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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on March 26, 2024

Dodge Chrysler Recall Announced After Defective Airbag Found

The Daily Mail reported that Stellantis has warned owners of nearly 286,000 Dodge and Chrysler sedans across the United States.

This recall, prompted by the risk of side airbag inflators exploding and potentially injuring occupants with metal shrapnel, underscores a grave safety concern for numerous American drivers.

A Recall Prompted by Serious Safety Hazards

The vehicles implicated in this recall span the 2018 to 2021 model years, specifically targeting the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 models. The main issue lies in the side airbag inflators, which, due to excessive force during deployment, could rupture and project dangerous metal fragments inside the vehicle's cabin.

This alarming situation arises from moisture that infiltrated the inflators during manufacturing, leading to corrosion and cracks that heighten the risk of unexpected airbag inflation, particularly in high cabin temperatures.

The importance of addressing this defect cannot be overstated, especially considering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statement. It starkly highlighted the potential for "sharp metal fragments striking occupants, resulting in injury or death."

Although Stellantis has documented seven warranty claims and customer assistance reports linked to this issue, fortunately, no injuries have been recorded to date. An estimated 1% of the inflators are thought to be defective.

Timeline of Events and Steps Forward

It is crucial to place this recall in a historical context, beginning with the first reported death from a Takata airbag inflator explosion in the US back in May 2009. Takata's inflator problems have led to the largest series of auto recalls in US history, emphasizing the potential severity of the current Stellantis recall.

However, Stellantis has confirmed that this issue is unrelated to Takata's past problems. On March 22, 2024, Stellantis decided to recall the affected vehicles public, with a plan to notify owners and commence replacements on May 3, 2024.

Dealerships have been tasked with replacing both side airbag modules for the impacted vehicles. Despite the gravity of the situation, Stellantis has stopped short of committing to offering loan vehicles to concerned owners, merely advising them to contact the company.

The Role of Joyson Safety Systems

Further examination reveals that the faulty inflators were supplied by Joyson Safety Systems, which previously acquired the now-defunct Takata.

The ties to Takata's troubled legacy, marked by at least 26 deaths in the US since 2009, underline the critical need for rigorous safety standards and oversight in automotive manufacturing.

Investigations conducted by Stellantis have notably found that airbags inflated in parked vehicles when the cabin temperature exceeded 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) in five instances. This discovery points to an alarming safety flaw that could lead to grave consequences without prompt corrective action.

Lessons to Learn From This Tragedy

1. Awareness and vigilance about vehicle recalls can be life-saving. Staying informed ensures that vehicle defects are addressed.

2. The importance of regular vehicle maintenance and checks cannot be overemphasized. Such practices can sometimes identify or mitigate risks associated with manufacturing defects.

3. Despite precautions, it's essential to recognize that accidents can happen to anyone. This recognition should foster a culture of empathy rather than victim-blaming.

Remember, while we can take steps to reduce our risk, we can't eliminate it. It's crucial never to blame victims for unforeseen tragedies.

Why This Story Matters

This story is a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges in automotive safety and the potential consequences of manufacturing defects. It underscores the necessity for continuous improvement in vehicle manufacturing processes and the critical role of timely recalls in protecting public safety.

Stellantis's recall of nearly 286,000 Dodge and Chrysler sedans due to faulty airbag inflators is a significant event that underscores the ongoing challenges in ensuring automotive safety.

The potential for serious injury or death from exploding airbag inflators highlights the critical importance of timely recalls and addressing manufacturing defects. As we await the commencement of the recall process, the incident serves as a reminder of the need for vigilance from manufacturers and vehicle owners in safeguarding against such hazards.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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