– By David Brown –
In mid September Fiat/Chrysler announced a worldwide recall of 1.9 million Jeep models. The issue they had identified was that the occupant restraint control module and front-impact sensor wiring, in certain models, can fail to activate air bags and seat-belt restraints in some crashes.
Because the numbers of vehicles affected is large and at least three deaths and five injuries can be attributed to the fault, the media has covered the issue extensively. But the reality is that recalls are quite frequent and a big problem is notifying owners and getting them to have the problems corrected.
Being aware of and managing recalls is an important area for fleets.
Over the past 20 years, more than 437 million vehicles have been affected by safety recalls in the United States. In 2015 alone, more than 51 million vehicles were the subject of safety recalls, more than any previous year.
However the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 45 million vehicles in America that were the subject of safety recalls issued between 2013 and 2015 have still not been fixed.
The good news for some fleets is that large work vans have the highest overall recall completion rate, at 86%. But this is still not 100%.
But fleet vehicles can cover the whole spectrum of cars. The mid-premium sports car segment has a completion rate of just 31%.
Two other factors are most noticeable from the statistics. Older models of cars are much less likely to have their faults fixed and the greater the number of vehicles involved in a recall, the lower the completion rate for having problems corrected.
Companies with fleets have a high level of responsibility to their employees so prompt dealing with recall issues is in their best interest.
Recalls are quite common, not that that makes them acceptable. At the time Jeep announced their latest issue there had already been 15 recall notices for a range of vehicles in Australia in the previous 30 days.
The latest one for Jeep will be their third in the 30 day period. It is not uncommon for there to be 15 to 25 recalls in a month in Australia to do with cars, trucks or motorcycles and associated products. There have been times when we average one recall a day over a month period.
It should be noted that a recall may not cover many vehicles and the problem might not always be a major concern.
The usual process is for the vehicle manufacturing company to contact each affected owner (typically by mail) and ask them to bring the car in to a dealer as soon as possible or have the correction done at the next service. The problem arises in knowing the details of the current owner especially if they bought the vehicle second hand.
All owners are encouraged to inform the company of the latest ownership details through the corporations’ website or head office or by approaching a dealer.
The cost to correct the fault should be free.
Even if you are not completely sure if your car is affect and you want to confirm its status, you can ring the manufacture’s service line or contact a dealer. You should have your VIN number and contact details ready at hand when you speak to them.
The latest recall from Jeep will affect approx 23,000 vehicles in Australia across three models: the Jeep Patriot and Compass models built between 2010 and 2014 and Dodge Caliber models built between 2010 and 2012.