Headliner Fires in Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango Vehicles Under Investigation

Headliner Fires in Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango Vehicles Under Investigation
Image: FCA Group
January 14, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into certain model year 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles. The investigation affects more than 593,000 vehicles.

The NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has identified 5 reports of vehicle headliners catching fire at the front of the vehicle near the sun visors on Jeep Grand Cherokees. Customers reported a range of fire conditions ranging from minor overheating to an open flame at the headliner and/or sun visor material while driving the vehicle. In some reports, the fire spread to the front seats and/or door panels of the vehicle. In one report, the sunroof was damaged causing the glass to shatter.

The cause of these fires is an electrical short in the vanity lighting wiring circuit that is routed to either one of the sun visors. The sun visors are mounted to the roof of the vehicle through the headliner with three screws. The sun visor wiring may be penetrated, or pierced by one of these screws either during initial vehicle assembly or subsequent headliner area repairs. The piercing causes an electrical short that could result in a fire. There is no dedicated fuse for the affected circuit so the electrical short can continue until the short clears or the vehicle is keyed off.

The Dodge Durango uses the same headliner assembly, and Chrysler indicates there are similar headliner fire incidents affecting this model, therefore, these vehicles have been added to the scope of the investigation.

The NHTSA says that data received from Chrysler, along with ODI reports, indicates that there may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents (including 3 injury allegations) on Grand Cherokee and Durango vehicles which ODI will continue to evaluate during the investigation.