Oakland, Maryland, United States
We won't beat around the bush: The all-wheel-drive Dodge Charger is not a brand new car. This generation launched in 2011, AWD models and all. But for 2013, Chrysler has added an optional sport package to the AWD model, available with both the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or the sweet, sweet 5.7-liter Hemi V8. The upgrades for this new sport pack are mainly cosmetic; a gloss black grille, new 19-inch alloy wheels and body-colored rear spoiler make up the list of exterior changes. Inside, there are new sport seats and paddle shifters, and the eight-speed automatic transmission has been reflashed for better performance.
But because vehicles like the Dodge Charger mainly stick out in our minds as being rear-drive bruisers, Chrysler wanted to give us the opportunity to test out the LX platform's foul-weather prowess. And perhaps no place more appropriate to test such a system was way up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the dead of winter.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its Ram brand following a number of reports regarding the 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. According to 15 consumer complaints, the trucks' rear differential locked up while in other cases, the driveshaft separated at its connection to the diff.
Nearly half of the reports claim the truck was traveling at or above 50 miles per hour, while two consumers reported that the diff lockup/driveshaft separation sent their pickups into a spin. Most troubling, though, is that consumers reported little to no sound indicating there was a problem with their truck.
We reached out to Ram for additional information, such as how many vehicles may be affected or what equipment might be fitted that could cause the issue. Unfortunately, the company wasn't willing to elaborate on specifics.
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.