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Chrysler Recalls 367,000 Caravans for Problems with Airbag Deployment

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On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 4:42PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Recalls 367,000 Caravans for Problems with Airbag Deployment

As with all the other moving parts built into any vehicle, sometimes the airbag deployment system can malfunction. That’s what is happening with Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. Chrysler has recalled around 367,000 mini vans to fix the accidently deployment issue.

Chrysler recently announced a recall for the 2010-11 Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500 models with diesel engines for a defective power steering reservoir cap. Now Chrysler is recalling over 367,000 2008 model year Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravans for a potential probelm with its airbags.

In the 2008 model of the Dodge Caravan minivan, a simple water leak can trigger the airbag warning light to go off which then tells the airbags it’s time to deploy. Once that switch is flipped, there is no going back. Fortunately, Chrysler is on top of this potential defect and posted the recall on the web site for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The company was able to send out an email blast alerting car owners.

Chrysler engineers traced the leak to a faultily assembled heating and cooling system drain grommet. According to Chrysler, these particular parts were manufactured by BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc. No one from BRC has responded to this issue yet, but clearly Chrysler is not taking any chances and issued the nationwide recall.

“Some vehicles may have an improperly installed HVAC hose grommet that could cause moisture to collect on the floor and damage the air bag deployment module,” Vince Muniga, a spokesman for Chrysler, said in an e-mail. “The company is not aware of any accidents or fatalities resulting from this issue.”

Imagine driving down the road or parking your minivan and the airbags explode spontaneously.

Most folks just accept their new cars having airbags as standard. The first airbag patent was actually awarded in 1953, but it took another 20 years for U.S. automakers to consider adding this safety feature to their assembly lines. It was Ford which led the charge in 1971 with a line of airbag-enhanced autos. The first passenger side airbags were introduced by Porsche. Most of the auto makers followed suit.

Ironically, these airbags were introduced at that time because folks just weren’t using their seatbelt. Today, most states have enacted a seatbelt law requiring motorists and their passengers to buckle up. That hasn’t deterred the auto makers from adding airbags and they shouldn’t be thought of as a replacement for the seatbelt.

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