According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the minivan's front crash sensors may crack "under certain environmental conditions," which can then cause water to seep into the sensor. We're guessing that these environmental conditions refer to cold temperatures, since the list of states affected by this recall are mostly in the northern half of the U.S. If water does enter the sensor, it can trigger the airbag fault warning light and may hinder the performance of the overall airbag system.
In the event of airbag warning light illumination, owners are asked to have their vans serviced immediately to correct the problem. The full recall campaign will begin in June of this year, and owners can contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403 for more information. Click through the jump to read the official NHTSA statement.
UPDATE: Chrysler informs us that this is not an official recall, but rather a "safety improvement campaign" that was reported in early January.
CHRYSLER / TOWN AND COUNTRY
DODGE / CARAVAN
DODGE / GRAND CARAVAN
Model Year(s): 2005-2006
Manufacturer: CHRYSLER GROUP LLC
Mfr's Report Date: JAN 07, 2010
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V008000
NHTSA Action Number: RQ09003
Component: AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:SENSOR/CONTROL MODULE
Potential Number of Units Affected: 312442
CHRYSLER IS CONDUCTING A SAFETY IMPROVEMENT CAMPAIGN INVOLVING MODEL YEAR 2005-2006 DODGE CARAVAN, GRAND CARAVAN AND CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY VEHICLES ORIGINALLY SOLD IN OR CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN THE STATES OF CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, IOWA, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, KANSAS, KENTUCKY, MASSACHUSETTS, MAINE, MARYLAND, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH DAKOTA, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, SOUTH DAKOTA, TENNESSEE, UTAH, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, ALASKA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE FRONT CRASH SENSORS MAY CRACK UNDER CERTAIN ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS AND ALLOW WATER TO ENTER INTO THE SENSOR. THIS CAN CAUSE THE SENSOR TO BECOME INOPERATIVE AND ILLUMINATE THE AIRBAG WARNING LIGHT. THESE SENSORS WERE ADDED TO ENHANCE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AIRBAG SYSTEM IN CERTAIN FRONTAL CRASHES.
IF THE FRONT CRASH SENSORS BECOME INOPERATIVE, THE DRIVER IS IMMEDIATELY ALERTED BY ILLUMINATION OF THE AIRBAG WARNING LIGHT AND THE VEHICLE SHOULD BE PROMPTLY SERVICED. UNTIL THE VEHICLE IS REPAIRED, THE AIRBAGS MAY NOT PROVIDE THE ENHANCED PROTECTION IN THE EVENT OF A CRASH.
CHRYSLER WILL REPLACE THE FRONT AIRBAG SENSORS WITH A NEW DESIGN. THIS SERVICE WILL BE PERFORMED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY IMPROVEMENT CAMPAIGN WILL BEGIN DURING JUNE 2010. OWNERS MAY CONTACT CHRYSLER AT 1-800-853-1403.
CHRYSLER'S CAMPAIGN NUMBER IS J38. THIS ACTION IS DEEMED A SAFETY IMPROVEMENT CAMPAIGN AND IS NOT BEING CONDUCTED UNDER THE SAFETY ACT. HOWEVER, CHRYSLER HAS INFORMED NHTSA THAT IT WILL PROVIDE THE MODIFICATIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE AT NO COST.