2007 Jeep Liberty Limited
NHTSA, however, says that it has "no reservations" about Chrysler's proposed fix. Hopefully, an explanation for NHTSA's attitude will be revealed when the agency issues its closing report on the investigation within the next few weeks.
On a practical note, Chrysler hasn't yet issued a formal recall notice, so we don't know when the company will begin inspecting and repairing vehicles. However, given the way that this recall has dragged on, we'd expect it to be fast-tracked, now that the fix has been approved by NHTSA.
Until we review NHTSA's final report, we won't be able to assess why the agency thinks that such an unusual use of trailer hitches is an appropriate fix for this very serious structural problem. For now, we can only give NHTSA the benefit of the doubt, assume that it has been thorough in its investigation, and that it has worked through a wide range of possible solutions.
That said, we understand that this is a complicated problem and far more difficult to resolve than most. After all, short of moving the gas tank entirely, there aren't many foolproof solutions. In the end, we hope that Chrysler understands that this imperfect fix will leave many owners feeling nervous and unsafe in their vehicles.
Our suggestion? While shifting the location of the gas tank is impossible, perhaps Chrysler could offer owners an added bonus if they were to trade in one of the affected vehicles for a new Jeep model. That would serve the double purpose of (a) making Jeep look like a good guy and (b) putting more people behind the wheels of newer, safer Jeep models.
Just a thought.