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Alleged Valve Stem Defect Leads to Class Action Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Alleged Valve Stem Defect Leads to Class Action Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Alleged Valve Stem Defect Leads to Class Action Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Seven consumers from four states (NY, NJ, OH, MI) have collectively filed a putative class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over an alleged defect in some of their vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of all potentially affected owners in the four states, alleges that FCA has “concealed a known safety defect from its customers.” The plaintiffs named in the suit contend that a defective valve stem in the TPMS can corrode and fail without warning. The lawsuit alleges that when the valve fails it can cause the tire to suddenly lose significant pressure while in motion “akin to a tire blow out.” Several of the plaintiffs claim that their tires suddenly lost air while they were driving, causing them to lose control of their vehicle.

The lawsuit claims that all seven plaintiffs “suffered harm as a result of Chrysler’s decision not to disclose the TPMS defect.” The faulty valve stems have allegedly been found in several of FCA’s 2010 model year vehicles, including the Chrysler Town & Country, the Jeep Liberty, the Dodge Grand Caravan, and the Dodge Journey. The lawsuit states that more than 160 complaints of corroding valve stems in Chrysler vehicles can be found on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) database going back at least six years. But despite these numerous defect complaints, the lawsuit alleges that the automaker “actively concealed and/or failed to notify the public of the existence and nature of said defect.”

The suit also contends that the replacement valves, integral to the TPMS, have “often been on nationwide backorder” due to the commonality of this problem. When working properly, the TPMS is supposed to relay real time tire pressure information back to the driver. After the massive Firestone tire recall two decades ago, which led to more than 100 deaths, a federal law was put into place guaranteeing a TPMS in every vehicle less than 10,000 pounds by the end of 2008. The lawsuit alleges that FCA has “recognized the risk” by replacing many corroded valve stems with “a new rubberized part that was less likely to corrode,” yet no recall has ever been made.

FCA is also facing additional class action lawsuits brought earlier this month over their alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. On the heels of VW’s massive diesel emissions scandal, the EPA accused FCA of similar acts. And despite the automaker’s firm denials, class action lawsuits have been filed in both U.S. and Canadian courts over their 3.0-liter diesel engines found in 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2014 to 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks. Authorities believe that more than 100,000 vehicles could be affected, which could cost FCA more than $4 billion in fines from the EPA alone.

As for the valve stem class action lawsuit, in addition to damages the plaintiffs want FCA to inspect and replace all failed valve stems in their four states.

To report a problem with the NHTSA visit: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

 

EPA Investigates Fiat Chrysler’s Diesel Emissions; Claims of Clean Air Act Violations

EPA Investigates Fiat Chrysler’s Diesel Emissions; Claims of Clean Air Act Violations

EPA Investigates Fiat Chrysler; Claims of Clean Air Act Violations In the last days of the Obama administration the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) are working overtime to conclude their investigations into the world’s largest automakers and their suppliers. Just one day after the federal government charged six Volkswagen executives […]

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Chrysler Rollaway Tragedy Highlights Problems with Emerging Car Technology

Chrysler Rollaway Tragedy Highlights Problems with Emerging Car Technology

The untimely death of young actor Anton Yelchin, whose 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away and pinned him against a brick pillar, has highlighted yet another major recall addressing yet another major automotive safety defect. Specifically, the investigation into Mr. Yelchin’s death is now focusing on whether the shifter defect at the heart of Chrysler’s […]

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Chrysler Issues Two Recalls Totaling Approximately 841,000 Vehicles

Chrysler Issues Two Recalls Totaling Approximately 841,000 Vehicles

This summer, a handful of major automobile manufacturers have issued recalls affecting thousands of vehicles. Last week, Honda issued a recall of more than 700,000 Fit models due to a potential overheating or fire hazard with the vehicles’ power switch. Another major automobile manufacturer also recalled a large number of vehicles last week as well.

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Chrysler Recalls Approximately 37,000 Ram Trucks For Two Separate Issues

Chrysler Recalls Approximately 37,000 Ram Trucks For Two Separate Issues

Earlier this month, Chrysler refused the request of U.S. regulators to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeep SUVs due to an alleged design flaw with the vehicles’ fuel tanks that are mounted behind the rear axle. Although the NHTSA claims that this alleged defect in the older Jeep models has caused approximately 51 deaths, Chrysler challenged the recall request and argued that the design is common in other vehicles.

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Chrysler Recalls Nearly 470,000 SUVs Due To Gearshift Problem

Chrysler Recalls Nearly 470,000 SUVs Due To Gearshift Problem

In November of last year, Chrysler issued a major recall of approximately 744,822 Jeep SUVs due to an airbag problem.  Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty models may have been manufactured with defective air bag control modules that could unexpectedly fail.  The NHTSA investigated the problem and discovered that at least 215 drivers had experienced inadvertent airbag deployment while driving, and 81 injuries were reported as of November 9, 2012.

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Chrysler Recalling 61,400 SUVs After Reports Of Broken Drive Shafts

Chrysler Recalling 61,400 SUVs After Reports Of Broken Drive Shafts

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.

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