Fiat ‘limp home’ problem could lead to stalling

Detroit, MI — April 15, 2015 — Electric cars are attractive to some consumers because they are energy efficient, but owners need to be on the lookout for important messages about possible flaws. One recent recall from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles attempts to respond to a software-related issue in thousands of its Fiat 500 electric vehicles that concerns the associated “limp home mode.”

For those that don’t use an electric car, limp mode is a special setting designed to give a car with low energy enough power to get to a safe place where the battery can be recharged. The problem addressed in this recall arises in certain models that can’t process the limp mode command due to software compatibility issues.

Instead of switching modes, the afflicted cars, manufactured between 2012 and 2014 could suddenly shut down, leaving drivers vulnerable to an accident if they are on the road at the time. The Car Connection reports that this fault doesn’t affect other important vehicle systems, like steering and brakes, and that cycling through the ignition multiple times should reset the system to normal.

A total of 5,600 vehicles were addressed in this recall, and dealers will fix the chance of a sudden shutdown by updating the relevant software. Although the recall has been announced, it won’t officially take place until halfway through next month, which is when owners can expect to stop receiving notices from the manufacturer.

On the surface, a software problem could sound relatively innocuous, but in the wrong circumstances they may be far more dangerous to the consumer. Recall notices that are effectively distributed give every link in the chain, from dealer to owner, some idea of what the effects of an untended flaw will be and why immediate service is necessary.

Recall MastersFiat ‘limp home’ problem could lead to stalling