Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling about 75,000 all-wheel drive sedans to fix driveshaft problems that could cause drivetrain failures and potentially result in a crash.
The issue affects 74,900 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger models from model years 2014 to 2017, with 69,300 in the US, about 5,300 in Canada and more than 300 outside North America.
In some vehicles, driveshaft bolts could come loose resulting in the front driveshaft disconnecting, which could lead to various situations — the driveshaft could drop down and grind along the road, it could knock against and damage underbody components such as the transmission, or it could come off completely and bounce around as the car continues its forward momentum. In all cases, though, forward acceleration will immediately stop and the car will coast to a stop.
If that happens on the highway, at speed, it could naturally lead to a crash situation due to the sudden decrease in speed, or if the shaft comes loose it could bounce around and strike other road users.
However, FCA is not aware of any crashes or injuries due to the issue, having discovered the problem as a result of a police car suffering damage to its transmission at the beginning of 2016. The problem was traced to the loose driveshaft bolts and subsequent inspections revealed the problem on other police cars. Following adjustments to the torqueing of the bolts and changing the clamp loads, which seems to have remedied the issue. To date, 66 warranty claims have been attributed to the issue.
The company will alert owners around the end of March, asking them to return the full-size sedans to dealerships, where the eight driveshaft bolts will be tightened and re-torqued. Customers can call FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403.