Voluntary safety recall

Someone had to dig a hole, take a rock and live underneath it for a few months to avoid hearing about the massive Toyota recall a few years back.

Sorry, make that recalls.

Each was for a few different issues, with a substantial amount of media attention to a stuck accelerator pedal. This probably even inspired a few people to try it as an excuse to talk themselves out of a speeding ticket.

The manufacturer took action, made aware the appropriate parties and—eventually—problems were addressed.

In February, among the many the organization releases, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced another recall, this time for a police-only vehicle.

It affects years 2011 and 2012 Chrysler Dodge Charger police vehicles, produced between July 5, 2010, and Dec. 20, 2011. It technically involves two parts, one a bulb harness connector and a power distribution module. According to the recall, these parts in the July 5 to December 20 manufacturing window carry risk of overheating.

Again, this is a voluntary safety recall affecting an estimated 9,688 vehicles.

Specific details

The recall announces that the low-beam headlamps of some vehicles could fail due to the overheating of a bulb harness connector. The harness connection resembles a few gathered insulated cables with specific connector heads on its ends.

Like dominoes knocking each other down, this heat can also cause a loss of ABS/ESC system function due to an overheated power distribution center.

The announcement puts it quite bluntly, “This could lead to loss of visibility and/or braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash.”

For those unfamiliar with these terms, antilock braking systems (ABS) is an automatic system which pulses the brake in hopes to avoid wheel lock-up—hence the name. Electronic stability control (ESC) works to adjust the vehicle’s spinning wheels in a potentially slippery situation. It automatically applies the brake without driver input to lessen over-steering and get the vehicle back to the direction where it was intended to go.

The recall release also mentions that beginning in March, Chrysler had begun notifying “owners and dealers to replace the headlamp jumper harnesses and relocate the ABS/ESC system fuse within the power distribution center.”

In an official statement, David Dillon, head of product investigation and campaigns, explains what could be causing the malfunction. He says, “the conditions tend to occur when police vehicles are exposed to severe police duty vehicle cycles for an extended period of time, including long durations of high speed, evasive driving when used as training vehicles for police forces and extended idling.”

Dillon adds “[the company] will continue to monitor the retail fleet for any occurrence of this condition beyond police vehicles.”

The official statement also mentions that the Chrysler Group is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.

Recall puts safety first

The stigma of the word “recall” does tend to raise some eyebrows, however, as the company has stated, no severe consequences have been recorded or reported resulting from the headlamp overheating issue and the voluntary recall is a precautionary measure. Chrysler has also announced that costs incurred (if any at all) to a department or agency relating to the recall will be refunded.

Recalls are an effort to make vehicles that much safer for our officers—just one more feature bringing them home each day.