Fiat Chrysler USA is updating a recall involving more than 700,000 SUVs and minivans. The issue is over a faulty ignition switch that can unexpectedly turn off the engine in certain situations. FCA USA says road conditions or a jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move into the off or accessory position, turning off the engine. If that happens it can disable the air bags, power steering and power brakes.
The automaker first issued the recall last year, but has since determined that the original fix, to replace part of the switch along with updating some software, will take too long. Now FCA US says the quicker and better solution is to just replace the whole unit, so that is what it is now advising owners it will do.
Reuters reports the new recall covers Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country minivans from 2008 to 2010 model years and Dodge Journey SUVs from 2009 to 2010. Some of the vehicles had previously been recalled for the same issue.
The automaker is telling its customers to remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key, until the switches can be fixed. If there is a key fob, it should also be removed, according to Fiat Chrysler documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Fiat Chrysler USA said it expects to begin replacing the defective ignition switches for the 2008-2009 minivans and SUVs in April and the 2010 vehicles in August.
General Motors experienced a similar ignition switch problem and recalled nearly six million vehicle in the U.S. last year. As of Monday, the number of families ruled eligible for compensation from General Motors for loved ones’ deaths in crashes caused by defective ignition switches is up to 64 from 57 last week. Numbers are updated every Monday as investigators continue to comb through claims.