In July of 2014, there was a substantial Jeep and Dodge recall after Fiat Chrysler found that mirror light in the sun visor wires could potentially overheat and combust due to an electrical short. And starting in January 2016, the company is recalling some of those vehicles again for the same electrical problem.
While no one has reported an accident caused by this defect yet, the potential exists for one. And given the history of the recall, repairs, and reports, the likelihood is significant.
The Recall History
In the first recall, Fiat Chrysler issued a recall for almost 900,000 Jeep and Dodge vehicles because of a wiring issue in the sun visor related to the mirror light. The issue had to do with a vanity light screw that could penetrate the wiring and thereby potentially lead to a fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that, at the time of the recall, it knew of 62 complaints related to this issue and Fiat Chrysler knew of three incidents that had caused injuries for vehicle occupants.
The original recall identified the affected vehicles as the 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs. The problem seemed especially likely for vehicles that had work or repairs done to the visor vanity mirror or headliner.
The repair involved installing a wire guide to separate the wires during reassembly; Fiat Chrysler stated that it repaired the defect in all potentially involved vehicles. Essentially, this plastic guide was supposed to keep the wires away from the screw in the visor. But, unfortunately, the problem persists for some owners.
The Repair Issue
Even though mechanics may have completed the repairs properly, it appears that the repairs have been successful. Customers who previously brought their cars into the dealership for repairs may find themselves once again inconvenienced.
The NHTSA has received reports of at least eight separate incidents involving smoke and fire emanating from the sun visor since the original recall.
The New Recall
This new recall affects a smaller number of vehicles, approximately 389,000 Dodge Durango (2011-2013) and Jeep Grand Cherokee (2011-2013) sport utility vehicles.
At present, Fiat Chrysler has not specified a remedy plan. Owners may contact Chrysler's customer service line at 1-800-853-1403 and reference Recall No. R71 and NHTSA Recall No. 15V879000.
What impact does this new recall have on owners?
Hopefully there is little impact on owners other than the inconvenience of having to coordinate yet another repair time with the dealership. However, in the event of an accident or injury caused by this manufacturing defect, victims can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
In order to bring a product liability action, however, there would need to be proof not only of the defect but of some injury or damage caused by it. The defect itself is not enough for a claim; the defect must have caused an accident for claim eligibility.
In the event that you or a loved one suffer injury in an accident caused by this defect, consult with a car accident attorney from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today. Contact us at 404-474-0804.