Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling the 2017 Dodge Challenger to address a problem with the car's transmission. A software glitch could allow owners to think their vehicle is in park when in fact, it's not.
This isn't the first issue that FCA has had with shifters in recent years. An electronic shifter manufactured by ZF confounded many Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep owners, resulting in 41 injuries, a recall of 1.1 million vehicles, and the death of a budding Hollywood actor. The automaker was on the receiving end of at least two lawsuits related to the faulty component.
The Challenger's issue stems from a different problem, but it could potentially yield similar results. That problem is rooted in the transmission control module software, which can cause the Challenger's shifter and instrumentation to indicate that the car is in park when in fact, it's not. If that should happen, and if a driver gets out of the vehicle without manually turning off the ignition, the Challenger may roll away, creating the possibility for injury.
Thankfully, FCA says that it knows of no accidents or injuries associated with the software flaw. FCA also notes that "If the vehicles fail to achieve 'park,' a warning chime will be activated, along with this message in the instrument cluster: 'Service Trans … Press Brake When Stopped … Key Off Engine to Engage Park.'"
The recall affects 2017 Dodge Challenger models that came equipped with 5.7L V8 engines and eight-speed automatic transmissions. All told, 7,802 vehicles in the U.S. will need to be repaired, as will 390 cars registered in Canada and 119 from elsewhere.
FCA will begin mailing recall notices to owners around August 21, 2017. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their cars to dealerships for service. Dealers will update the Challenger's transmission control module software at no charge.
If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, you're encouraged to contact FCA customer service at 1-800-853-1403 and ask about recall T41. Alternately, you can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and inquire about safety campaign #17V-431.