Chrysler Group has recalled about 68,000 Jeep Wrangers in the U.S. for a problem that has led to fires in some cases. In 2010 Wranglers with automatic transmissions, a skid plate — a metal plate located under the transmission — can trap debris. Due to a change in the exhaust system for 2010 models, the skid plate is close to the vehicles’ catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust system that removes harmful chemicals from exhaust fumes and, when a vehicle is driven, it gets extremely hot. In these Jeeps, the heat can ignite trapped debris causing a fire.
Wranglers built for subsequent model years don’t have this problem because, as a weight-saving measure, Chrysler switched from skid plates to lighter skid bars that do not trap debris this way. NHTSA had been investigating reports of Jeep Wrangler fires. In a letter to NHTSA, Chrysler acknowledged at least 14 reports of fires. To fix the problem, Wrangler owners will be asked to bring their vehicles to a Jeep dealership to have the skid plate replaced with a skid bar. Owners will be notified as soon as parts are available to make the change.
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