Unexpected airbag deployment forces recall on older model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs

A recall has been issued on more than million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty sport-utility vehicles because they have several defective safety features that pose serious injury risks to drivers and passengers.

According to a report from Examiner.com, the recall includes 775,000 of these Jeep SUVs in the model years between 2002 and 2004. The recall was announced in October in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and was necessary because the control module for the airbag is defective. This can result in the front or curtain airbags deploying without warning, even if their hasn’t been a collision. Seat belt pretensioners may also be unexpectedly deployed in these vehicles.

Unexpected deployment of airbags can result in serious injuries for drivers and passengers. It could also cause a driver to lose focus and control of the vehicle and depending on the situation, it could result in an automobile accident. To date, Chrysler LLC, the maker of Jeep SUVs, has received less than 20 reports of the airbags in these older model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles deploying without warning in a non-crash situation. No injuries or accidents have been reported from that limited number of incidents. 

In a statement announcing the recall, David Dillon, Chrysler’s Head of Product Investigations and Campaigns, said, “A design change to a supplied component was linked to a small number of inadvertent air bag deployments, and in keeping with the best interests of our customers, we initiated a recall campaign.”

A total of 775,000 of the recalled Jeep vehicles were sold in the U.S. Another 49,000 were sold in Canada and 20,000 in Mexico. An undetermined amount of these vehicles were sold outside of North America.

Chrysler has offered to correct the malfunctioning device for customers with affected vehicles. According to the Examiner.com report, that involves Chrysler “installing an in-line jumper harness with an integrated electrical noise filter to correct the function of the installed seat belt/airbag deployment modules.”

The company is also offering to compensate its customers who may have had this defect fixed at their own cost in the past. Letters to owners of these vehicles are in the process of being sent. Being that many of the vehicles included in the recall are about 10 years old, it is possible that these vehicles have been sold to their second, third, or even fourth owners.

Examiner also notes that this is just the latest recall to be issued on older model vehicles due to a defective part that causes unexpected deployment of airbags. Other recent recalls of the same nature have been issued on Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Sante Fe vehicles, as well as the Ford Fiesta and Ford F-150.

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