FCA US, the parent company that manufactures Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles, has recalled more than 67,000 Pacifica Hybrids after determining that they pose a risk of engine shutdowns. The recall targets 2017-2023 year models, including tens of thousands still under manufacturer warranties.
This is not the first massive recall to impact Chrysler Pacificas, either. Owners of these vehicles have faced a number of other recalls, from fire risks to unsecured seats to faulty backup cameras. If you own a Pacifica, it’s worthwhile to understand your rights when manufacturer defects keep your car out of operation so frequently.
Chrysler Pacifica Engine Failures
The most recent Pacifica recall was issued after Chrysler finished an internal investigation that began in August 2022. The company had received hundreds of warranty claims regarding engines that stalled seemingly out of nowhere. It chose to investigate itself rather than wait for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to step in.
The internal investigation found that the affected vehicles appear to have faulty transmission wiring. As Pacificas are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), it doesn’t take much for an electrical fault to cause serious problems. This faulty wiring can short out while the cars are in motion, causing the entire engine to shut down. Currently, drivers receive no notice before the engine stalls, and many are traveling at highway speeds or on busy roads when the vehicles shut down.
According to the recall notice, Chrysler is not aware of the fault directly causing any accidents. However, engine stalls are well-known for putting car occupants at risk. Without motive power, drivers cannot pilot their vehicles any further than momentum can take them. This can leave vehicles stranded in the middle of the road if the driver can’t safely pull over before the car stops moving.
Currently, Chrysler does not plan to fix the faulty wiring itself. Instead, it has instructed FCA dealers to update software controlling the power inverter module and the instrument panel cluster. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by mail in early March 2023 and instructed to bring them into certified dealerships to have these software updates applied.
The updates will allow the vehicle to alert the driver if there is a short that may stall the engine. This won’t prevent engines from stalling, but it should allow drivers to pull over somewhere safe before the vehicle stops working.
Other Chrysler Pacifica Recalls
Drivers may be rightly unsatisfied with Chrysler’s manufacturing. Pacifica PHEVs have been recalled multiple times in the past few years for issues like:
- Improperly secured seats: 2021-2022 Pacificas were recalled due to faulty latches securing the second-row seats. These latches would fail to close, putting occupants at risk of serious injuries in crashes.
- Faulty cameras: 2019-2020 Pacificas were recalled for cameras that would continue to display the rearview image even after drivers had shifted out of reverse, causing distractions and potential accidents.
- Fire risks: 2017-2020 Pacificas were recalled after it was found that the 12-volt isolator post behind the driver’s seat could develop high resistance, potentially making the car a serious fire risk whether or not it was in operation.
The frequency and severity of these recalls have given many Pacifica owners pause. It is unusual for vehicles that have been in production with minimal updates to experience so many significant recalls in just a few years. If you own a Pacifica, you should monitor your car’s performance for other defects that have not yet been identified or aren’t yet subject to a recall.
What to Do If Your Chrysler Has Multiple Manufacturing Defects
You have every right to be disappointed with the Pacifica engine shutdowns and other manufacturing and safety defects that have been identified. The dangers of faulty engines aside, you should be able to trust that your brand-new vehicle is safe and reliable. Chrysler is struggling to make the Pacifica line live up to that expectation.
You have options, though. Under California law, all manufacturers are obligated to provide products that are safe and that live up to their guarantees. In addition, car makers must give three-year warranties for all vehicles sold in the state and honor those warranties by repairing factory defects at no cost to owners. These laws are in place to ensure that consumers don’t get trapped with defective cars after spending tens of thousands of dollars on brand-new vehicles.
But what if the manufacturer can’t repair a problem, or there are so many defects that fixing them seems like a waste of time? That’s when it’s time to file a lemon claim. State lemon laws allow consumers to file claims against car manufacturers for refunds or replacements for their vehicles if they meet specific criteria.
For example, manufacturers only receive four chances to repair faults that don’t affect safety. For issues like engine stalls or fire risks that put lives in danger, carmakers only get two chances to correct an issue. If they make that many attempts and the problem reoccurs, the consumer can file a lemon claim. In addition, owners can file lemon claims if their vehicle has been in the shop for 30 or more days for any manufacturing defects. This is good news for Chrysler Pacifica owners who have faced multiple recalls.
Expert Legal Counsel for Lemon Claims after Chrysler Recalls
You don’t have to accept your brand-new car is faulty and live with the problems. If you have a Chrysler Pacifica with serious defects that the dealership can’t seem to fix, you could get your entire purchase refunded. Learn whether you can file a lemon claim for your Chrysler by scheduling a consultation with Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys.