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Chrysler recalling 780k minivans over fire risk

Fri, 09 May 2014

Chrysler is recalling 780,000 of its Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2010 to 2014 model years due to the possibility of circuits overheating, which can lead to a fire. Of the 780,000 total vans being recalled, Chrysler estimates that 644,850 are in the US, 106,980 are in Canada, 8,009 are in Mexico, and 20,638 are in other markets. All of the affected vehicles were built between August 25, 2010 and October 31, 2013.

Chrysler's engineers discovered that beverage spills or exposure to moisture (from rain, snow, car washes, and the like) were linked to circuits shorting in the window switch assembly. Short circuits can overheat, and thus, cause a fire.

Chrysler will contact owners and let them know when they may schedule service, at which point, the window switches will be replaced. In the interim, the automaker says that owners may visit their dealers after May 14 to have the switches disconnected.

A total of 36 "incidents" have occurred as a result of this problem, Chrysler said in a statement, though the company is unaware of any injuries or accidents related to this problem. Chrysler points out that the 36 incidents represent less than 0.005 percent of the affect vehicles.

The automaker's official statement can be read in the press release, below.

Statement: Power Window-Vent Switch

May 9, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group is replacing window switches in an estimated 780,000 minivans equipped with third-row power window vents following incidents of overheating.

Chrysler Group is unaware of any related injuries or accidents. Affected customers will be contacted directly and advised when they may schedule service. Associated costs will be borne by the Company.

In the interim, customers may visit their dealers after May 14 to have the vent switches disconnected. This will eliminate any risks associated with the issue and affects only third-row window-vent operation.

Alerted by warranty data, Chrysler Group engineers launched an investigation and found a link between short circuits and beverage spills on the vent switch, as well as direct exposure to moisture from rain, snow or car washes.

Short circuits may cause overheating. However, known incidents total 36 – less than 0.005 percent of the vehicles subject to this campaign.

Affected are certain model-year 2010-2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans, assembled between Aug. 25, 2010 and Oct. 31, 2013. An estimated 644,850 are in the U.S.; 106,980 are in Canada; 8,009 are in Mexico and 20,638 vehicles are outside the NAFTA region.

Customers who are concerned may call 1-800-853-1403.

Chrysler Group takes seriously its commitment to safety and is conducting this campaign voluntarily. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been advised.

By Steven J. Ewing

See also: Merged Fiat-Chrysler HQ will be in London, Share price falls on skepticism of Chrysler-Fiat five-year plan, Marchionne: Midsize pickup still not in the cards; Ram 1500, Jeep Wrangler could use aluminum.