Chrysler said today that it is recalling 792,300 Jeep SUVs because of possible problems with ignition switches as the automotive industry continues to take a closer look at car starters amid General Motors’ recall crisis.
The Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker is recalling 2006-07 Jeep Commanders and 2005-07 Grand Cherokees “out of an abundance of caution” because of issues with the ignition switch.
An outside force, usually attributed to contact with the driver’s knee, may move ignition keys from the “on” position, causing the engine to stall. Chrysler said it is unaware of any related injuries related to the ignition switches on its Jeep SUVs.
Last month, Chrysler announced a recall for 2008 and 2009 Chrysler Town & Country’s and Dodge Grand Caravans to fix ignition switches that also can slip out of position.
General Motors has been under intense scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, congressional investigation committees and the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to recall about 2.6 million cars with potentially defective ignition switches for years after some of its engineers and attorneys learned about the problem.
In GM’s case, there have been at least 13 fatalities linked to the defective ignition switch.
Still, the problem is similar. If the key is jostled out of position in the Jeep SUVs, Chrysler said the engine can stall, reducing braking power, making steering more difficult and disabling the airbags.
Chrysler said its engineers are working on a way to fix the problem. In the meantime, drivers should remove all items from their key rings, leaving only their ignition keys. GM has issued the same advice for its cars under recall for the similar issue.
The automaker said it will notify customers by mid-September when they can schedule service with their dealers and said the repairs will be done for free.
The automaker said customer with questions can call Chrysler Group’s Customer Information Center at 800-853-1403.