Heat shields are installed on most automobiles as a means of protecting the vehicle body and other structural components from the excessive temperatures caused by the combustion engines. The problem, though, is that if the heat shield fails or breaks, then it can cause considerably more damage than it is intended to prevent. That is the focus of one of six separate recall efforts announced by Chrysler this week, as a potential manufacturing defect with heat shields can lead to broken drive shafts.
Approximately 61,400 Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro sports utility vehicles with model years 2007 and 2008 are being recalled in the U.S. – in addition to another 17,000 in Mexico, Canada and elsewhere – because of 40 complaints from drivers that reported experiencing broken drive shafts. If the heat shield drops, it can make contact with the drive shaft and cause excessive friction. A break in the drive shaft could cause the popular SUVs to lose power, as well as unexpected airbag deployment. Any of those issues could lead to driver distraction and serious accidents. Fortunately, no accidents have been reported as of yet.
In addition to the heat shield issue, Chrysler is recalling approximately 119,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a problem with the warning lights. An issue with the seat-side airbags has been causing the airbag warning lights to activate. No claims of accident or injury have been reported with this problem as of yet, but Chrysler is still recalling certain Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger vehicles to prevent further issues.
In another recall effort, Chrysler is recalling approximately 20,500 Jeep Compass and Patriot SUVs in the U.S. because of a necessity to change the fuel-tank transfer tubes. According to Reuters, a new material was used in the tubes after a global shortage prevented Chrysler from using its standard materials; however, the company subsequently determined that “the new material did not readily maintain the required shape,” which could lead to restricted fuel flow.