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Chrysler is recalling the 2010 Dodge Journey and Grand Caravan and the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country because their in-dash key fobs can slip and turn the engine off while driving over rough roads. Chrysler says that drivers may experience “inadvertent ignition key displacement,” which occurs when the key slips from “on” to “accessory” and the engine is turned off.

According to a New York Times blog, NHTSA has received around 35 complaints on its website and Chrysler received 32 complaints, 465 warranty claims and news of “two alleged rear collisions.” Chrysler reports that it started an investigation of this problem in September, 2010 after they received an increased number of complaints of engines stalling and shutting off.

NHTSA spokesman Jose Alberto Ucles said that agency also scrutinized complaints as they came in although they never opened a defect investigation. Ucles said, “Chrysler moved quickly to identify the issue early in the service history of these 2010 model year vehicles and conducted an appropriate recall.”

I have written before about key fobs accidentally turning on Lexus engines which led to three carbon monoxide poisoning deaths.

As these relatively new car accessories become more common, we consumers should be aware of the potential risks they pose and manufacturers should act quickly, like Chrysler did in this case, to remedy the problem before there are any serious injuries or deaths.

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

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