Dodge chocks one up for Charger safety

Changing a flat could be a dangerous activity without spare retrofit

Published: February 7, 2016, 5:30 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 12:57 PM

2015 Dodge Charger

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is asking owners of Dodge Charger sedans to bring their cars to their dealerships so they can be fitted with a stability enhancement deemed necessary when changing a flat tire.

wheel chock position illustration

In one of the strangest recall actions in recent memory, FCA is requesting owners of over half a million of the full sized sedans from model years 2011 through 2016 to attend a dealership in order to receive free wheel chocks meant to be used when the car is being jacked up to change a flat. The chocks fit on top of the factory-equipped spare tire, so drivers have to remove them before being able to access the spare.

The company reportedly became aware of the problem as a result of three injuries incurred during tire changes. Very little information is available but the gist is that when the jack is positioned for a tire change, it may cause an inappropriately positioned vehicle (either not on a flat surface or not having the emergency brake engaged, one would presume) to move, which would cause the jack to become unbalanced and potentially causing the car to fall off the jack.

The wheel chocks are to be positioned in front and behind the wheel diagonally opposite the one being changed. For example, if the flat is on the front right, the wheel chocks would be applied to the left rear wheel.

The question then becomes “aren’t all vehicles susceptible to this type of incident?” Outside of those who don’t use spare tires but rather emergency tire inflators, shouldn’t all vehicles be equipped with wheel chocks? Or is this just another way to absolve vehicle owners from reading the owner’s manual, or the spare tire procedural instruction, on how to properly and safely change a tire on the roadside?

The action applies 19,229 cars in Canada, 441,578 in the U.S., 4,969 in Mexico and the rest outside North America, and will advise owners when the equipment is available for pick-up