When you dutifully bring your car to a dealership for a recall repair, you generally assume that the repair is going to fix the problem, and that your vehicle is not going to catch fire anyway. Back in May, we learned that NHTSA was looking into a Chrysler recall where fires were still reported in recalled vehicles that had been repaired.
It was after that investigation began, and after a revised version of the service instructions went out to dealerships warning that previous recall repairs may have been performed incorrectly, that a family in northern California parked outside a Taco Bell and had just sat down to eat when their young daughter noticed smoke coming out of their 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. You can see the aftermath of that fire before.
The vehicle had been recalled before for an issue with the wiring in the passenger side visor, and the family was under the impression that the problem had been fixed. They aren’t alone, either––there are nine known vehicles that have also caught fire after having the recall repair, and possibly more, considering that the original recall included hundreds of thousands of vehicles.
Maybe the family would be less angry at Fiat Chrysler and the dealership if they hadn’t brought the vehicle in twice for issues related to the visor: the light bulb on the visor went out once, and they smelled smoke in the cabin of the SUV.
The good news is that once a local news station became involved, Fiat Chrysler of America swapped out the burned Jeep for a new one. The family remains upset, though, that the Cherokee caught fire just minutes after they got out of the car.
It’s sad that drivers need to check on service bulletins for their cars themselves for peace of mind, but at least they’re easy to access online.