Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep Recall Issued After Dozens Injured Due To Shifter Confusion

Fiat Chrysler has announced a recall that impacts more than 1.1 million mid-size SUV’s and mid-size sedans, following reports of more than 100 accidents and dozens of injuries that occurred after drivers thought their vehicle was in the “Park” position when selecting gears.

The Chrysler recall was announced on April 22, impacting certain Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles that may cause driver confusion due to a new transmission shifter design.

An investigation by the automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered at least 314 roll-away accidents and 41 injuries that may be related to a new design for the vehicle’s gear shifter. The design appears to confuse drivers, since the shifter returns to the same position after each gear selection.

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Certain mid-size SUV’s and mid-size sedans sold in recent years have been equipped with automatic transmissions that have electric shift levers, which return to the center position after each gear selection is made. The vehicle’s gear position is then indicated by the illumination of the abbreviated gear selected on top of the shifter knob.

The shifters are not designed as the traditional “PRND” layouts, which many drivers are accustom to. It appears that this is causing drivers to make incorrect conclusions about the status of the vehicle.

Rather than physically moving the shifter next to the desired gear, drivers push the gear selector forward to put the vehicles in park, and pull the shifter backwards to put it in drive. However, the shifter returns to the center position after each selection, failing to blatantly indicate which gear has been selected.

The NHTSA and Chrysler opened their investigation in the summer of 2015, amid reports of problems. At least 121 of the incidents resulted in crashes.

The recall impacts an estimated 811,586 model year 2012 through 2014 Dodge Charger, 2012 through 2014 Chrysler 300 sedans, and model year 2014 through 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV’s sold in the U.S. . In addition, Chrysler will also be recalling an estimated 52,144 vehicles in Canada, 16,805 in Mexico, and 248,667 to countries outside of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), totaling roughly 1,129,202 vehicles.

The NHTSA also warned that the vehicles’ signal a chime and a cluster alert on the dash display when a door is opened while the vehicle is not in the “Park” position, however the agency stated this function does not protect drivers who intentionally leave the engine running or drivers who do not realize the engine is still running after an attempted shut-off, posing a rollaway hazard.

The NHTSA also noted several other concerns with the electronic shifters, including that there is no gate around the shifter, and that the entire range of motion the shifter is extremely short, being maybe two or three inches at most.

According to the NHTSA investigation, while testing the shifter the agency found the electronic gear shifter’s operation is “not intuitive, and offers “poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.”

The NHTSA and Chrysler have determined that the shifter design operates significantly different from the standard shifter and requires more concentration and awareness from the driver. The NHTSA called for enhanced warnings and transmission-shift strategies on the impacted vehicles.

During the recall repairs dealers will combine warnings with a transmission-shift strategy to automatically prevent a vehicle from moving, under certain circumstances , even when the driver fails to select the “Park” position.

Fiat Chrysler is currently working on a notification schedule that will include mailed notice to all registered owners with instructions on how to have the shifters repaired by local licensed dealers. Customers with further questions may contact Chrysler US Customer Care Center at 1-800-853-1403.

3 Comments

  • JenniferOctober 22, 2020 at 4:22 am

    I have 2014 dodge charger i bought in 2016. My plan was to drive for a couple of years and then pass down to my son when he comes of age to drive(next year) and I would upgrade myself but after my experience with it that's a hell no. My gear shift when I park i will move ALL the way up for park and ill be in reverse rolling away! I have had several people drive my car and say they hate it vs my ol[Show More]I have 2014 dodge charger i bought in 2016. My plan was to drive for a couple of years and then pass down to my son when he comes of age to drive(next year) and I would upgrade myself but after my experience with it that's a hell no. My gear shift when I park i will move ALL the way up for park and ill be in reverse rolling away! I have had several people drive my car and say they hate it vs my old charger a 2009 anyone who drove that loved it amd even bought themselves one. Sometimes it will auto park and alert me like its doing it for my saftey for no reason. It will jerk real bad coming to a stop and hear a nasty metal grinding sound as it does so. It's just unsafe and ridiculous im already having anxiety about my upcoming 16 year old driving much less to hand him over these keys that I cant be safe in it. Now I can't afford to trade this in for something else for him and in addition put myself in a new vehicle. I thought they already had a lawsuit going about this. I got a paper on it but haven't heard anything else about it.

  • PaulJanuary 23, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I have a 2017 Dodge Durango and in park it has driven off. And in reverse and drive it will go into neutral. Dodge says this is normal. They also say their is no mechanical issues and say they have not seen the safety issue. They have seen the issue and A software issue can be as unsafe as a mechanical one.

  • DebbieFebruary 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I have a Dodge charger and was in an accident on 9/30/2014. I parked the vehicle in store parking lot. Once I went in the store with keys in my hand another person told me my car was rolling across the parking lot. My car did an L shape turn and ran into a barrier pole. I couldn't afford to fix it. Now recall came out and they say it's not a mechanical issue so they won't fix it and it's from 2014[Show More]I have a Dodge charger and was in an accident on 9/30/2014. I parked the vehicle in store parking lot. Once I went in the store with keys in my hand another person told me my car was rolling across the parking lot. My car did an L shape turn and ran into a barrier pole. I couldn't afford to fix it. Now recall came out and they say it's not a mechanical issue so they won't fix it and it's from 2014. I have a case number but they say I'm entitled to nothing and it's not their fault even though a recall was put out due to thousands having same issue. Please help me get my car fixed. Nemer Chrysler Dodge does not care about there customers and will not take blame for a defect in there car. I

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