Nearly 907,000 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep Vehicles Recalled Over Fire Issues

Oct 16, 2014 10:23 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Almost 907,000 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep cars and SUVs are being recalled for alternators that can fail and heated power mirror wiring that can short ad cause minor fires.

The recalls, which were posted Thursday by U.S. safety regulators, push the total number of recalls so far this year to over 500, equaling more than 51 million vehicles, according to the Associated Press. That's a full-year record on both counts, due mainly to massive General Motors recalls of more than 30 million vehicles.

The largest of Thursday's recalls covers nearly 470,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler 300s, and Dodge Chargers, Challengers and Durangos from the 2011 through 2014 model years. 

In affected vehicles, the alternators can fail, causing the 3.6-liter V6 engines to stall unexpectedly, according to the AP.

The issue can also cause the electrical system to fail, along with knock out power-assisted steering, antilock brakes and electronic stability control. It can also cause fire or smoke, according to documents Chrysler filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA opened an investigation into the problem back in July. Chrysler started its own probe in August, according to the AP. The company looked into warranty complaints and alternators that had failed.

The alternator is able to generate electricity needed to recharge the battery and run other devices.

The problem was traced back to heat fatigue in an alternator diode. The automaker said it received 322 complaints over the issue, while 55 people complained to the NHTSA.

At least one crash has occurred related to the issue, but no injuries or fires yet. 

The automaker will replace the alternators with upgrade versions for free. Owners will be notified this November.

All customers who see warning lights or suspect a problem should contact their dealers, according to the AP.

The recall affects cars and SUVs sold mainly in the U.S. and Canada. Some were sold in Mexico and overseas markets.

The second recall covers approximately 437,000 Jeep Wranglers from 2011 through 2013.

If water finds its way into the heated power mirror wiring harness it can cause corrosion, according to the AP. This can cause a short and a minor fire and smoke and loss of function of the mirror. The issue was discovered in February after three Wranglers in Canada were damaged.

Chrysler knows of at least 26 complaints about the problem, but no fires, crashes or injuries.

Dealers will try moving the wire and install a protective shield to keep water out at no cost to owners, starting this December. Most of the Wranglers are in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, but more than 78,000 were sold overseas.

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