For the second time, Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall order for over a total of 700,000 SUVs and minivans due to defective ignition switches.
The 702,578 vehicles affected by the recall order will be undergoing a fix for the faulty ignition switches that can cause the engine to turn off unexpectedly, according to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The specific vehicle models included in the recall order are the minivans Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan models from 2008 to 2010 and the SUV Dodge Journey models from 2009 and 2010.
Fiat Chrysler has advised its customers that are driving the said vehicles to remove all the items included in their key rings to make the ignition key the only item on it until the defective ignition switches are fixed. Key fobs in the affected vehicles are also advised to be removed, according to the documents that the vehicle manufacturer sent to the NHTSA.
According to the company, certain road conditions or jarring events may lead to the ignition switch being moved to the accessory or off position, which unexpectedly turns off the vehicle's engine and disables the airbags, power brakes and power steering.
Not only does the driver lose all control of the vehicle when the ignition switch defect kicks in, one of the most significant components for car safety is disabled, which increases the potential for injuries and deaths.
Fiat Chrysler's time frame for fixing the faulty ignition switches is April for the affected vehicle models from 2008 and 2009 and August for the affected vehicle models from 2010. The Dodge Caravan, Dodge Journey and Chrysler Town and Country had already been recalled in 2011, but the fixes did not work to completely solve the problem.
The cause of the recall order is similar to the one that caused General Motors to issue recall orders for a total of 2.6 million vehicles in 2014.
General Motors also established a compensation fund for the victims of the company's faulty ignition switches. By Feb. 1, which is the last day for filing claims to the fund, victims making claims surged to a total of 4,180 cases.
General Motors officials, however, still expected the cost of the compensation fund to not surpass the expected $600 million.
Of the 4,180 claims received, 455 were death claims. At the time, the confirmed number of fatalities due to the ignition switches was 51 and the number of those seriously injured was 77.
Photo: Tim Wang | Flickr