Chrysler Recalls 350K for Defective Igntion Keys

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

Chrysler Group announced a new recall today covering an estimated 349,442 vehicles spanning several nameplates because of possibly defective ignition keys.

The affected vehicles are part of the 2008 model year and include the Dodge Charger sedan, Magnum station wagon, Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs and Chrysler 300 sedans. Vehicles that fall under the recall may have ignition keys that won’t fully return to the “on” position after being twisted into the “start” position. If that happens, the windshield wipers and defrosters won’t work properly.

Chrysler said it is also possible, but less likely, that the key will slip past the “on” position completely. If that happens, the vehicle safety features including the front air bags will be disabled, the power steering will be lost, braking will be less effective and the engine will lose power. In an official statement, the company said today that it is aware of one accident that is “possibly” connected to the defect, but that it is not aware of any injuries caused by the defective parts.

The company is asking its customers to check that their keys are in the correct “on” position after starting their vehicle and that they avoid using key chains because it increases the likelihood of the key slipping out of position. The company said it will notify affected owners and ask them to bring their vehicle in for service at a dealer.

Earlier this week, the compensation fund General Motors established to pay victims of crashes linked to defective ignition switches in roughly 2.6 million vehicles said it would release offers for 15 victim compensation applications. The fund is being managed by compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg independently from General Motors.

During the course of the recall leading up to Feinburg’s appointment, GM maintained that it only knew of 13 deaths linked to crashes caused by the defective switches, but as of this week the compensation fund recognized 21 deaths that the company will compensate with no less than $1 million each.

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Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

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