Two investigations covering 1.2 million vehicles could make Chrysler the next company to announce a major recall to fix faulty ignition switches.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said today that it is conducting an investigation covering roughly 700,000 Gran Caravan and Town & Country and Journey minivans from the 2008 to 2010 model years after owners complained that the keys can shift from the “run” to the “accessory” mode while driving over rough roads.
As with the 2.6 million vehicles GM is currently in the process of fitting with replacement switches, the air bags in the vans will not deploy if the keys are in that position. So far, there have been 23 complaints filed with NHTSA about the issue, although the administration says it isn’t aware of any injuries related to the defect.
“Chrysler Group is awaiting additional information from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Company is prepared to cooperate fully with the investigation,” the company said in an official statement today.
When the driver twists the key to the “start” position and releases it, the spring can sometimes cause the key to travel past the “run” position, sitting between that point and “acc.” If that happens, the key can be jostled into “acc” if the vehicle is driven over hash roadway conditions.
Chrysler issued a recall for the same issue in March, 2011, but only covering vehicles from the 2010 model year.
Owner complaints filed with NHTSA allege that vehilces from the 2008 and 2009 model years have the same problem and that some 2010 vehicles still slipped into accessory mode after being serviced under the original campaign.
Under another investigation, NHTSA is probing 525,000 Jeep Commanders from 2006 – 2007 and Grand Cherokees from 2005 – 2006 because of 32 owner complaints describing situations where drivers bumped the key with their knee, knocking it into the accessory position. If that happens, the air bags won’t deploy during a crash.
Last week, GM announced that it is recalling all of its fifth-generation Camaros for the same reason.