Fiat Chrysler Issues Two Recalls Over Steering Column Wiring and Alternator Concerns

Looks like auto recalls are just going to be a regular thing, these days. This time, Fiat Chrysler has announced a total of two new recalls affecting more than 1.3 million vehicles around the world. The recalls are aimed at fixing alternators that malfunction in a way which could cause the engine to stall; or a wiring issue which could cause air bags to unexpectedly deploy.

The latter recall—faulty wiring—covers roughly 771,000 Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont SUV models manufactured between 2011 and 2015. According to Fiat Chrysler, these wires can chafe against the steering wheel trim, which could result in a short circuit in the steering column. This could not only result in unexpected deployment of the airbags, though, it can also cause the wipers to start unexpectedly or cause other switches to fail.

So far, only 8 injuries have been reported in relation to this malfunction.

The former recall—malfunctioning alternator—however, could affect nearly 566,000 Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Durango SUV models manufactured between 2011 and 2014. This recall also covers some Jeep Grand Cherokee models made between 2012 and 2014. In addition to engine stalling, the alternator issue can cause the alternator to wear down prematurely and this can result in more than just engine stalling. The problem can also compromise the antilock braking system or electronic stability control. Fortunately, it does not affect basic braking. In addition, the malfunction can also cause the engine to overheat which also raises the risk for fire.

The good news—if there is any—is that these malfunctions might also result in odd warning lights in the instrument panel that can cue in to the fact that you may want to get your car looked at. In regards to the alternator problem, for example, instrument-cluster warning lights might illuminate or you could see smoke or smell a burning odor. With the air bag issue, the air-bag warning light might illuminate or the wipers could start without command; or some switches may not work.

If you own any of the vehicles mentioned above, you are urged to contact a dealership for a repair, particularly if you are experiencing any of the related issues.

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