A consumer advocacy group wants a recall to be issued for more than 150,000 Chrysler minivans, due to a risk that they may stall without warning.
The Center for Auto Safety, filed a petition (PDF) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on November 20, urging the agency to force a safety recall for certain Chrysler Pacifica minivans, following more than 50 consumer complaints where the minivans unexpectedly stalled while in motion, which could pose a serious and potentially fatal auto accident risk.
Individuals report that their model year 2017 Chrysler Pacifica vehicles lost all motive power without warning, leaving drivers without the ability to accelerate, decelerate, or utilize power steering.
The consumer group cites several of the reports of problems where consumers were caught completely off-guard when their Pacifica stalled while traveling up to speeds of 60 miles per hour. Several of the consumer reports indicate the 2017 models experienced the stall hazard multiple times within the first 200 miles of travel.
In the event the vehicles lose all motive power, the power steering assist features will also be lost, making it difficult to turn the steering wheel to avoid a collision or to maneuver to the side of the road.
“Stalling is a dangerous defect, and has repeatedly led to tragedy,” Center for Auto Safety Executive Director Jason Levine said in a November 20 press release. “The danger goes beyond what happens to families in the stalled minivan during the loss of power, as drivers of disabled vehicles are often hit and killed by other cars after they have pulled over to the side of the road. Chrysler needs to recall these vehicles, provide alternatives for owners in the meantime, and figure out how to fix the problem.”
The petition requests the NHTSA to force Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) to initiate a safety recall and investigation to determine the root cause of the stalling malfunction.
According to all of the consumer reports directed to the NHTSA, neither local Chrysler service departments nor FCA engineers have been able to replicate the stalling malfunction. The reports have also indicated that none of the anecdotal evidence such as diagnostic exams or data recorders have generated error codes during the stalling events.
Chrysler dealers have reportedly attempted to resolve the issue by replacing the transmission control module or updating its software, replacing the voltage control module, replacing the fuel tank and fuel module, replacing the electrical power distribution box, or tightening a perceived loose battery connection, however none of the repairs have reportedly resolved the issue.
The petition claims that FCA has recklessly declined to issue any sort of warning letter or issue a safety recall, and has yet to even launch a formal investigation into the root cause of the stalling defect, which poses a daily safety hazard to its consumers. Engineers at local dealers have advised consumers to continue driving their vehicles until it experiences the safety defect again.