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Jeep, Dodge, Fiat and Toyota Issue Latest Recalls

March 12, 2014

In February, General Motors issued a major recall that is still in the headlines. This month, other automakers issued recalls of their own.

The first is Chrysler, which issued two recalls. One recall is for the 2012-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango; the other is for the 2014 Fiat 500L.

The problem with the Grand Cherokees and Durangos involves the Ready Alert Braking system. This function, which prepares the brakes for an impending collision or abrupt stop when such is identified, caused the ‘brake pedal feel’ to be unsatisfactory for drivers. A parts supplier for Chrysler was convinced that one of its parts might be impeding the system and notified the automaker.

Chrysler eventually found that the brake fluids used in the vehicles were indeed hindered, resulting in the weak pedal feel. The company seeks to address the problem by reprogramming the vehicles’ anti-lock brake system to improve the flow of the brake fluid.

Chrysler maintains that there are no reports of accidents that have occurred due to this flaw. The recall involves 25,250 vehicles, 18,700 of which were bought in the United States.

Meanwhile, the problem with the Fiat 500L involves the transmission software. Customer complaints compelled Chrysler to consider a problem with the dual dry clutch automatic transmissions. According to a press release, the said transmissions do not easily shift out of park or takes a long time to shift to the gear the driver has chosen. An investigation by the company’s engineers found that the component causing the problem was the microcontroller, which is said to be ‘compromised’ by extreme temperatures.

Chrysler intends to fix the seemingly mechanical concern through software reprogramming. It will update the software for the dual dry clutch automatic transmissions. However, 200 of the affected models would need more than a software update—these require new shift-modules that are compatible with the new software.

The Fiat recall involves about 19,500 vehicles, 18,100 of which can be found in the U.S. Because the recall affects a new model, 20 percent of the recalled vehicles are still on dealership lots.

Regarding all the aforementioned recalls, Chrysler has yet to say when it will start notifying customers and scheduling the repairs, the cost of which will be shouldered by the company.

As for Toyota, the Japanese automaker is requesting the return of the 2014 Highlander crossover SUVs because of a concern with a seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the middle seat belt in the vehicle’s third row may not be properly fastened to the floor. This means that in the event of a crash, the seat belt may not effectively restrain the passenger and therefore increase his/her risk of injury.

The recall, which will start this month, affects 7,067 vehicles. Toyota will be notifying the owners of the affected vehicles soon so they can schedule a visit to the dealers to have the seat belt properly secured to the floor. The automaker will be covering the cost of the repair.

Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said that no accidents or injuries caused by the seat belt problem have been reported.

Photo credit: Abdullah AlBargan/ Flickr/ CC BY-ND

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