Jeep Cherokee rollaway risk leads to recall from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 91,000 Jeep Cherokees because they could lose power while moving, or the park function may not engage when the SUVs are stationary, potentially creating a rollaway situation.
The company said it's aware of one accident but no injuries. Details on that crash were not immediately available.
The issue is separate from a problematic gearshift design, which has been linked to more than 266 rollaway crashes and 68 injuries, in 2012-14 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300s and 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokees.
That issue was tied to the 2016 death of "Star Trek" actor Anton Yelchin. His 2015 Grand Cherokee rolled backward down his driveway and crushed him.
For the current recall, FCA will start mailing notices next month. The company said customers "are reminded to use their parking brakes as recommended in their owners' manuals" in the meantime.
Customers with questions or concerns may call (800)-853-1403.
The recall affects 2014-17 Cherokees with a two-speed power transfer unit. Those with a single speed power transfer unit are not part of the recall.
FCA is proposing a transmission software fix for the issue, which it described as a driveline failure.
"A review of customer data prompted an FCA investigation that discovered a driveline connection may, in certain circumstances, slip," the company said. "Should this occur, it may lead to loss of propulsion and prevent the transmission from engaging park when the vehicle is stationary."
The software fix is designed to deliver propulsion by engaging rear-wheel drive as needed. If park isn't engaging, the software should automatically apply the parking brake, FCA said.
The recall affects 67,248 vehicles in the United States, 13,659 in Canada, 716 in Mexico and 9,940 in other parts of the world.
An FCA filing with federal regulators said about 1% of the vehicles have the defect. When asked whether the propulsion issue means a vehicle could slow to a crawl as it's pulling into traffic, a spokesman called it a rare scenario, which the software fix addresses by ensuring the SUV has power as needed.
FCA also announced a recall last week involving minivans.
On June 10, FCA said it was recalling 27,634 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans from model years 2017-20 to address a potential fire risk related to connections in the vehicles' 12-volt battery systems.
The systems power features such as radios and remote-control garage door openers, FCA noted.
The issue does not affect gas-powered minivans.
The company said it's aware of one minor injury related to the situation and a small number of fires – one in Minnesota and the rest in Canada.
Customers were asked to not park their vehicles inside structures or near other vehicles or to place wet items or liquids that could spill in the second-row seating area.
Recall notices are to be mailed next week. In the meantime, consumers can check recalls.mopar.com in the United States or recalls.mopar.ca in Canada and enter their vehicle identification numbers to determine whether their minivans are included.
Follow Eric D. Lawrence on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.