VIDEO: Chrysler Recalling Older SUVs for Ignition Switch

Chrysler Group announced plans to recall as many as 792,300 older-model Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs globally to fix an ignition-switch problem that can allow the ignition to inadvertently move from the “on” position.

A few weeks ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed plans to expand a previous Chrysler recall to address an ignition switch problem in 2009-2010 MY Dodge Journey vehicles and 2008-2010 MY Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country vehicles. 

The new recall involves 2006-2007 model-year Jeep Commanders and 2005-2007 MY Grand Cherokees. The ignition switch problem may lead to engine stalling and air bag deactivation, as well as diminished power in braking and steering. It’s a problem similar to the one that prompted General Motors’ Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion recalls. 

Chrysler said it is aware of one collision linked to the issue in the Jeep Commanders and Grand Cherokees, but knows of no related injuries.

A preliminary investigation suggests the problem usually occurs when the driver’s knee bumps against the ignition key or key ring, the company said.

“Engineers are working to develop a remedy and Chrysler is committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution,” Chrysler said in a released statement.

Chrysler said it doesn’t know the precise number of vehicles involved but has launched an investigation to make that determination. The recall is expected to get under way by mid-September, when vehicle owners can begin making service appointments for the remedy.

According to Chrysler, about 792,300 vehicles are implicated – 649,900 in the U.S., 28,800 in Canada, 12,800 in Mexico, and 100,800 outside of the NAFTA region.

The Commander is no longer in production, and the Grand Cherokee has since undergone a complete redesign. As a result, newer models aren’t subject to the recall.

Until the recall remedy becomes available, vehicle owners are advised to make sure there’s enough clearance between their knees and the keys. As an extra precaution, drivers should remove all items from their car key ring, leaving only the ignition key, Chrysler said.

To watch a brief video report from Reuters/News Loop, click on the link or photo above.

Vehicle owners can reach Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403.