Laguna Hills, Calif. – January 29, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. to have their Takata air bag inflators replaced. The action includes 2010-2015 Chrysler 300 sedans, 2010-2011 Dodge Dakota trucks, 2010-2014 Dodge Challenger coupes, 2011-2015 Dodge Charger sedans, 2010-2016 Jeep Wrangler SUVs, and 2010 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 trucks.
According to Consumer Reports, the Takata air bag inflators use ammonium nitrate to inflate the air bag in the event of a crash. That compound has been found to become unstable over time, especially after exposure to temperature fluctuations and periods of constant high humidity. The instability can cause inflators to explode with violent force during an impact.
If a defective air bag ruptures, it can cause sharp metal fragments to fly outwards directly into the faces of the driver and passengers. This loose debris can significantly increase the risk of serious injury or death for all occupants of the vehicle.
Timeline of Events
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Takata recall is the largest and most complex automotive recall in U.S. history. It covers 50 million air bag inflators in 37 million cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks from 19 manufacturers. At least 15 drivers’ and passengers’ deaths – and more than 250 injuries – have been attributed to the devices.
The recall has been spaced out to allow manufacturers time to acquire and stock replacement parts. Since the degradation of the inflator material occurs over time, the recall addressed the oldest affected cars first as well as those located in areas of temperature fluctuation and high humidity. The recall notices have been since rolled out in phases on a predetermined schedule. The latest rollout includes the Fiat Chrysler vehicles, and these recalls will continue into 2020.
FCA says it will let owners of affected vehicles know when they can schedule service. Dealers will replace the passenger-side front air bag inflator free of charge. Owners can contact FCA’s recall information center at 800-853-1403. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.