Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 121,000 Dodge Dart sedans from the 2013 and 2014 model year. The automaker says that problems with the Dart's braking system could increase the risk of accidents.
Specifically, the recall is linked to a flawed vacuum tube, which may reduce the effectiveness of the Dart's brake-assist. According to FCA, some 2013 and 2014 models:
"may have brake-booster vacuum-tube routing that inadvertently allows oil to reach the brake booster diaphragm, if ever the vacuum-pump check valve fails. Oil may degrade the diaphragm and lead to a loss of brake-assist – a feature that helps reduce stopping distances."
In addition to longer stopping distances, owners may notice that the Dart's brake pedal feels harder to depress. FCA also says that owners might hear a "pop or a sound consistent with a vacuum leak".
The company notes that the Dart's base brakes aren't affected by the problem, just the brake-assist system. To date, FCA knows of seven accidents and two injuries linked to the issue.
The recall is limited to 2013 and 2014 Dodge Darts built prior to January 24, 2014. It affects models with 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines, but not those with 1.4-liter engines.
All told, the Dart recall affects 121,603 vehicles worldwide, including:
- 105,458 registered in the U.S.
- 11,996 registered in Canada
- 3,705 registered in Mexico
- 444 registered in other countries
FCA says that it will send recall notices to Dart owners by mail, letting them know when they can take their vehicles to Dodge dealers for service. Dealers will inspect and replace the faulty vacuum tube. The vacuum pump, brake booster, and master cylinder may also be replaced, if necessary. The fixes will be carried out at no cost to owners.
If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, you're encouraged to calll FCA's Customer Information Center at 800-853-1403.