Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will recall almost 5 million vehicles suffering from potentially dangerous cruise control problems.
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The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based manufacturer notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on May 23, 2018 they will recall approximately 4.8 million 2014-2018 Dodge Journey, 2014-2018 Dodge Charger, 2014-2018 Dodge Durango, 2014-2018 Dodge RAM 2500, 2014-2018 Dodge RAM 3500, 2014-2018 Dodge RAM 3500 Cab Chassis, 2014-2018 Dodge RAM 4500 Cab Chassis, 2014-2018 Dodge RAM 5500 Cab Chassis, 2014-2018 Jeep Cherokee, 2014-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2014-2018 Chrysler 300, 2014-2019 Dodge RAM 1500, 2015-2018 Dodge Challenger, 2015-2017 Chrysler 200, 2016-2018 Dodge RAM 3500 Cab Chassis, 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacific and 2018 Jeep Wrangler vehicles built between Feb. 7, 2013 and May 16, 2018.
The affected vehicles contain Engine Control Module (ECM) and Powertrain Control Module (PCM) software that can keep the driver from canceling cruise control. In some cases the vehicle will lock in its current speed and unless the driver shifts into neutral or hits the brakes the vehicle will maintain speed or possibly accelerate, increasing crash risk.
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Powertrain engineers first observed an inability to cancel cruise control during October 2017 testing. Engineers began their investigation on October 6, 2017, seeking to understand both the failure’s technical aspects as well as determining the defect’s spread.
The NHTSA received the first and so-far only report of a defect-related incident on March 2, 2018, affecting a 2017 Dodge Journey being used as an Avis rental vehicle. FCA purchased the vehicle from Avis for further study in April 2018. Engineers were able to successfully replicate the defect at an NHTSA testing facility in Ohio, but have not yet determined the defect’s root cause.
FCA determined on May 12, 2018 to conduct a safety recall.
FCA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the software, and perform a software flash on the engine or powertrain control module, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 6, 2018. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Note: Owners are advised to stop using cruise control until the software update has been performed. In the event that cruise control cannot be disengaged while driving, owners should firmly and steadily apply the brakes and shift the transmission to neutral, placing the vehicle in park once it has stopped. Owners can also visit the NHTSA’s website and enter their VIN to see if their vehicle is included in any recalls.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer is legally required to fix any recalled problems for free. If the dealership refuses to fix the part or tries to charge you for the repair, contact the manufacturer immediately. The Highway Safety Act of 1970, which created the NHTSA, requires car manufacturers to pay for the recall and replacement of a defective part.
If the manufacturer fails to repair, replace, repurchase, or provide your recalled vehicle’s loss value, they are violating the warranty and a lawyer may be able to help you. Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.