Chrysler announced that it is recalling approximately 469,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Commanders.
Model years 2005-2010 Jeep Grand Cherokees and model years 2006-2010 Jeep Commanders are involved in the recall, according to AutoBlog. Of the total recalls, 295,000 of the vehicles are in the United States, about 33,000 are in Canada and Mexico, and the rest are in other markets.
An electrical fault in the transfer case allows the recalled Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Commanders to shift into neutral on their own, according to AutoBlog. An Associated Press report indicates that Chrysler had “found cracks in a circuit board that turns the four-wheel-drive system on and off.”
A consumer incident—an owner started his vehicle remotely and it rolled away—prompted the recall, according to AutoBlog. Chrysler is scheduled to begin notifying vehicle owners of the defect June 2013. Consumers will then be able to take the recalled Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Commanders to the dealers where a final drive controller will be re-flashed at no cost.
Last year, a recall was issued on more than one million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles because they had several defective safety features that posed serious injury risks to drivers and passengers. That recall involved 775,000 Jeep SUVs in model years 2002-2004. The recall was prompted because the control module for the airbag was found to be defective and could result in the front or curtain airbags deploying without warning, even in the absence of a collision.
Seat belt pretensioners may also be unexpectedly deployed in these vehicles, which may result in serious injuries for drivers and passengers and could also cause a driver to lose focus and control of the vehicle and, depending on the situation, could result in an automobile accident.
In 2011, a consumer protection group called for a recall of Jeep Grand Cherokees manufactured from the 1993 through 2004, claiming they were susceptible to fires when hit from behind. According to a report in The New York Times, the Center for Auto Safety claimed that the Grand Cherokee’s fuel system is more dangerous in such a collision compared to competing vehicles built at the same time.
The Center for Auto Safety petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recall these Jeep Grand Cherokees back in 2009. According to the Times, the group said that crash test data showed the vehicles are unsafe. Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety told the Times, at the time of the recall, that the crash tests, performed on 1995, 1996, and 1999 Grand Cherokees, showed significant gasoline leaks.