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Is FCA Responsible For The Untimely Death Of Star Trek Actor Anton Yelchin?

Is FCA Responsible For The Untimely Death Of Star Trek Actor Anton Yelchin?

The tally for FCA’s shifter issue might raise to 121 accidents, 41 injuries, and one death.

It was just last April that we learned of a potential issue with the shifter used in the 2012 to 2013 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, and the 2014 to 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The problem with the shifter is that it is spring loaded, so it returns to a centered position after gear selection and according to the NHTSA, the “Monostable shifter is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.” FCA issued a voluntary recall for some 1.1 million vehicles, and one of the Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled could have been owned by Anton Yelchin – a young actor who was just killed in a roll-away accident involving his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Preliminary reports from the Los Angeles Police Department claim that Yelchin exited his car outside of his home around 1:10 a.m. Pacific time, at which point the vehicle proceeded to roll backward and crushed him against a brick pillar and a security fence. His injuries were traumatic, and Yelchin died at the scene. He was found by friends who came looking for him when he failed to show up for rehearsal. He was 27 years old and has acted in movies such as Like Crazy and Alpha Dog, as well as recent Star Trek films.

This is an unfortunate occurrence, and it just goes to show how auto manufacturers need to take things a little more seriously when it comes to design and integration of controls. Sure, FCA voluntarily recalled the affected vehicles and sent out a recall notice along with a reprint of instructions for the shifter that can be found in the owner’s manual. Sources indicate that the recall itself would include adding a chime that will go off when the driver’s door is open and the transmission isn’t in park, and a software update that will prevent the vehicle from rolling under different circumstances.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Jeep Recalls Nearly 500,000 Wranglers Due to Airbag Woes

Jeep Recalls Nearly 500,000 Wranglers Due to Airbag Woes

Steering column wiring harness can become clogged with dirt, stopping airbag deployment

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling nearly 500,000 Jeep Wrangler JKs for an issue with its airbag deployment. According to the automaker, the clockspring wiring connector inside the steering column can become clogged with dirt, leading to the driver’s side airbag failing to deploy.

Thankfully no injuries or accidents have been reported.

FCA says the issue is especially prone to happen on Wrangler’s that see extended off-roading with their tops or doors removed. An illuminated airbag warning light is a telltale sign of an issue, though is not a definitive sign either way.

The recall specifically covers 392,464 U.S.-based Wranglers from the 2007-2010 model years and 7,435 right-hand-drive postal service Wranglers from 2011-2016. Outside the U.S., another 35,412 Wranglers in Canada, 8,529 Wranglers in Mexico, and 62,580 Wranglers outside North America are said to be affected.

The clockspring wiring connector allows for a continuously wired connection despite the turning of the steering wheel. The ribbon-style harness controls everything from the horn and steering wheel controls, to the airbag.

Like with any recall, Wrangler owners are strongly encouraged to have the problem fixed at their local dealership. Owners can search recalls.mopar.com or safercar.gov with their VIN to check whether their specific vehicle is involved in the recall. Of course, any repairs done under recall are free to the owner.

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FCA Offering Incentives to Customers Who Complete Recalls

FCA Offering Incentives to Customers Who Complete Recalls

In order to help boost the number of vehicles being brought in for recall services, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is offering various incentives to customers who participate in mandated safety recalls.

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NHTSA To Investigate Almost Half a Million Grand Cherokees For Rollaway Incidents

NHTSA To Investigate Almost Half a Million Grand Cherokees For Rollaway Incidents

Fiat Chrysler is in hot water again over vehicle complaints, this time over late-model Jeep Grand Cherokees rolling away after being placed in park. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now opening a preliminary investigation into some 408,000 Grand Cherokees, thanks to 14 complaints, including five reports of crashes and three reports of injuries.

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Fiat Chrysler Will Recall 1.4 Million Vehicles Over Hacking Worries

Fiat Chrysler Will Recall 1.4 Million Vehicles Over Hacking Worries

In light of the recent hack demonstration on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall for nearly 1.4 million FCA vehicles in the U.S. The recall’s remedy is to install an update to the Uconnect infotainment software with the goal of stopping any such attacks from actually taking place.

The demonstration by Wired magazine showed how two hackers were able to wirelessly control the Cherokee via a laptop, over the Jeep’s Internet connection. The hackers were able to control small features like radio volume and HVAC fan speed, along with major systems like engine, transmission and even braking functions.

While it took these two hackers more than a year to write the code, FCA and government agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have not taken the threat lightly. The NHTSA in fact, is urging lawmakers to set new regulations to protect vehicles against outside hackings.

You can input your VIN on Chrysler’s website to see if your vehicle is under the recall. If so, you can download the software update onto a USB thumb drive and install it yourself, or elect to receive a USB in the mail. If you’re not into DIY fixes, you can take your car to your FCA dealership for the update as well. On top of updating individual vehicles, FCA and its cellular provider have taken measures to secure cell-to-vehicle communications.

Still, I encourage you to ensure your vehicle is up to date. The range of effected vehicles includes everything from the Dodge Viper all the way to the Ram 3500 Chassis cab.

Continue reading for a full list of affected vehicles.

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This Is How A Jeep Can Be Hacked

This Is How A Jeep Can Be Hacked

In the rush to offer consumers the latest connected features, it looks like the auto industry forgot to lock the back door. Hackers recently brought to light exactly how vulnerable a modern car could be by using nothing more than a bit of code and a laptop connected to the Internet. The hackers created code that allowed them to remotely operate functions like the climate control, entertainment system, windshield wipers, transmission, engine and brakes, raising (or answering) questions about vehicle cybersecurity.

In a recent article from Wired, Charlie Miller, security engineer at Twitter, and Chris Valasek, director of vehicle safety research at IOActive, successfully hacked into a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and assumed control of the vehicle’s various functions, dramatically demonstrating the extreme vulnerabilities of the modern connected vehicle.

What exactly did they do, and how did they do it? And more importantly, what does this mean for the future of the auto industry? Read on to find out.

Continue reading for the full story.

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NHTSA Investigating Complaints About Jeep Grand Cherokee Braking For No Reason

NHTSA Investigating Complaints About Jeep Grand Cherokee Braking For No Reason

Jeep may have another safety issue on its hands after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received nine complaints of 2014-model-year Jeep Grand Cherokees suddenly braking with no warning and with no hazards in front of them. Causing this issue is the Grand Cherokee’s adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency braking.

In an effort to explore the issue, the NHTSA has posted notice of a probe, which covers roughly 20,000 Grand Cherokees from the 2014 model year. Thankfully, there are no reported injuries or wrecks associated with the issue.

According to a report by the Associated Press, several of the nine complaints logged with the NHTSA say the emergency braking system malfunctions multiple times during a drive.

One complaint reads, "I was driving on the freeway going 65 mph with no cars around me or in sight. All of the sudden the car dashboard said Brake! And the car applied the ABS brakes and abruptly slowed the car down to 40 mph! I was so scared at that point."

Other complaints state that dealerships have not been able to duplicate or fix the problem. One goes on to say the dealer found a whopping 57 diagnostic trouble codes in a particular Grand Cherokee’s computer.

FCA spokesman Eric Mayne told the AP that Grand Cherokee owners who have experienced the problem should take their vehicle to the dealership for evaluation. Mayne also said owners can opt to completely deactivate the automatic braking system should the desire.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Chrysler Recalling Almost Half A Million SUVs

Chrysler Recalling Almost Half A Million SUVs

Every former relationship has its baggage, and leaves its scars. For some of us, given our taste in females, that’s pretty literal. For others, like Chrysler, there was never any leaving Mercedes without at least a few black eyes. Some have questioned whether Chrysler’s trade-up to Italian Fiat was a trade-up at all — but after this, those questions should be pretty well settled.

Last year, Chrysler issues a recall for 189,000 SUVs in the Dodge Durango and Jeep Cherokee lines for the 2011 to 2013 model years. As of Friday of this week, that recall has expanded to a whopping 656,000 vehicles worldwide. The core of the problem is a bad fuel pump relay in the Totally Integrated Power Module; the relay is subject to getting hot, deforming and failing, which cuts off the fuel pump and causes the vehicle to stall. Originally, they assumed the problem was limited to gas-engine models; however, further testing has shown that a further half-million or so foreign-market diesels could experience the same failure.

Still, all things considered, a bad relay isn’t that big a deal. Worse things have happened. So, why does it matter? Read on.

Continue reading to learn more about Chrysler’s new recalling.

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Jeep Cherokee Gets Software Update For Problems With The Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission

Jeep Cherokee Gets Software Update For Problems With The Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission

Jeep is readying a new software update that will hopefully fix the woeful issues FCA’s nine-speed automatic transmission keeps having.

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Jeep Cherokee Gets Software Update For Problems With The Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission

Jeep Cherokee Gets Software Update For Problems With The Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission

Jeep has had continuing trouble with its new-for-2014, nine-speed automatic transmission found in the Cherokee and other Fiat Chrysler vehicles including the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan. Now the automaker is offering a solution by way of software updates. The reprogramming of vehicle computers is said to cure issues of “hard shifts, lunging, unexpected disengagement of the transmission, and repeated illumination of malfunction lights.” Those complaints come directly from customers filing reports on the safecar.gov website.

FCA U.S. will begin to notify owners of 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokees along with owners of some 2015 Chrysler 200s powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder that the reprogrammed software is available at dealerships. In an interview with Automotive News, an FCA U.S. spokeswoman said the updated transmission software is “intended to keep the vehicle performing as intended, and to prevent durability issues from occurring in the future.”

This is hardly the first issue Chrysler has had with the nine-speed unit. The Cherokee’s original launch was delayed three months due to poor programming of the transmission shift module.

For Cherokee and 200 owners, the software update is already at dealerships. Of course, the issue will be fixed free of charge.

Click past the jump to read more about Cherokee’s software problems.

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2015 Jeep Cherokee Under Investigation For Fire Risk

2015 Jeep Cherokee Under Investigation For Fire Risk

The Jeep Cherokee is now under investigation by the NHTSA after reports of a vehicle fire just 36 hours after the owner drove it home from the dealership.

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2015 Jeep Cherokee Under Investigation For Fire Risk

2015 Jeep Cherokee Under Investigation For Fire Risk

Jeep is back in the hot seat with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after a fire broke out inside a 2015 Jeep Cherokee just 36 hours after the customer drove it off the lot. The fiery San Diego-based incident has now sparked a formal investigation with the NHTSA into 50,000 Cherokees.

Reports sent to the agency say the “vehicle was engulfed in flames approximately 20 feet high within seconds of parking the vehicle. The complaint alleged white smoke coming from under the hood immediately after parking the vehicle and while the ignition is off.”

Purchased on Jan. 2 from Perry Chrysler Jeep in National City, California, the Jeep had been driven less than 100 miles when, on Jan. 4, the owner noticed an oil-like smell as she exited the vehicle. As reported by CBS News 8 in San Diego, the owner’s family spotted the brewing fire seconds after the Jeep was parked. Family members tried putting out the flames while fire trucks were en route. The vehicle was a total loss.

Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told The Detroit News, "We are aware of this incident and our investigators are cooperating fully with NHTSA’s preliminary evaluation."

This marks the second time a Cherokee owner has had similar issues. A second complaint was submitted Jan 5 after the owner of another 2015 Jeep Cherokee noticed smoke coming from under the hood while driving at 60 mph. That Cherokee only had 45 miles on it.

Click past the jump for more information

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee under NHTSA investigation

The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been in the spotlight lately, with Teknikens Värld claiming that the vehicle failed their Moose test (or Elk test) miserably. Chrysler called "bullshit" on that claim, but it’s not going to be so easy convincing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that their latest safety concerns are bogus.

The NHTSA is investigating the SUV because of two complaints they received from Grand Cherokee customers. Apparently, there have been some under-hood fires that have caused the destruction of both vehicles. The sources of the fires are unknown at this point, but one customers stated that a hose ruptured when the vehicle was traveling at low speeds: "Mechanic received directive from Chrysler on a fix. He made the fix as directed, but the new hose quickly burst on him during testing," the owner wrote to the agency. The other owner’s complaint was that he "glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed smoke outside the vehicle. He pulled over and exited the vehicle, when suddenly massive flames erupted from under the hood."

We’re not very sure how this investigation will affect the Grand Cherokee, but if these claims lead to a recall, there will be almost 107,000 Grand Cherokee units affected.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee fails in Evasive Maneuver Test...Or does it?? (UPDATE)

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee fails in Evasive Maneuver Test...Or does it?? (UPDATE)

The guys over Teknikens Värld recently got a little more than they bargained for when they performed a Moose test (or Elk test) with the brand-spanking new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Moose test determines how a vehicle acts when the driver evades a suddenly appearing obstacle, such as an animal or a child, and the Grand Cherokee didn’t exactly get to the top of the class.

The purpose of this test - done at very low speeds - was to determine how well the SUV’s active safety system would work. At only 39.5 mph, the Jeep Grand Cherokee went up on two wheels, in the middle of the maneuver. If it wasn’t for the professional driver behind the wheel, it would have easily rolled over. As many can imagine, not everyone that purchases vehicles have professional driving skills, so at the hands of probably most Jeep Grand Cherokee owners, the result could be deadly. According to Teknikens Värld’s Linus Pröjtz, this is an unacceptable result for a 2012 SUV, and we would have to 100% agree with this.

By comparison, SUVs like the Volkswagen Touareg and the Volvo XC90 did well at even greater speeds of 43.5 mph. To make matters worse, when Teknikens Värld performed the Moose Test on the previous generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it passed the test with no problems at all.

This information should certainly not fall on deaf ears, especially the ears of Chrysler heads.

UPDATE 07/09/2012: Teknikens Varld’s tough review of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee immediately caught the attention of Chrysler heads and the company is none too pleased with the results. Their displeasure doesn’t stem from the Grand Cherokee’s failure, though. According to Chrysler, several attempts were made by Chrysler Group engineers to recreate the two-wheeled escapade of Varld’s test, to no avail. Chrysler then joined Teknikens Varld’s team to see if they could recreate the terrible result and they also could not. Turns out, the Jeep used in Varld’s first Moose test was loaded beyond its weight specifications. The Grand Cherokee’s weight limitations are clearly stated on the vehicle and in the owner’s manual.

All is good in our world again.

Hit the jump to read the full statement from Chrysler.

UPDATE 07/10/2012: It looks like Teknikens Varld is not going to give up. After Chrysler attacked them and said their test was not accurate, the Swedish magazine posted a second part to their test in which they explained how the Grand Cherokee failed the evasive maneuver test. According to them, the car they tested was loaded according to the specifications for the maximum load in the Swedish registration certificate and was riding on standard equipment tires. Also, all systems, such as chassis settings, air suspension, and similar, were in normal mode. Even so, in each test they performed, the car either went up on two wheels or was close to overturning. We’re assuming Chrysler is going to have something to say about this as well. The drama continues!!

UPDATE 07/13/2012: The guys from Teknikens Varld are seriously not going to give up! Today they have posted a new part to their Grand Cherokee moose test in which they advise customers not to buy the new Jeep Grand Cherokee until Jeep/Chrysler solves the problems. We are pretty curious to find out what Jeep has to say about this.

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