The Truth About Cars
Just when it thought aÂ troubling roll-away controversy and resultingÂ recallÂ was almost behind it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself under investigation for a similar problem.
This time, it isn’t the now-defunct Monostable gear shift that supposedly confused drivers â€” it’s the rotary shifter found in late-model vehicles. After numerous complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into 1 million FCA vehicles that could pose a roll-away risk.
According to online documents, NHTSA has the 2013-2016 Ram 1500 and 2014-2016 Dodge Durango in its sights. Both models use FCA’s rotary dial gear shift. While the shifters differ vastly from the Monostable units in terms of operation, owners report the same troubling issue.
NHTSA reports 43 complaints of vehicles rolling away from a stop. Of those incidents, 25 crashes and nine injuries resulted from the unexpected driverless excursions.
There’s a key difference between these rollaways and the earlier incidents (which may have contributed to the high-profile death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin). With the old Monostable unit, the shift lever returned to a center position after shifting, leaving no visual indicator that the vehicle was actually in park. The rotary dial, however, clearly indicates that the vehicle is in park. Drivers can feel the shifter click into gear, while an indicator light appears above the selected gear.
Of the 43 complaints, 34 owners say the vehicle moved on its own after the gear selector was placed in park. In each of those cases, the parking brake was not set and the engine was running.
While FCA hasn’t issued a recall of the affected models, it did warn owners to use the parking brakeÂ â€” a suggestion also issued by NHTSA. The automaker claims the rotary shifters found in the Chrysler Pacifica and 200 aren’t part of the investigation, as those vehicles automatically shift into park when drivers unbuckle their seatbelts or open their door.
[Source: Associated Press] [Image:Â Â© 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]
via The Truth About Cars http://ift.tt/Jh8LjA December 20, 2016 at 01:35AM