WASHINGTON — FCA US has notified federal safety regulators that it will replace the entire ignition switch on previously recalled 2008-'10 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans and 2009-'10 Dodge Journey SUVs, a change that should speed up the repair process for affected consumers.
The recall affects 702,578 vehicles.
The ignition key can rotate from the ON/RUN position to the accessory position in the recalled vehicles.
"If this occurs, the engine stalls, power assist is affected and the airbags may not deploy in the event of a frontal crash due to disablement," according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to new documents posted on the NHTSA site, FCA US determined that the time it would take to replace a part within the ignition switch "would take significantly longer than replacing the affected WIN modules (ignition switches) with new, unaffected WIN modules."
"All these vehicles are covered by previously announced recalls and their owners were notified in accordance with regulation," wrote Eric Mayne, an FCA US spokesman, in response to a query from Edmunds on Sunday. "These vehicles will be outfitted with new ignition switches and all affected owners will be advised when they may schedule service."
Owners of the 2008-'09 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Journey should expect to get recall notices starting on April 6 advising them to schedule a service appointment with their dealer.
Owners of the 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Journey should expect to receive recall notices on August 3.
"Until this recall is performed, customers should remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key," Chrysler said in a NHTSA document. "The key fob, if applicable, should also be removed from the key ring."
Owners can contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403.
NHTSA said on March 2 that it is closing an investigation into the aforementioned vehicles based on the new action by FCA US.
Edmunds says: A faster and better solution is on the way to dealerships, which is good news for owners who have been frustrated by the slow repair process in this recall.