Honestly, one is beginning to wonder if the only safe mode of individual transport left to us is hoverboards; except we do know that not all of those are safe, either. After GM recalled 4.3B vehicles due to a software problem with a “sensing and diagnostic module that controls airbag deployment,” we now have a Fiat Chrysler airbag recall of 1.9M vehicles. Just as with the GM recall, the Fiat Chrysler recall has nothing to do with the Takata crisis, the largest vehicle recall in the history of recalls.
The Fiat Chrysler recall is over a “defect [that] is similar but not identical” to the GM issue. In the case of Fiat Chrysler (FC), the recall is due to the “occupational restraint controller – a computer that controls the deployment of airbags and automatic seat-belt tighteners” during accidents. Certain front-impact sensor wiring routing is also included in the defect. To date, this defect may have caused five injuries and three deaths.
So, exactly what issues does this defect cause? Well, it might not deploy the airbags and tighten the seat-belts in an accident or, it might just activate the system while you’re driving down the road. It all depends. Really comforting, no?
The vehicles included in the U.S. recall are:
- 2010 Chrysler Sebring
- 2011 – 2014 Chrysler 200s
- 2010 – 2012 Dodge Calibers
- 2010 – 2014 Dodge Avengers
- 2010 – 2014 Jeep Patriots and Compasses
There are 81,901 vehicles being recalled in Mexico and 142,959 in Canada. In Mexico, this recall also includes the 2010 Chrysler Cirrus compact model.
The 2012 – 2013 Lancia Flavias (sold outside North America) are also part of the worldwide recall and total 59,191 units.
The silver lining to this latest automotive debacle is that, according to FC spokesman Eric Mayne, “FCA US no longer uses the occupant restraint controllers or wire routing design found in the affected vehicles.” The company didn’t provide a start date for recall repairs. Mr. Mayne said FC is still “finalizing” that part.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued FC a $105M fine in July 2015 over the way the company handled almost two dozen recalls of about 11M vehicles. Then, in December 2015 NHTSA hit FC with another $70M fine because the company failed to report information on vehicle accident injuries and deaths since 2003.
If you have one of the recalled models, the company advises that you can call Dodge at 800-853-1403 to find out how to schedule repair service.