Feds Upgrade Probe Into Fires in 2011-'13 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango


  • 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Picture

    2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Picture

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into an estimated 593,299 2011-'13 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles after reports of headliners catching fire. | January 14, 2014

Just the Facts:
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into an estimated 593,299 2011-'13 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles after reports of headliners catching fire.
  • "There may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents, including three injury allegations on Grand Cherokee and Durango vehicles," said a notice posted on the NHTSA Web site.
  • Chrysler told Edmunds, "Our engineers are probing this concern while also fully supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation."

WASHINGTON The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into an estimated 593,299 2011-'13 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles after reports of headliners catching fire.

"There may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents, including three injury allegations on Grand Cherokee and Durango vehicles," said a notice posted on the NHTSA Web site.

Chrysler told Edmunds, "Our engineers are probing this concern while also fully supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation."

The vehicles have not been recalled at this point. Federal safety regulators have opened an "engineering analysis," a move that sometimes precedes a vehicle recall.

"Customers reported a range of fire conditions ranging from minor overheating to an open flame at the headliner and/or sun visor material while driving the vehicle," said NHTSA in its summary of the probe. "In some reports, the fire spread to the front seats and/or door panels of the vehicle. In one report, the sunroof was damaged, causing the glass to shatter."

NHTSA said the cause of the fires is an electrical short in the vanity lighting wiring circuit that is routed to either one of the sun visors. The visors are mounted to the roof of the vehicle through the headliner with three screws.

The visor wiring may be penetrated or pierced by one of these screws either during initial vehicle assembly or subsequent headliner area repairs.

"The piercing causes an electrical short that could result in a fire," NHTSA said.

The Durango uses the same headliner assembly as the one in the Grand Cherokee and Chrysler "indicates there are similar headliner fire incidents affecting this model, therefore, these vehicles have been added to the scope of the investigation," NHTSA said.

Edmunds says: There's nothing for consumers to do at this point, except to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their work. But if you own one of the aforementioned vehicles and notice a problem, get it into the dealership immediately.

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