Chrysler is conducting a voluntary safety recall involving 744,822 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs due to concerns over unintended deployment of airbags.
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website says that the recall involves 200-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty SUVs. The dates of manufacture for the Grand Cherokee are from February 13, 2001 through May 23, 2003. For the Jeep Liberty, the dates are January 9, 2001 through March 28, 2003.
2003 Jeep Liberty LimitedEnlarge Photo
The NHTSA bulletin describes the problem this way: “A component in the airbag control module may fail causing the front airbags, side curtain airbags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated.”
Such an unintended deployment increases the risk of minor injuries to occupants and the possibility of a crash.
Documentation from Chrysler (PDF) shows that the company received reports of 215 inadvertent airbag deployments (126 in Jeep Liberty and 89 in Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and 81 minor injuries that resulted. The injuries included burns, cuts and bruises to the upper body.
Chrysler said that a review of field data indicated that the airbag warning lamp and/or chime are activated before an inadvertent airbag deployment.
David Chilton, Chrysler’s head of product investigations and campaigns, told The Detroit News, “A design change to a small component was linked to a small number of inadvertent airbag deployments,” which led to Chrysler’s move to initiate the voluntary safety recall.
The current safety recall occurs after the NHTSA opened a preliminary evaluation in October 2011, followed by an upgrade to an engineering analysis in January 2012.
What Chrysler will do
To address the problem, Chrysler will notify owners and dealers will install a supplemental jumper harness to the airbag control module. The repairs will be performed at no charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during January 2013.
In the meantime, owners of 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty SUVs with any questions or concerns may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753, referencing the Chrysler recall #M35.
Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to https://www.safercar.gov. Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V527000.