Fiat Chrysler recently announced that it recalled 162,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans from the 2017 model year — this includes almost 154,000 vehicles in the U.S. market. The reason given was a software issue that causes the vehicle to stall. So far, there is one documented case where the issue potentially caused an accident. Models with the hybrid gas-electric option are not included in the recall.
Recognizing the defect
According to the manufacturer, the defect involves a rare set of conditions where the minivan’s engine control module incorrectly assesses the engine’s operating status. This causes it to stall, typically when the vehicle is starting or moving at a slow speed. The problem was identified by the Center for Auto Safety, who then petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate. The NHTSA found instances where at least 50 owners reported the stalling after purchasing new Pacifica minivans.
To fix the issue, owners will need to bring their vehicles into the dealers to engine control software. Ideally, this fix will work, but time will tell. Chrysler Fiat claims that it had already started investigating the issue before the NHTSA became involved, but the manufacturer has set no date for making this new software available.
Legal guidance may be necessary
Owners of these vehicles may want to start tracking any unusual stalls that occur. They should also get a notice in the mail, but it may make sense to monitor this situation closely, particularly if the initial fix does not seem to repair the problem.