More than 440,000 Dodge Chargers are now under recall by Fiat Chrysler (FCA) in order to distribute tire chocks to drivers. There is nothing inherently wrong with the vehicles, but reports of injury due to the vehicle slipping off the jack have prompted the automaker to provide chocks to enhance safety in the event the vehicle has to be jacked up, for any reason, including the changing of a tire.
The chocks are used to immobilize a vehicle’s wheels while they are being changed. If the vehicle is jacked without the chocks, and particularly if it is jacked incorrectly, the recalled Charger may slip off the jack while lifted, putting those nearby at risk of injury. Patrick Rall, a former mechanic writing for TorqueNews.com, explained the problem this way:
The ‘problem’ is that if you are using a very small jack, like the one included with most new cars, it has a very small surface to contact car undercarriage of the car. If you put this tiny little jack in an unusual place on many cars, there is a chance that the metal or plastic under the car can deform under the weight of the vehicle and as a result, the car can shift on the jack. When working as a mechanic, I saw countless cars that had damage underneath from people jacking them up incorrectly, so that aspect is surprisingly common across all sorts of unibody cars. Unfortunately for Dodge, with a larger car like the Charger, it is easier to jack it up in a way that the weight isn’t balanced properly, so the car is more prone to shift if jacked up incorrectly.
The Dodge Charger recall impacts all of the vehicles within the 2011-2016 model years and built from Aug. 23, 2010, to Jan. 7, 2016. FCA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have learned of three incidents involving owners whose car slipped off the jack. Only minor injuries were reported in the incidents.
The chocks are not available for all FCA dealers yet, so the automaker will be mailing out preliminary recall notices to those impacted by April. An additional follow-up letter will be mailed once the chocks are available. To learn more about the Dodge Charger recall, you can contact FCA customer service at 800-853-1403 and ask about recall #S03. You can also contact Evan Allen, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury/Product Liability Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Evan.Allen@beasleyallen.com.
Sources: Law360, TorqueNews.com
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