Key-Fob Slip Prompts Recall of 248,000 Chryslers
Chrysler is recalling about 248,000 vehicles because driving over rough roads can cause the key to move slightly and turn off the engine.
In the new filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler said the affected models were the 2010 Dodge Journey and Grand Caravan, as well as the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country.
Those vehicles use a key fob that fits into the dash. Chrysler told the safety agency that it began an investigation in September when it observed an uptick in owner complaints relating to engines suddenly shutting off.
According to the automaker’s findings, drivers may experience what it calls “inadvertent ignition key displacement,” in which the key slips from the “on” position to “accessory,” shutting off the engine.
N.H.T.S.A. has received about 35 consumer complaints on its Web site about the problem. However, the safety agency has never opened a defect investigation.
In an e-mail, Jose Alberto Ucles, an agency spokesman, said the agency scrutinized complaints as they came in. “Chrysler moved quickly to identify the issue early in the service history of these 2010 model year vehicles and conducted an appropriate recall,” he wrote.
“This is the fourth time I have been driving around with my three, young children and the van has died entirely,” wrote one woman on the N.H.T.S.A. Web site.
Chrysler said it received 32 complaints, 465 warranty claims and news of “two alleged rear collisions.”
In other actions this week:
• Honda is recalling 2006-7 Civic Hybrids for a problem with their DC-to-DC converters. The systems “may experience an internal failure that could lead to engine stalling and malfunction of vehicle headlights,” the automaker said in a statement on Thursday.
The automaker said that an assembly inspection could lead to damage of a critical diode, which could allow that diode to degrade. “If the diode fails from this damage, it can cause a short circuit that blows the vehicles’ main 12-volt fuse,” wrote Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, in an e-mail. “Once this fuse blows, the vehicle will stall, and the headlights will not function.”
Honda said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries resulting from the problem.
• Almost 1,400 school buses are being recalled by Starcraft Bus of Goshen, Ind., because the buses’ body panels can collapse in a crash. The company told the safety agency that a structural adhesive used on the interior and exterior aluminum body panels might be missing.
The company said it learned of the problem after an agency contractor called to say it planned to test one of its vehicles. While compiling documents for that test, Starcraft discovered the problem.
• Ford is recalling about 8,000 vehicles for a wiring problem in a body-control module that handles functions like headlights and turn signals. The condition may result in a short circuit and a fire in “unattended vehicles.”
The models affected, however, were recalled late last year as part of an action that covered 14,700 vehicles. Ford said that software on some of the scanning tools used by dealers to locate the faulty body-control modules were not reading the correct characters. Consequently, Ford cannot be certain that it found all the defective modules.
The automaker said it learned of the problem after discovering “a lower than expected replacement rate” for the number of vehicles checked.
The affected vehicles, all 2011 models, are the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers, as well as Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 pickup trucks.
• In a separate action, Ford said it was recalling about 24,000 Ranger pickup trucks from 2010 that are equipped with 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engines because a fuel line could chafe against a throttle body shield and leak gasoline.