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Eric T. Chaffin
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NHTSA Investigating Reports of Ignition Switch Problems in some Chrysler Vehicles

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GM isn’t the only Detroit automaker under the watchful eye of the NHTSA.  Chrysler is now involved in two investigations potentially related to a faulty ignition switch that can stop air bags from deploying.  This is part of the NHTSA’s quest to figure out any and all connections between problematic ignition switches and airbag use.  The investigations could lead to other recalls for additional manufacturers down the road.

According to reports from the NHTSA, the Office of Defects Investigation, or ODI, received about 32 complaints stating “the operator’s knee/leg can inadvertently contact the ignition key fob/chain causing the ignition switch to be turned to the OFF or ACC position.”  This allegedly happened in the following model vehicles:

• 2005-2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee
• 2006-2007 Jeep Commander

The ignition switch turning to the off position caused the engine to turn off and could impact the operation of air bags in the vehicle.

Another investigation involved complaints from consumers that on “rough roadway conditions the key can rotate within the ignition module from the RUN position to the ACC position.”  These complaints involved these vehicles:

• (MY) 2010 Dodge Journey
• Grand Caravan
• Chrysler Town & Country

The recall for these vehicles was issued in March 2011.

Chrysler Recalls Other Vehicles in 2014

In March 2014, Chrysler recalled over 40,000 Dodge Charger sedans, model years 2011-2012.  This was due to parts of headlamps and jumper harnesses overheating.  The company also recalled over 18,000 2012-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs for an issue with their braking systems.  It also recalled over 18,000 2014 Fiat 500Ls for trouble shifting gears.

Then, in May 2014, Chrysler recalled 780,000 minivans due to reports of power window switches overheating and catching fire.

Always remember to take your vehicle to your dealership or call and find out if your vehicle is on a recall list.  You should be able to get the issue fixed without paying a fee.