FCA recalls older Wranglers over jammed airbags image

“Excessive” off-roading means a lot of dirt and dust that may prevent the airbags from deploying, Fiat Chrysler says.

Fiat Chrysler has filed a recall notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 392,464 older-model Jeep SUVs in the United States, to replace their clockspring inside the wheel and some related components. The spring is a key part of the airbag system, controlling the deployment of the inflators. The automaker said that customers’ excitement of going off-road or driving open-top or without doors may allow a lot of dirt and dust to enter the cabin, thus jamming the clockspring, which may eventually prevent the driver-side airbag from opening during a crash. Drivers will surely be aware of this issue, as the airbag warning-lamp will illuminate. “If such an event occurs, customers are advised to contact their dealers,” FCA said.

Affected by this campaign are model-year 2007-2010 Jeep Wrangles and an additional 7,435 model-year 2011-2016 SUVs with right-hand drive for special duty as well. There are also 35,412 vehicles recalled in Canada, 8,529 in Mexico and 62,580 outside the NAFTA region. Customers will be notified when they may schedule a service visit, which includes the fitting of a new steering-wheel back cover and of a steering-column shroud.

Separately, the automaker is also recalling 39,217 Fiat 500 mini-cars, model-year 2012-2016 in the US, to upgrade their clutch release systems. “An FCA US investigation determined certain vehicles equipped with manual transmissions are subject to clutch travel that may exceed design parameters. Over time, this may cause component damage capable of restricting gear shifts and propulsion.”

The inquiry discovered a few cases of such damage, accounting for 0.01 percent of cars recalled. An estimated 7,834 cars in Canada are subject to this safety campaign as well, as are around 7,155 in Mexico and 26,268 outside the NAFTA region.