Vehicle Safety
October 27, 2016

Fiat Chrysler Airbags May Not Deploy; 224K Jeep Wranglers Recalled

Jeep Chrysler Fiat Recalls, Jeep Wrangler SUV Recall, Airbag Recalls, Vehicle Safety

Vehicle Safety News: 224K Jeep Wranglers Recalled

The year of Fiat Chrysler’s ceaseless recalls continue this week as more than 224,000 Jeep Wrangler SUVs have been recalled globally—at least 180,000 in the U.S.—because of a wiring problem that can stop airbags from deploying properly in an accident. Fiat Chrysler’s latest recall affects 2016 and 2017 Jeep Wranglers manufactured between June 16, 2015 and August 14, 2016. The company claimed that the electric malfunction has not led to any injuries or accidents, but can potentially cause the sensor to become disconnected in a crash, disabling the airbag and a seatbelt tightening mechanism.

This is not the first or only time this year that Fiat Chrysler has faced airbags not deploying in their vehicles when they should. In May, they had to recall around 500,000 Jeep Wrangler SUVs from 2007-2010 because the clockspring in the wheel prevented the airbags from initiating. And just last month, on September 15th, the multinational corporation recalled 1.9 million additional vehicles, including 2010-2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs (but not Wranglers), because the airbags were also not deploying properly and linked to several deaths. That recall also included 2010 Chrysler Sebrings, 2011-2014 Chrysler 200s, 2010-2012 Dodge Calibers and 2010-2014 Dodge Avengers.

Unconnected to Previous Airbag Recalls

Fiat Chrysler alleged that they discovered the most recent defect, unconnected from their past airbag recalls, during a routine in house test and notified authorities after an internal investigation. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that Fiat Chrysler did not report the malfunction until October 11th after learning about the problem on July 8th. Meanwhile, the seventh largest automaker in the world stated that they identified the issue; the airbag sensor’s wiring had been moved behind the headlights in the new Wrangler model and could disconnect in a crash. Fiat Chrysler indicated that the wiring had been relocated in all Jeep Wranglers assembled after August 14th and those with Wranglers manufactured before then will be notified and their SUVs will be rewired at no cost to the owner.

This raises the question, if Fiat Chrysler learned about the problem in July and fixed the defect in August, why did they wait until October to notify the NHTSA about the affected Wranglers? According to official documents Fiat Chrysler “has not yet provided a notification schedule” for owners and there is no current estimate. Until their SUVs are fixed, drivers will get behind the wheel of their Jeep Wranglers not sure if the airbag will deploy adequately in an accident or else they will be forced to find alternate means of transportation.

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