Chrysler Recalls Some Older Jeeps For Ignition Switch Trouble

Chrysler launched a recall Tuesday involving ignition switches on some older Jeep SUVs. The recall is similar to the problem that forced General Motors to recall millions of cars this year. Chrysler also recalled vehicles earlier this month for the same issue.

The manufacturer explained in the recall that the ignition switch in older model Jeeps can be bumped by the driver’s knee, moving the ignition out of the “on” position, shutting off the engine, killing the power assist to the steering and brakes, and disabling air bags.

USA Today reports that the problem is the same as what GM reported in some of the cars it recalled for ignition-switch-related faults this year.

Chrysler stated that 792,000 vehicles are in the pool of SUVs affected by the problem. The actual number being recalled hasn’t been determined, but the company said that 649,900 of the affected cars are in the United States.

Only one accident has been reported related to the problem and there have been about 100 complaints. No injuries have been reported.

In contrast, GM has linked 13 deaths and 54 accidents to the switch defect in 2.19 million cars it recalled in the United States in February and March. Another three deaths were linked to the 10.72 million vehicles GM has recalled since them for ignition switch flaws. The two automakers reportedly used different suppliers for their switches.

Tuesday’s recall is the result of two investigations opened by U.S. safety regulators last month as part of a broader problem into issues with ignition switches and air bags across the auto industry, according to ABC News. The agency didn’t say whether the investigation will lead to recalls at other automakers.

The investigation comes after GM acknowledged it knew about the ignition problem for over a decade but failed to recall the cars until this year. Safety reviews after the first recall forced the company to issue additional recalls.

In a recent statement, the NHTSA stated, “The GM Cobalt recall brought to light new information that NHTSA will use in the future to evaluate stalling issues.”

Vehicles involved in the Chrysler recall include 2006 and 2007 Jeep Commanders, and 2005 to 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The previous recall this month included older Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country minivans and Dodge Journey crossovers. A total of 892,000 vehicles were involved.

Until the vehicle is fixed, Chrysler urged owners to use only a single ignition key to operate the vehicle, rather than a bunch of keys on a key ring. The change creates less pressure on the switch mechanism. The advice in the Chrysler recall is the same that GM gives to owners of recalled cars.

[Image by weiglen]