Investigation Closed Into Jeep Airbags Deploying For Nothing

Jeep airbags that have been unnecessarily deploying for years might finally be fixed.

Posted in Investigations

— The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has closed an investigation into airbag problems in 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty and 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

Safety regulators closed the investigation after Fiat Chrysler agreed to order a recall, but the road to reach that point was bumpy and has gone on since 2012.

The investigation was opened after reports of airbags deploying when they weren't needed. The inadvertent air bag deployments were blamed on airbag circuitry that can degrade inside the occupant restraint control modules.

However, airbags were still deploying even after recalls were ordered to fix the problems, and Chrysler wasn't the only automaker affected by the problem.

In all, Toyota, Honda and Chrysler recalled millions of cars for the same airbag problems just to realize the recalls had failed to fix the airbags.

Chrysler decided to install an in-line jumper harness with an electrical filter that connected to the airbag modules. The filter was used to eliminate electrical noise that caused the airbags to deploy without a crash. However, owners kept complaining about airbags inflating without need of a crash or impact, even in vehicles that had the filter system installed.

Six of those airbags injured vehicle occupants.

Fiat Chrysler ordered two additional recalls after admitting the electrical filters weren't working. The new remedy involves installing a module containing a new design and updated electronics.

NHTSA says the new remedy is used in other Chrysler vehicles and no airbag incidents have been reported in those vehicles. Based on Chrysler's latest recall, the government has closed its investigation.