The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 1998 Chrysler Sebring, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: AUTO TRANS IGNITION-PARK INTERLOCK

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA03011

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Lever And Linkage:Floor Shift

    Summary: The manufacturer reports above are based on DaimlerChrysler's (DC) analysis of model year (MY) 1998 (population = 356,384) and 1999 (population = 486,948) JA, JX and LH family subject vehicle data (earlier MYs excluded).the population number includes all MYs.the precise number of duplicates between ODI and DC reports cannot be determined due to missing or incomplete information.the fatality incident involved an elderly person who attempted to stop a roll away vehicle and received fatal injuries.ODI also gathered information on MY 1997-99 Prowler vehicles in this investigation. The Prowler vehicles were manufactured with a different design shifter mechanism (the shift lever is shorter).there are no complaints of Prowler interlock failure in ODI's database, and DC has received no reports either.the Prowler is excluded from the recall scope.the investigation involved a condition where the interlock system could fail (or be made inoperative by the operator) during vehicle use, possibly inadvertently.the interlock system is required under FMVSS 114.with the transmission in the park position and the ignition key off, the combined action of pressing the shift button and pulling the shift lever rearward may result in the operator overcoming the interlock system and cause the mechanical linkage of the system to disconnect.when this occurs, there is no overt indication to an operator that the system is defeated, and an increased risk of vehicle roll-away exists.under recall 04V021, DC will replace damaged shift mechanisms, and will install on all vehicles a device which inhibits the operator's ability to overcome the interlock and defeat the system.beginning with MY 2000, DC incorporated a brake and transmission shifter interlock (BTSI) system into the subject vehicles.introduction of BTSI involved design changes to the shift mechanism, one of which resulted in reduced mechanical advantage (RMA) of the shift button.the RMA shifter requires increased forces to overcome the interlock system, making the shifter less susceptible to damage.

  2. INVESTIGATION: SAFETY BELT CINCHING LATCH PLATE

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE02082

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: November 06, 2002
    • Date Closed: April 23, 2003
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Seat Belts

    Summary: There are no injuries or fatalities associated with this alleged defect.while conducting this investigation, ODI found that the subject cinches meet the load bearing requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208, and that many of the reported failures were due to incorrect child safety seat installations. Additionally, the report rate is low (1.60/100K).the information available fails to establish the existence of a defect trend at this time.further allocation of Agency resources to this issue is unwarranted and the preliminary evaluation is being closed.

  3. INVESTIGATION: STEERING SHAFT BINDING

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA99028

    Component(s): Steering

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

  4. INVESTIGATION: STEERING SHAFT BINDING

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99030

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: May 03, 1999
    • Date Closed: September 10, 1999
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Steering

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

  5. INVESTIGATION: DOOR PANEL/GARNISH SEPARATION

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE00007

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: February 02, 2000
    • Date Closed: July 18, 2000
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Structure

    Summary: Alleged that the plastic garnish panels mounted on doors detach from their mountings, sometimes while the vehicle is in motion