Feds Probe 1.2 Million Chrysler Vehicles for Ignition Problems That Could Disable Airbags | Edmunds

Feds Probe 1.2 Million Chrysler Vehicles for Ignition Problems That Could Disable Airbags


Just the Facts:
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened two investigations into 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles, including the 2005-'06 Jeep Grand Cherokee, because the ignition switch can inadvertently rotate out of the "run" position and disable the airbags in a crash.
  • Also under investigation are an estimated 700,000 2008-'10 Dodge Grand Caravan and Journey and Chrysler Town & Country vehicles because in rough roadway conditions, the key can rotate within the ignition module from the "run" position to the "accessory" mode.
  • NHTSA also is investigating an estimated 525,000 2006-'07 Jeep Commander and 2005-'06 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles after complaints that the driver's knee can contact the ignition key fob/chain and cause the ignition to be turned to the "off" or "accessory" position.

WASHINGTON The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened two investigations into 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles, including the 2005-'06 Jeep Grand Cherokee, because the ignition switch can inadvertently rotate out of the "run" position and disable the airbags in a crash.

Under investigation are an estimated 700,000 2008-'10 Dodge Grand Caravan and Journey and Chrysler Town & Country vehicles because in rough roadway conditions, the key can rotate within the ignition module from the "run" position to the "accessory" mode.

NHTSA also is investigating an estimated 525,000 2006-'07 Jeep Commander and 2005-'06 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles after complaints that the driver's knee can contact the ignition key fob/chain and cause the ignition to be turned to the "off" or "accessory" position.

"If this occurs, the vehicle's airbags may not deploy in the event of a frontal crash," said NHTSA regarding both investigations.

Federal safety regulators have received 23 complaints, but no reports of crashes, injuries or fatalities in the minivan and Dodge Journey investigation.

There are 32 complaints and one reported crash in the other investigation.

"Chrysler Group is awaiting additional information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," the company said in a statement. "The company is prepared to cooperate fully with the investigation."

Chrysler recalled the 2010 Dodge Journey, Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country for "inadvertent ignition key rotation from the 'run' position to the 'accessory' position" in March 2011.

"According to Chrysler, when the vehicle is initially started and the ignition key is released from the 'start' position, a spring force rotates the key back to the 'run' position," said NHTSA in its summary of the probe. "However, in some instances, the switch may over-travel, leaving the ignition key between the 'run' and 'accessory' position. While in this intermediate position, harsh roadway conditions or driver interaction with the ignition key can cause the switch to move to the 'accessory' position, which may disable the frontal airbags in a crash where deployment is warranted."

A review of consumer complaints "identified a number of owners alleging that the 2008-'09 vehicles may have a similar defect as the 2010 vehicles. In addition, some 2010 model owners have reported that they have experienced the defect condition after the recall remedy was applied."

Edmunds says: The aforementioned vehicles have not been recalled at this point, so there is no need for consumers to take action now. However, if you are experiencing a problem with your vehicle, take it into your dealership.

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