Chrysler recalling thousands of vans over impact sensors


Auburn Hills, Michigan – Dec. 12, 2017 – Chrysler recently issued a recall order for more than 3,500 of its 2018 Ram ProMaster cargo vans, citing an issue with the vehicles’ front door impact pressure sensors, according to a letter submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The affected ProMaster vans have a new pressure sensor, but use the same fastening rivets as the vehicles with the older sensors, potentially leading to the driver’s side door airbags to unexpectedly deploy in certain situations. These vehicles were produced from late July to late August of 2017. Only about 13 percent of the 2018 ProMasters are estimated to have this defect.

The Defect

The existing fastening rivets in question were incorrectly fastened to the new sensors, which are designed to expand within a plastic attachment. Due to the incorrect installation, those sensor housings could fracture and potentially affect either sensor retention overall or the gasket seal-to-door area. If that happens, it could trigger the deployment of the driver’s door airbags in some crashes. That, in turn, could lead to additional injury risk for drivers.

Timeline of Events

While production with the existing fastening rivets began July 24, the investigation into the potential flaw did not begin until Aug. 18, initiated by Chrysler’s Manufacturing Quality organization. Two days later, the investigation determined that there was nothing materially wrong with either the rivets or sensors, so further information was sought. On Aug. 22, the rivet issue was discovered, prompting an effort to replace more than 1,300 affected vehicles built from Aug. 18 to 23 that were held back during the investigation.

Then, on Sept. 20, the full investigation was completed, and found that because of how random the causes behind any potential fractures were, it was advisable to recall all 2018 ProMasters built before Aug. 23. Through early November, Chrysler was unaware of any accidents or injuries that may have stemmed from this defect.

The Solution

Chrysler’s voluntary recall of the affected vehicles will replace both the front door impact pressure sensors, and fasten them with the proper rivets. The company will also ask in the letters it mails to affected owners that they include the receipts or other proof of payment for these repairs, so that it can reimburse customers for whatever expenses they incur.

Both owners and dealers will be notified on or about Jan. 3, 2018.

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