Fiat Chrysler Addresses Two New Issues in a Pair of Recalls

Auburn Hills, Mich. — June 23, 2016 — Two new voluntary Fiat Chrysler recalls will target issues in a range of different vehicles. In a pair of press releases published May 18, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles explained the conditions leading to each recall. Neither of these are connected to any known injuries or accidents, and both of them have repercussions outside of North America, although the majority of vehicles in each case are within the United States.

The first recall: Clockspring assemblies
This action concerns the systems that may prevent some Jeep Wrangler SUVs from deploying their air bags correctly. The statement said that exposure to contaminants could weaken the clockspring and interfere with the circuit that controls air bag function. Drivers are particularly at risk, since the driver-side air bag is the one that could be disabled through this action.

The SUVs featured in this recall have model years between 2007 and 2010, with an estimated 392,464 of these vehicles inside the United States. Owners may see a lit air bag warning lamp in their vehicles if the clockspring has been compromised. This condition could be especially prevalent inside vehicles used for off-roading, the source said.

Dealers will resolve the issue by modifying the steering wheel, installing a new steering-column shroud and back cover. Though no schedule was listed, the release did say that customers will receive notification once the recall progresses.

The second recall: Clutch release updates
The other recall centers around gradual changes that could hurt vital transmission functions in Fiat 500 cars with model years between 2012 and 2016, but only the models that don’t use turbocharged engines. The statement mentions that approximately 39,217 vehicles are affected by this.

Unlike the other recall, this one has some reports of damage to the vehicles involved. The source said that .01 percent of the affected cars have been damaged, according to recent investigations, and that the recall notices sent out will give customers the necessary guidance for updating their vehicles as necessary.

If left unchecked, these affected vehicles can potentially see a moving clutch, which prevents the driver from using standard manual transmission functions. No specific remedy was described in this statement.

Previous related issues
In addition to these recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration features some information about other issues that could also affect the same vehicles. One complaint about a 2016 Fiat 500 filed in September 2015 stated that a vehicle suddenly shut off while the drivers were in the middle of the highway. The anonymous driver stated that the parking brake, service engine soon and transmission lights all turned on at once after the vehicle stalled.

The Jeep Wrangler has also been subject to previous recalls similar to the most recent one. A report from May 2013 described a clockspring issue in Wrangler right-hand-drive vehicles manufactured between February 2007 and October 2011. Investigations associated with that case found that dust contamination led to circuit fatigue, a condition that may have caused steering column problems and also triggered air bag warning lights.

The initial recall acknowledgment letter for this issue referenced 5,400 potentially affected vehicles. As with the newer actions, these vehicles were at risk of air bag circuit issues that could have left occupants less safe. The chronology of this action dated back to May 2011, when the NHTSA opened its investigations. The decision to conduct an official safety recall was made that October, after months in the wake of the safety issues.

Originally, the remedy for this problem involved a steering wheel dust shield and a new clockspring, both of which the dealer was slated to replace beginning in May 2013. There were no accidents or injuries traced to this condition, either.

adminFiat Chrysler Addresses Two New Issues in a Pair of Recalls

Government Clarifies Jeep Hacking Vulnerability

Washington D.C. — January 27, 2016 — Concerns over whether a hacker could remotely take control of a vehicle in motion grew in 2015, but the government is trying to stem fears. Despite reports that this sort of technology could pose a serious operational hazard, officials are clarifying which brands are most at risk and which are safe from the defect.

“The issue is limited to Fiat Chrysler vehicles.”

According to the Associated Press, more than 1 million vehicles were included in Jeep and Chrysler recalls last year, which were designed to fix possible hacks that could override vehicle systems. In tests conducted by hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, the manufacturer discovered that individuals could influence important systems like the brakes and transmission.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now says that the issue is limited to Fiat Chrysler vehicles. Audi, Bentley and Volkswagen vehicles that contain the same infotainment systems as the hacked Jeeps are not at risk.

In a piece for Wired published last July, Andy Greenberg explained that the central Uconnect system is what made the vehicles targets in the first place.

“All of this is possible only because Chrysler, like practically all carmakers, is doing its best to turn the modern automobile into a smartphone,” he wrote. “Uconnect, an Internet-connected computer feature in hundreds of thousands of Fiat Chrysler cars, SUVs, and trucks, controls the vehicle’s entertainment and navigation, enables phone calls, and even offers a Wi-Fi hot spot.”

Investigation EQ 15-005 into this issue officially closed on January 4 2016. Harman International produced the vulnerable units and submitted information to the Office of Defects Investigation to help aid the review of affected units.

adminGovernment Clarifies Jeep Hacking Vulnerability

FCA Recall Affects Jeep Hose Clamps

Auburn Hills, MI — January 20, 2016 — On December 23, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received report of a recall from Chrysler concerning 60,107 Jeeps from 2015. According to this statement, both Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass vehicles may contain improperly placed power steering hose retention clamps, which could trigger a fluid leak and fire risk if not corrected.

Improperly placed power steering hose retention clamps could trigger a fluid leak.

Although the risk of fire was noted as being “rare,” it nevertheless makes this a crucial act for the manufacturer to prevent possible injuries. Only one percent of the recalled vehicles are believed to suffer the defect.

The investigations into this issue began this past October, when the manufacturer decided to look closer at Compass and Patriot vehicles that had suffered fires. The fault was traced back to the hose clamp on October 21.

In the Part 573 Safety Recall Report, the NHTSA notes the purpose of the remedy program. This reflects the manufacturer’s need to “conduct a voluntary safety recall, on all affected vehicles to inspect the return power steering hose for proper placement of the hose clamp, and reposition the hose clamp as needed.”

A chronology document from the same source notes that the failures all took place when the vehicles were operating at slow speeds, 50 miles or lower. This led to the discovery that the power steering hose was the cause of the problem, confirmed by later testing.

Another series of Chrysler recalls recently affected thousands of Jeep Cherokee vehicles last month for a water leak problem that could have led to a fire risk due to electrical damage.

adminFCA Recall Affects Jeep Hose Clamps

Chrysler Recalls Jeeps for Short Circuit Potential

Auburn Hills, MI — January 07, 2016—According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 32,784 Jeep Cherokees with 2015 and 2016 model years are part of a new recall. Although the start date is currently unknown, a good amount of information has been revealed, including the recall number (R67) and the possible threat from water gathering on the vehicle’s control module.

If a leak were to cause this module to short circuit, the affected vehicles could potentially catch fire. To keep the module safe and reduce the chance of corrosion, the manufacturer calls for the mastic shield to be replaced with a specialized water shield. Despite this, no injuries have been reported in connection to this problem.

This remedy is meant to improve upon a previous water shield that didn’t provide enough coverage. The NHTSA features a Part 573 Recall Report that explains the way the new shield has been a response to the old one.

“The mastic water shield was designed to protect the Module from pooling water in the spare tire tub as the original investigation showed this condition as the primary source,” the document states. “As the corrective action identified in the original investigation, a water shield that fully encapsulates the Module was introduced into production on September 10, 2015.”

The recall was announced on December 9 after the manufacturer determined that a recall was the best course of action on December 1. The “fully encapsulating” water shield first began production in September and will be installed free of charge. If necessary, corroded modules and connectors will be fully replaced.

adminChrysler Recalls Jeeps for Short Circuit Potential

Older Jeep Wrangler Recall Gets an Update

Washington, DC — December 11, 2015 — In May, 2013, Chrysler Group LLC announced that it would recall 5,440 vehicles for a concern over airbag clockspring assemblies in Jeep Wranglers for model years between 2008 and 2012. To address this issue, it stated dealers would replace the spring and steering wheel dust shield for free: failing to do so could have left the airbag disabled and prevented it from deploying during an accident.

The Detroit News recently reported that this issue has not quite resolved. According to the source, the manufacturer is aware of hundreds of complaints related to this action. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now looking into more than 628,00 vehicles, despite the previous remedies.

A memo from May of that year lists some of the factors observed in the assemblies, leading to the eventual recall.

“Some vehicles may be equipped with driver’s airbag clockspring assemblies that could experience a compromised airbag circuit resulting in an airbag lamp illumination, which indicates that the airbag may not deploy in the event of a frontal crash,” the statement said. This document went on to connect the condition to “circuit fatigue,” which stemmed from “dust contamination of the grease applied to the flexible conductor, resulting in the conductor bending unnaturally during cycling.”

The NHTSA has not officially called for more Chrysler recalls in this case, but has begun the process that could lead to it. The Detroit News states that this is instead an “engineering analysis,” and follows the preliminary investigation the agency had begun earlier this year.

adminOlder Jeep Wrangler Recall Gets an Update

Cybersecurity risks lead to new Jeep recalls [Video]

Cybersecurity concerns are a new frontier for car safety. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 7,800 vehicles to prevent them from unauthorized remote access.

According to a press release from the company, the manufacturer has already taken steps to patch software flaws that might cause problems, and has no report of any injuries or complaints. All the same, it is urging owners to implements new software updates using a USB drive. The affected 2015 Jeep Renegades contain 6.5-inch touchscreens and radios.

In addition, the company is clearly trying to distinguish this action from a previous recall for a similar issue discovered over the summer. That action, which involved vulnerabilities in the in-car internet that stoked fears of remote takeover, involved more than 1 million vehicles, including Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durango SUVs.

Thank you for watching, and make sure you check our blog for the latest recall news.

adminCybersecurity risks lead to new Jeep recalls [Video]

New recall targets Jeep wiper issues

Detroit, MI — September 1, 2015 — Although it was technically noticed on August 31, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is beginning the month of September with a new recall action concerning windshield wipers in some of its units. While this issue seems to be more of a concern for certain climates, the vehicles are being recalled from all over North America, including the United States, Canada and Mexico, with the majority of the recalls occurring within the U.S.

An Autoblog article on this case, which quotes a press release from the manufacturers in full, describes the scope of the recall, which includes a total of 158,671 vehicles in the United States alone. Altogether, the total includes more than 206,000 2014 Jeep Cherokees in all regions. More than 26,000 are located outside of the NAFTA regions in this continents, the source adds.

If drivers in these vehicles attempt to use the wipers “during dry conditions,” the wiper control module could accumulate a terminal amount of static buildup, rendering them inoperable. This poses a special risk because the loss of function could happen suddenly, surprising the driver. The release also details the steps they can take to fix the issue.

“Dealers will install a ground strap to the control module to eliminate the potential for static buildup,” it reads. “Customers will be advised when they may schedule service, which will be performed at no cost.” There have yet to be any incidents traced back to this recall.

Last month, the same manufacturer also recalled thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokees as part of a different concern over lower control arms susceptible to fractures.

adminNew recall targets Jeep wiper issues

Chrysler recalls cars for rear control arm problems

Detroit, MI — July 8, 2015 — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has received attention from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over outstanding recalls, and a new action reported last month will add to the list of current issues the manufacturer is addressing.

According to an acknowledgement statement featured on the NHTSA website, a suspension issue in certain Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles has led to 5,608 being recalled. The specific fault concerns the rear lower control arms in these vehicles, which may break off during use.

Both of the models were produced earlier this year, and the concern reportedly stems back to a notification on June 16, when suppliers informed the manufacturer that the materials “may have been incorrectly heat treated.” This led to an attempt at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant to stall shipment of vehicles with faulty parts on that same day. The component manufacturer is listed by the NHTSA as Chassix.

The safety recall report on this issue went into further detail about the heating problems that affected the supplier’s materials.

“The root cause was determined to be a non-standard heat treating process in which the supplier began hand loading materials in the heat treat oven due to a conveyor issue,” the document states. “The supplier’s manual process adversely affected the heat treat profile. The supplier subsequently shipped materials prior to completion of all required material property testing.”

To remedy this condition, the source reports that vehicles will be inspected before control arms are replaced at the car dealer. FCA will reimburse owners for this inconvenience as part of its “longstanding policy” towards these actions.

Recall MastersChrysler recalls cars for rear control arm problems

Efforts continue to address Jeep fire safety after recall

Detroit, MI — April 15, 2015 — According to the Associated Press, the aftermath of a recall from 2013 still leaves room for further improvement and perhaps further awareness from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator. Just over 30 percent of the Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles found to be at risk of combustion have been repaired since the initial recall notice was issued.

The original concern centered around the way gas tanks were placed on affected Chrysler vehicles: because they were located behind the rear example, a collision with the bumper could result in fire spreading.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has seen multiple cases where Jeep fires led to deaths, and the NHTSA is reportedly considering taking action to prompt further response. The near 1.56 million suspected SUV’s recalled were produced in different ranges of years, from 1993 to 2007. The roots of the recall go as far back as 2010, when regulators first started investigating Jeep susceptibility to fire.

The source quotes from a letter from the manufacturer which addresses the flaws and directs dealers to take action to avoid further incidents. To fix the fault, the company is installing protective trailer hitches on the back of the vehicles.

“If there are barriers that are preventing your dealership from completing these important repairs, please contact your factory representative for assistance,” the manufacturer said. “FCA wants to know and will make every effort to eliminate any barriers.”

The dealership and the vehicle owner will have needs in the wake of a recall that both need to be addressed, even if that recall began years in the past. Outstanding recalls have to be responded to in a professional manner, not to mention fast and accurate.

Recall MastersEfforts continue to address Jeep fire safety after recall