Chrysler Group today issued a recall on nearly 900,000 SUVs due to problems with the vehicles' brake systems. The defect could cause brake pedals to become more firm than normal.
The recall specifically affects some models of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles with model years from 2011 to 2014. Chrysler believes that a total of 867,795 SUVs are affected by the brake issue.
The defect at the center of the recall is a form of corrosion that can occur in the vehicles' brake boosters. After receiving complaints from consumers that their brake pedals were demanding "excessive" firmness for use, Chrysler launched an investigation into the issue. The company found that small crimp joints on the brake boosters of some vehicle models may corrode when exposed to water. This corrosion could lead to water entering into the vehicles' brake boosters, negatively impacting brake function if the water freezes.
Chrysler claims that the brake boosters will still function up to federal safety standards when temperatures are above freezing, though the brake pedal firmness reported by customers could result. The company has linked one accident to the brake booster corrosion defect, but believes that no injuries are related to the matter. Chrysler vehicles currently in production have had their brake booster crimp joints treated with a corrosion-resistant coating.
Chrysler will, for free, inspect all vehicle models affected by the recall and replace their brake boosters "if their capability has been reduced." All of the brake boosters affected by the recall will receive a shield that insulates crimp joints from water damage.
This recall comes as increased scrutiny is falling on the auto industry and its practices with regard to safety recalls. Last month Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. government to settle criminal charges related to their vehicles' infamous "unintended acceleration" defect. This week General Motors CEO Mary Barra testified before a U.S. congressional subcommittee during a hearing on GM's failure to promptly recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches.
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