Reports of fires breaking out in later model Jeep Wrangler SUVs have prompted Chrysler to recall a large number of Wranglers to correct the issue. The issue is with a skid plate under the transmission, which can trap flammable debris that can be ignited by the catalytic converter.
Chrysler, according to AutoGuide, has announced a recall for late model Jeep Wrangler SUVs for an issue that can pose a risk of fire. The recall is technically international, as a number of the recalled Wranglers are in Canada. Vehicles subject to the recall are recall are from model year 2010 and all have automatic transmissions.
In total, almost 87,000 vehicles are subject to the recall, of which 67,872 are located in the United States, according to AutoBlog. The remainder, more than 6,000 vehicles, are located in Canada. All vehicles involved were manufactured before July 14, 2010, according to USA Today. Concerned owners should check the information tag located on the driver’s side door jamb. Aside from bearing information such as the vehicle identification number, the build date will also be listed.
Fire down below
The issue is with a skid plate, which sits underneath the transmission on the underside of the vehicle. The plate in question is there to guard the transmission. However, the plate can also trap debris such as plant matter or other combustible material. The plate also happens to cover the catalytic converter which, as part of the engine exhaust system, becomes very hot when operating the vehicle. There were 14 reports of vehicle fires, but no accidents or injuries as a result.
In calendar 2010, according to AutoGuide, Jeep decided to replace the transmission skid plate with a skid bar. Jeep Wranglers affected by the recall will be fitted with the bar at no cost to the owner. The recall, according to the press release on AutoBlog, will begin later this month.
Nasty smoking habit
This recall is the result of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation which began earlier this month. In April, according to Consumer Reports, it was reported that the NHTSA was looking into eight reports of fires in 2010 Wranglers with auto transmission.
There is a recent history of similar recalls and skid plate fires in the Jeep Wrangler. Reports have been occurring since at least 2007, according to AutoGuide. In August 2009, according to MSNBC, the NHTSA began probing fire reports in Wranglers of the 2007 to 2008 model year, with automatic transmissions. At the time, Chrysler said it was only aware of a fire issue in Wranglers in China.
In November of that year, according to Inside Line, Chrysler recalled 161,450 2007 to 2008 Wranglers, as the transmission lacked a fluid temperature warning system, which could result in a fire if fluid boiled over. If the fluid boiled over, it would drip straight onto the catalytic converter. Jeep moved the catalytic converter in calender year 2010.
Consumer Reports: http://news.consumerreports.org/safety/2012/04/nhtsa-probes-engine-fires-in-2010-jeep-wrangler-and-2012-chevorlet-cruze-suvs.html