Chrysler Pacifica Recall Issued Due to Risk of Minivan Rollaway Accidents
More than 240,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans have been recalled, due to a defective part that may allow the vehicle to unintentionally come out of the park position, posing a rollaway hazard and serious risks for individuals getting into or out of the minivan, as well as bystanders.
The Chrysler Pacifica recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on June 20, after it was discovered that the Manual Park Release (MPR) plug may be removed without any tool assistance. This may allow the vehicle to move after the driver puts the minivan into park.
While no injuries or rollaway accidents have been reported in connection with the recall, similar problems with other vehicles have resulted in serious injury and deaths in recent years. For a minivan, where parents or caregivers may be helping children get out of the vehicle, the risk is especially serious.
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The recalled minivans are equipped with a Manual Park Release that is designed so the minivan can be moved even when its rotary shift knob will not move out of the Park position, or when the battery is dead. The MPR has a piece of dashboard trim that is attached to a red tether strap, that when pulled, manually shifts the Pacifica from Park to the Neutral position.
According to the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 114, “Theft Protection”, the vehicles manual park release systems must require a special tool to be removed, so as not to pose a theft risk or roll away risk and crash hazard to occupants and bystanders.
Chrysler became aware of the issue in March, after testing revealed the MPR could be engaged by hand, and without the use of any special tool or screwdriver. Chrysler determined the defect was in violation of the FMVSS and creates a safety hazard to owners and occupants, resulting in the recall.
The recall affects an estimated 240,242 model year 2017 through 2018 Pacifica minivans manufactured by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles between June 15, 2016 and April 6, 2018. The vehicles were distributed throughout the United States to licensed dealers.
Roll away hazards are extremely dangerous, posing a risk of serious injuries and fatalities for occupants and bystanders. The NHTSA warns that roll away accidents are especially dangerous when young children are being transported. In the event a child is buckled in the back seat and the caregiver walks around the vehicle as it begins to roll away, both the child and caregiver could be in serious danger.
In December 2017, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) encountered a similar problem and recalled roughly 1.8 million Ram pickup trucks following several reports of the trucks shifting out of “Park” and rolling away, which resulted in at least seven injuries.
The Chrysler recall is anticipated to begin on August 3, 2018. Customers will be instructed to contact their local Chrysler dealer to schedule a replacement of the MPR plug free of charge. Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403 and reference the recall number U50.
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