Chrysler Group LLC is recalling all 2011 and 2012 model year Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers due to a safety-related defect in the vehicles’ ABS/ESC system. An estimated 119,072 vehicles are subject to the recall.
“ABS” stands for “anti-lock braking system,” a safety system that prevents a vehicle’s wheels from locking up and skidding while braking. Electronic Stability Control, or “ESC,” helps a driver keep control of a vehicle during a turn. ESC is particularly helpful during slippery conditions and in accident-avoidance situations.
The voluntary Chrysler recall is due to some of the vehicles experiencing a loss of ABS/ESC as a result of a defective overhead PDC bus bar, a component part manufactured by Yazaki North America of Canton, Michigan. In February 2012, Chrysler submitted to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) a Defect and Noncompliance report on Dodge Charger police vehicles after the problem was first detected in a Michigan State Police training vehicle. The scope of the recall was expanded after field data showed similar problems in cars sold to the general public.
ESC is required on all light passenger vehicles in the U.S. beginning with the 2012 model year. It can help prevent rollover accidents, particularly in SUVs and trucks. According to a June 2006 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for example, ESC reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle SUV rollover accidents by 80 percent. The NHTSA estimates that ESC will save between 5,300 and 9,600 lives each year and prevent as many as 238,000 injuries.
As part of the recall, Chrysler will reimburse owners for the cost to change and relocate the ABS/ESC fuse on affected vehicles. The company plans to begin notifying vehicle owners and dealers about the recall by the end of May 2012.