With the replacement of the passenger side airbag inflators on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will be completely removed from the Takata airbag recall crisis.
The action on the Wrangler will mean that all FCA vehicles produced in North America will either feature alternate propellants to the Takata components or include desiccant-enhanced ammonium nitrate. Global production will reportedly be done by September.
The ammonium-nitrate propellant has been identified as the cause of the ruptures in Takata airbag inflator modules, especially in high heat and humidity regions. Outside of replacement with a completely different component, the fix has been to enhance the propellant with a desiccant to stop the moisture build-up that might cause an uncontrolled explosion, which could rupture the inflator and send shrapnel into the cabin when the airbag deploys.
The company is unaware of any of its vehicles being involved in any incidents surrounding the Takata inflators but is taking the proactive steps of removing or replacing the potentially faulty components in the interest of the safety of its customers.
Further, FCA tested some 6,300 versions of the faulty Takata components, in some instances replicating the climatic conditions that aggravate the problem, and found they all performed as intended.
Any vehicles with the Takata modules sitting on dealer lots may still be sold, but the company will make customers aware of the need to recall those vehicles in the future — one of the stipulations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated action (known as the Coordinated Remedy Program) is that since replacement parts are scarce, older vehicles should be recalled first to ensure “the inflators will be recalled and replaced before they become dangerous, giving vehicle owners sufficient time to have them replaced before they pose a danger to vehicle occupants.”
Consumers who have questions about this recall or any other, can call the FCA US Consumer line at (800) 853-1403.