Drive Type: RWD
Columbia Station, Ohio, United States
Early last month, we reported on Chrysler issuing a preemptive, proactive recall for about 25,000 units of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. The issue revolved around a brake system that wasn't causing any actual problems, but delivered an unsatisfactory brake feel, so Auburn Hills called in a good 25,000 of SUVs around the world, including 18,700 in the United States.
Now Chrysler, having apparently determined that the brake problem on its sport utes is actually much bigger than it initially realized, has drastically broadened the scope of the recall. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall for precisely 655,354 examples of the Grand Cherokee and Durango, covering the 2011 through 2014 model years. In addition, Chrysler is recalling 42,380 units in Canada, 21,376 in Mexico and 159,685 overseas.
The problem which Chrysler found revolves around the brake booster, whose center shell has been found to be subject to corrosion, allowing water to get into the brake system. That water in turn could freeze, preventing the brakes from working as well as expected.
Dodge and Jeep are announcing recalls of a total of 895,000 Durango and Grand Cherokee models worldwide from the 2011 through 2014 model years. There's a possibility that the wiring in the sun visor can short circuit and cause a fire. It specifically affects vehicles built between January 5, 2010, and December 11, 2013, and there are approximately 651,000 of them in the US, 45,700 in Canada, 23,000 in Mexico and 175,000 outside of North America.
Screws that fasten the sunvisor to the headliner may pierce wires in the visor, if the part has been removed or serviced, potentially causing a fire risk. If the wires short circuit, they could overheat and potentially combust. The automakers report three injuries caused by this defect, and according to the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "there may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents."
To fix the problem, Dodge and Jeep will inspect the vehicles for suspect wiring, and all of the models, whether damaged or not, will get a new sun visor spacer with a wire guide to stop the possibility of short circuits. According to the automakers' announcement, "this condition is not present in vehicles which have not had the headliner or vanity mirror serviced." They will notify affected owners, and repairs will begin in August.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.