Effectiveness of Chrysler Remedy for Headliner Fires Called into Question

Effectiveness of Chrysler Remedy for Headliner Fires Called into Question
Image: FCA Group
May 5, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a 'recall query' to assess the effectiveness of a previous recall remedy issued by Chrysler for certain Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles.

In response to a NHTSA defect investigation launched in January 2014, Chrysler recalled approximately 661,888 model year 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs on July 1, 2014.

NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) began its investigation into the subject vehicles after receiving numerous reports of headliners catching fire at the front of the vehicle near the sun visors. Data provided by Chrysler during the investigation indicated that the fires were caused by a short circuit in the wiring for the vanity lamp in the sun visor. It was determined that one of the metal screws used to mount the sun visors to the vehicle could have pierced the wiring, causing the short circuit and subsequent fire.

Chrysler's recall remedy involved installing a plastic guide way on each sun visor that routes the wiring away from the attachment screws, preventing the wiring from being shorted.

Despite this fix, ODI has received 8 new reports from vehicle owners of fires occurring in Grand Cherokee and Durango vehicles after the remedy was installed, with some occupants complaining of smoke sometimes followed by flames erupting in the headliner.

Thus, ODI has opened a recall query investigation to look into Chrysler's remedy and determine how effective it actually is in preventing the reported headliner fires.

The most recent vehicle owner reports referenced above can be reviewed online at SaferCar.gov using the following identification numbers: 10703058, 10692710, 10691520, 10684130, 10653417, 10711836, 10705802, and 10640524.

Vehicle owners with further questions can contact NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.