Cruise control is a convenient feature useful during long drives to mitigate driver fatigue. It can also be useful for increasing fuel efficiency and act as a convenient means for maintaining speed limits. Cruise control, however, comes with some risks – for one, it may increase the chance of having an accident because it may encourage drivers to be less attentive while driving. Another type of risk occurring less frequently is due to mechanical failure. This latter risk is exactly the kind faced by owners of some Chrysler Fiat Automobile (FCA) models, as the manufacturer recently issued a recall of around 5 million U.S-market vehicles due to the discovery of a defect that may prevent shutting off cruise control.
Cruise control works by automatically accelerating as needed during varying road conditions and as the car naturally decelerates. In affected systems, if such an acceleration occurred at the same time as a short-circuit in a certain electrical network, a driver would be prevented from turning cruise control off. This is the sequence of events that happened during March of last year when a 2017 Dodge Journey was locked in at around 70 mph. Apparently, the driver was only able to stop the vehicle by fighting against the breaks with considerable effort. In the complaint letter written by the driver, it was mentioned that the brakes had “smoked” significantly. Yikes!
As FCA writes, if the above scenario were to occur, the cruise-control can be overpowered by the vehicle’s brakes, as well as by shifting into neutral and applying the brakes. At that point, cruise-control can be canceled by shifting into park once the vehicle has stopped.
FCA says they have begun alerting customers this week to avoid using cruise control until their vehicle’s cruise-control systems been upgraded. These upgrades will be provided free of charge at their dealerships. Customers should begin receiving recall notices, which the FCA urges customers to follow.
Below is a list of affected vehicles, limited to those equipped with automatic transmissions and gasoline-powered engines:
- 2015-17 Chrysler 200 sedan
- 2014-18 Chrysler 300 sedan
- 2017-18 Chrysler Pacifica minivan
- 2015-18 Dodge Challenger coupe
- 2014-18 Dodge Charger sedan
- 2014-18 Dodge Journey CUV
- 2014-18 Dodge Durango SUV
- 2014-18 Jeep Cherokee SUV
- 2014-18 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV
- 2018 Jeep Wrangler
- 2014-19 Ram 1500 pickup
- 2014-18 Ram 2500 pickup
- 2014-18 Ram 3500 pickup
- 2014-18 Ram 3500 cab chassis
- 2014-18 Ram 4500/5500 cab chassis
Customers may contact their dealers with any concerns or call FCA US Recall Information Center at 866-220-6747.