If you hoped the ignition switch recalls that have been issued for so many GM vehicles would stop, the controversy has now spread to Chrysler. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened up two investigations in June for the 2006 to 2007 Jeep Commander and 2005 to 2006 Grand Cherokee. The automaker and safety organization have added the 2007 Grand Cherokee to the recall list, which has expanded to include about 649,900 vehicles that were sold in the United States. That number isn’t official yet, meaning the recall could become much bigger, so owners won’t hear from Chrysler until about the middle of September.
What if you own one of the effected models? Chrysler is counseling owners to remove everything from the ignition key, including key rings. In case you don’t recall, the ignition switch problem that GM has been battling involves the key turning all the way to the off position while the car is driving down the road, which turns off the power steering and airbags, triggering a potentially fatal accident. In many cases, the driver’s kneed has come into contact with the keys, while in others it has been concluded that factors like a damaged road have jostled the key out of its position. Large amounts of additional keys or heavy key rings have been identified as a factor that makes the situation even worse, hence the advice from Chrysler.
So far, only one crash has been attributed to the ignition switch problem in the Jeep models. The NHTSA has also collected 119 complaints from owners, which is what began the investigation.
That’s not the full extent of Chrysler’s recall woes since it has recalled 21,000 vehicles for struts and shocks that have been found to be capable to breaking off their mounts, causing the driver to lose control. An additional 920,000 Jeeps have also be recalled for airbags that can accidentally go off.