In May 2018, Fiat Chrysler—the automaker that produces a wide range of Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, and Fiat vehicles—issued a recall of more than a half-dozen different 2018 makes and models. Although this recall didn’t officially begin until mid-June, owners should exercise caution if they’re planning to drive any recalled vehicles that haven’t yet been repaired. Read on to learn more about the vehicles that are impacted by this recall and how a defective transmission park lock rod could increase risks for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
What Vehicles Are Being Recalled?
This recall impacts a relatively small number of vehicles—just 71—across a wide range of Fiat Chrysler makes and models, including the 2018 Dodge Charger, Durango, and Challenger, 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, 2018 Chrysler 300, and 2018 Ram 1500. With fewer than ten impacted customers for each discrete make and model of vehicle, this recall is unlikely to affect the vast majority of purchasers; however, the gravity of the potential risk and the recall-related injury count (currently seven) mean it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Because of the small scale of this recall, Fiat Chrysler has sent out notification to each owner individually, but if you own one or more of these makes and models and are wondering whether yours is subject to recall, you can give Fiat Chrysler a call at 800-853-1403 and let them know that you’re calling about recall number U43. If your vehicle is on the recall list, you can begin scheduling repairs immediately.
What Could Happen if New Park Lock Rods Aren’t Installed on Affected Vehicles?
This recall was issued after Fiat Chrysler discovered it had installed undersized transmission park lock rods in certain vehicles.
As the name implies, park lock rods are designed to lock the transmission in place while the vehicle is in “park” mode. A broken park lock rod, or—as here—one that’s the wrong size for the vehicle’s transmission can prevent the transmission from fully shifting into park, even if the gear shift display reads “P.” Owners who assume their vehicle is in park may be injured (or injure others) if the vehicle unexpectedly rolls forward.
This park lock rod recall comes just six months after nearly 1.8 million Ram trucks were recalled for a similar shifter issue. In December 2017, Fiat Chrysler issued a recall after discovering that exposure to high heat (usually caused by an electrical problem) could cause the brake-transmission shift interlock device to fail, potentially allowing the trucks to roll forward or backward even while in park.
Under the current recall, owners of affected vehicles can drop them off at their local Fiat Chrysler dealership after June 20 to have the park lock rods replaced free of charge. The repair process should present a minimal amount of schedule disruption for busy auto owners, which is good, because putting this needed repair off until a more convenient time could put you and your family at risk.