The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened up investigations into more than 335,000 Chrysler Group vehicles, following reports of fires in Jeep Grand Cherokee models and rear wheel failures in the Dodge Ram 1500. According to documents posted to the NHTSA website, 106,803 Grand Cherokees and 230,000 2009-2010 Ram 1500s are being investigated.
There have been two reports of fires in the Grand Cherokee since May, and a third complaint regarding the JGC losing power steering fluid, resulting in a loss of power steering.
One of the owners whose vehicle caught fire says that he saw power steering fluid in his driveway prior to the incident. NHSTA suspects that the power steering fluid may be leaking onto hot surfaces in the engine compartment.
Additionally, NHSTA is opening up an investigation in the 2009-2010 Dodge Ram, following 12 complaints of rear differential failure, causing rear wheel lock-up.
In the 12 incidents, the common thread appears to be a loosening of the rear differential pinion nut. The majority of these complaints allege that situation resulted in the drive shaft locking up. One report claims that the driveshaft detached and punctured the fuel tank.
This report follows a successful sales month for the Grand Cherokee. June was the best month in sales for the all-road Jeep since 2005, and sales are up 38 percent for the first six months of 2012. Among Chrysler vehicles, the 75,117 units of the Grand Cherokee sold are second only to to the Ram, which sold 138,581 units in the first half of 2012.