Thursday, July 11, 2013
Safety is our number one expectation of the cars we purchase. Unlike vanity plates or white wall tires, safety is a foregone conclusion. And when our cars become too old to drive safely, it’s time to donate them to a car donation program like Kars for Kids where they will be safely refitted or recycled, with the proceeds going to help kids in need.
So it’s kind of a shock when we read about a massive recall of cars due to safety reasons. We expect new cars to be safe. On the other hand, most of us know the old saying about “assume.”
Yes. We’re in the midst of yet another recall. This time it’s Chrysler, recalling some 667,000 vehicles due to passenger safety restraints that may malfunction as a result of electrical issues. In fact, Chrysler has two recalls going on for this reason, for different models and faulty parts.
That’s piling bad news on top of bad news as far as Chrysler is concerned. Just last month, the car manufacturer had to fight federal safety officials over a demand to recall 2.7 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUV’s after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the design of these vehicles made them vulnerable to catching fire, should they be rear-ended.
Just in the nick of time, the CEO for Chrysler Group, Sergio Marchionne, reached a compromise with NHTSA administrator David Strickland in which “only” 1.56 million vehicles needed to be recalled. The solutions for remedying the cars were uncomplicated and relatively low-cost. This agreement between Chrysler and the NHTSA was made over the phone just minutes before a June 18th deadline for the recall. Had an agreement not been reached, Chrysler would have been brought before federal court.
Here is a list of Chrysler vehicles currently under recall:
The smallest recall involves 224,254 2013 Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Ram C/V Tradesman minivans produced May 10, 2012-June 7, 2013. A possible electricity polarity issue might result in airbags inflating on the wrong side of the vehicle should there be a side crash. In other words, if the van is hit on the left side, the right-hand air bag would inflate, and vice versa. The issue here is that the occupants taking most of the impact during the crash would be left unprotected. In addition, as the airbags deploy on the other side of the vehicle, this may serve to push the occupants on that side of the vehicle toward the site of impact. Dealers can reprogram the airbag systems of these cars for a free and easy fix, once the recall begins in August.
A recall involving 442,481 cars is due to the 2011 natural disasters in Japan which resulted in interruptions for car supplies and components, leaving a possibility of faulty microcontrollers in these cars. These microcontrollers may stop active head restraints on front seats from yielding slightly forward during a rear crash which is meant to minimize the possibility of the occupants sustaining whiplash during a car accident. Starting in August, car dealers will, free of charge, either reprogram control systems or replace control models, depending on what is needed.
Here are the affected cars:
2011-2013 Chrysler Sebring and Chrysler 200 vehicles manufactured June 28, 2011-December 13, 2012.
2011-2013 Dodge Avenger cars created June 25, 2011-January 14, 2013.
2011-2012 Dodge Nitro SUVs made June 17, 2011- December 15, 2011.
2011-2012 Jeep Liberty SUVs produced June 17, 2011- August 15, 2012.