2013 Dodge Dart: NHTSA Expands Recall
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating nearly 121,000 Dodge Dart cars dealing with braking problems. NHTSA has received 18 complaints that the brake pedal can suddenly become hard to depress and that braking distance unexpectedly increased on the 2013 models.
Complaints included things like, “pop noise or an air hissing noise when applying the brake pedal, followed by a hard pedal feel and reduced brake effectiveness.” Others reported using the parking brake to stop the vehicle. Some even had their brake booster and master cylinder replaced to correct the problem.
In April, a driver experienced her brake system completely failing at 50 mph. “I feared for my life. It is one of the scariest things I have ever dealt with. I am lucky I am able to write this letter to you,” she stated in her complaint.
In May, NHTSA called the automaker in for an unprecedented hearing to address questions about recall campaigns addressing over 11 million vehicles since 2013.
Fiat Chrysler Under Fire From NHTSA
Though Fiat Chrysler is fully cooperating with the investigation, it might not be enough. NHTSA said it is expanding the number of Fiat Chrysler recalls it will review at a July 2 public hearing, while also addressing the fact that the automaker has failed to meet “legal requirements to fix defects, make replacement parts available and notify owners and regulators in a timely fashion. NHTSA also announced that it is adding two additional recalls from 2014 covering another 1 million vehicles to its review.
Fiat Chrysler could face up to $35 million for each of the recall campaigns if it determines it failed to meet legal requirements by NHTSA. The other possible solution presented was “to take specified action to meet those requirements, including by ordering the manufacturer to refund the purchase price of the defective or noncomplying vehicles, less a reasonable allowance for depreciation.”