Jeep Wrangler Airbag Clockspring Investigation Upgraded

Government upgrades investigation into 630,000 Jeep Wranglers for airbag clockspring problems.

Posted in Investigations

— Jeep Wrangler airbag clockspring problems that cause warning lights to activate and failed airbag deployments will get a closer look by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The airbag clockspring issues were first investigated in June after hundreds of reports about 2007-2012 Jeep Wranglers. The 630,000 Jeeps under investigation are left-hand-drive because right-hand-drive Wranglers have already been recalled.

In response to the investigation, Fiat Chrysler submitted details to NHTSA indicating over 17,000 Jeep Wrangler airbag clockspring complaints, warranty claims, field reports and legal claims. NHTSA says airbags failed to deploy in six crashes in which the airbag warning lights were on or came on after a crash. One non-airbag deployment allegedly caused an injury.

Chrysler said some clockspring failures didn't affect the airbags and further said the removable roof and door configuration can allow outdoor moisture and dust to enter and cause problems.

NHTSA investigated the same issue in right-hand-drive Jeep Wranglers in 2011 which led to a recall of model year 2008-2012 right-hand SUVs. At that time, Fiat Chrysler redesigned the clockspring to protect it from moisture and dust. Additionally, the automaker changed the design of the steering wheel column shroud.

Although left-hand-drive Jeeps weren't recalled, the automaker did begin an extended warranty program for the 2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler.

The government apparently believes more might need to be done even with the extended warranty program in place. The June investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis to determine if the Jeep Wrangler airbag clocksprings should be recalled.

Read complaints about the Jeep Wranglers named in the airbag clockspring investigation: