of the recalls range from minor inconveniences to fatal errors, it’s important to always know if your vehicle is affected by a recall. To find out if you’ve been affected by one of the above recalls or others, Safer Car is a government site that offers information on your vehicle by entering you Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Recalls are frustrating and inconvenient, but it’s necessary to know if your vehicle is involved in one and act accordingly in order to maintain you and your loved one’s safety on the road.