Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has issued a recall for select 2006 Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Viper vehicles equipped with manual transmissions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that some of these vehicles may suffer from a problem with the clutch that could cause problems when starting the vehicle.
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The problem is linked to a faulty component manufactured by FTE automotve USA Inc. -- specifically, a spring located in the clutch pedal position switch, which is the device that prevents a stick-shifter from starting unless the clutch pedal is pressed. Unfortunately, that spring appears prone to breakage, and if that happens, one of two things could occur:
1. The vehicle may not start at all.
2. The vehicle may start without the clutch being pressed.
Option #1 is far more common, but option #2 is a definite possibility. In either case, NHTSA says that owners may receive a bit of advance warning about the problem, as NHTSA explains in a defect report: "Customers may hear noise from the broken springs within the switch when functioning the clutch pedal. Cruise control in gasoline vehicles will not function."
The recall affects 43,750 vehicles registered in the U.S. If you own one of them, be forewarned: FCA doesn't have ample parts in stock to fix your vehicle just yet.
FCA says that it will mail a preliminary recall notice to owners in June, alerting them to the problem. When repair parts become available, owners will receive a second notice, indicating that they can take their vehicles to a dealership for service. If you've already had this problem fixed, FCA will reimburse you. (Look for details in that preliminary recall notice.)
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If you have additional questions, you're encouraged to contact FCA customer service at 800-853-1403 and ask about recall #R13. If you like, you can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign 15V222000.