Dodge Durangos & Jeep Grand Cherokees Recalled Over Brake Concerns

Why should General Motors get all the recall headlines when another domestic carmaker has defective vehicles to fix? Chrysler has announced a recall of around 870,000 total vehicles — 644,000 in the U.S. — for concerns about corrosion in the braking system that could increase the risk of a crash.

The specific vehicles being recalled are:
2011-2014 Dodge Durango
2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

These vehicles, made between Jan. 2010 and Sept. 2013, have a brake booster with a center shell that may corrode and allow water to get inside. This water could freeze and limit the braking ability of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

According to a timeline of events [PDF] provided to NHTSA by Chrysler, the car company became aware of an issue in spring of 2013, learning of increased complaints from customers who mentioned a “hard pedal feel” when braking.

Last fall, the carmaker discovered the source of the problem — a small amount of exposed, uncoated surface at the crimp joints — and moved forward with a revised part that wouldn’t be as conducive to corrosion. Chrysler chose to not issue a recall to replace the part in existing SUVs because “there was no loss of braking, only a decrease in assist.”

But then NHTSA contacted Chrysler in Feb. 2014 with reports of water entering the brake booster, resulting in the hard pedal feel and in some cases freezing. It was ultimately determined that the best way to fix this problem was to issue a recall so that a water diverter shield could be added to the brake booster, helping to prevent any water from entering the system and wreaking havoc.

Dodge says it knows of one accident related to this defect, but claims that no one was injured.

Owners of affected vehicles should begin hearing from Chrysler in May. Repairs and replacement parts will be provided free of charge. If they have questions before then, they can contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403.