Defective manufacture of vehicles can put drivers at risk of serious injury, even death. Especially when there is fire risk, mechanical issues or software problems turn new vehicles in to a risky proposition without the car buyer even knowing it. Sometimes, though, auto manufacturers find a product defect before anyone gets hurt. That’s what happened with the 2018 Jeep Cherokees recalled for fire risk earlier this month.
Fiat Chrysler Issues Voluntary Recall of 2018 Jeep Cherokees
On May 21, 2018, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced it would be recalling over 51,000 of its 2018 Jeep Cherokees. Most of the vehicles (48,990 to be exact) were sold in the U.S., but the company is also calling back 1,666 SUVs sold in Canada and 674 sold overseas.
The problem initiating the recall has to do with a batch of fuel-supply tubes installed into 2018 Jeep Cherokee SUVs. The connectors on these tubes may have been incorrectly fitted. This can result in a fuel leak and create a fire risk if the fuel comes in contact with other parts of the engine or sparks near the vehicle.
Luckily, the manufacturing defect was detected internally, before any injuries or accidents were reported. However, if left unchecked, a leaky fuel line could create a substantial fire risk. Motorists driving un-repaired Cherokees could face serious injury, burns, or even death from car fires caused by the defect.
Fiat Chrysler Dealers Pledge to Repair Product Defect for Free
In response to the product defect, Fiat Chrysler informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and will begin notifying Jeep owners as early as this week. The company has promised that dealerships will inspect the fuel-supply tubes and their connectors. If the mechanics find a manufacturing defect, they will replace the connectors and the tubes, if necessary, free of charge.
Late Model Jeeps Faced Manufacturing Defects Before
This isn’t the first time that FCA has had to issue safety recalls on its new Jeeps. In 2016, the company issued a recall of Jeep Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500s to fix manufacturing defects with the halfshaft. In that case, a series of recalls affected vehicles manufactured between September 2015 and March 2016. The defect created the risk that the front halfshafts could fracture without warning, creating debris and putting drivers at risk of a crash. But the 2016 recall was much smaller, only affecting approximately 2,600 vehicles. This year’s recall will affect 20 times as many drivers.
Is Your Jeep Affected?
The Jeep Cherokees recalled are all from the 2018 model year and have a 2.4-liter engine. The recall doesn’t include the 2019 Jeeps. If you think your car may be affected, or if you aren’t sure if you missed your recall notice, you can find out online, or on the phone. Look up your vehicle identification number (VIN) and either:
- Call the FCA US Recall Information Center at 1-800-853-1403
- Call the NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236
- Visit the NHTSA’s website and enter your VIN
Voluntary product defect recalls may be easy to ignore, and inconvenient to address. But if you ignore a defect notice, you could be putting yourself, and your family at risk. If you are a Jeep owner and you receive a recall notice, be sure to have your vehicle checked. It could save you from a fire risk and the potential for serious injury.