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NHTSA Investigates Jeep Airbag Problems After 2012 Recall

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2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Was the November 2012 recall of more than 900,000 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty models for an airbag problem successful? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation on those models because of reports that some of those airbags are still suddenly deploying without being triggered by an accident, reports Chris Bruce for Autoblog.

The 2012 recall affected more than 919,000 vehicles throughout the world, including 744,822 in the U.S., Bruce writes. The activation of the bags was caused by a weakening circuit in those wires controlling the airbags. In some cases the warning light would go on just before the unprovoked airbag opened, but in other instances the light would not go on, Bruce writes.

At the time of the 2012 recall, Chrysler said there were reports that 215 airbags had inadvertently deployed, causing a total of 81 minor injuries, writes David Shepardson for The Detroit News. Of those deployments, 126 took place in Jeep Libertys, and 89 in Grand Cherokees, he writes.

According to the Associated Press, in an article appearing in USA Today, the new investigation will examine the effectiveness of the recall repair plan on “nearly 754,000 Jeep SUVs.” AP writes that Chrysler, which makes the Jeeps, “installed an electrical filter to eliminate electrical spikes on air bag circuits.”

Bruce writes that the defect might still exist. Chrysler has notified NHTSA of six cases in which the airbags opened without being set off by a car accident, even after they had been repaired. No crashes have been reported as a result, but there have been reports of cuts and burns, Bruce writes. Shepardson writes that Chrysler said the problem was linked to a change by a supplier. He quotes David Dillion, Chrysler’s head of product investigations and campaigns, from a 2012 statement: “A design change to a supplied component was linked to a small number of inadvertent air bag deployments, and in keeping with the best interests of our customers, we initiated a recall campaign.”  

Image by Samera Al.Khalefa

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