Automakers issue recalls all the time. It's part of the cost of doing business. We just assume that once the recall has been carried out, the problem in question has been fixed. But that's not always the case, as this latest investigation being undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration goes to show.

The problem stems back to a recall issued by Chrysler last summer. It revolved rather the sun visor in the SUVs it makes at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant – specifically, the screw affixing the sun visor could end up rubbing against the wiring for the lamp in the vanity mirror, potentially causing an electrical short and even a fire.

62 such short circuits, 38 fires and three injuries reported, prompting Chrysler to recall nearly 900,000 units of the 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango (over 650,000 of them in the United States). The plastic spacers they installed to rectify the problem, however, may not have done the trick.

Eight reports (but none involving injuries) have been filed with the NHTSA regarding the same issue recurring, spurring the government agency to open a new investigation into the matter. If deemed necessary, the NHTSA could ask FCA to issue another recall to fix the issue again, which we may necessitate the installation of a fuze to prevent any such the electric short.

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INVESTIGATION Subject : Headliner Fires
Date Investigation Opened: MAY 01, 2015
Date Investigation Closed: Open
NHTSA Action Number: RQ15003
Manufacturer: Chrysler (FCA US LLC)

On July 1st, 2014 Chrysler (FCA US LLC) issued safety recall 14V-391 to remedy a wiring-related fire hazard on the headliner of approximately 661,888 model year (MY) 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles manufactured between January 5, 2010 and December 11, 2013. The recall was in response to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) investigation EA14-001 during which data provided by Chrysler indicates that the fire is caused by an electrical short in the vanity lamp wiring for either one of the sun visors mounted on the vehicle. The sun visors are mounted to the roof of the vehicle through the headliner with three metal screws. EA14-001 determined that was possible for the sun visor wiring to be pierced by one of these screws, or otherwise electrically shorted either during initial vehicle assembly or later headliner area repairs which may cause an electrical short potentially resulting in fire. Most of the fires occurred while the vehicle was being driven.

The remedy Chrysler developed consists of a plastic guide way installed on each sun visor that routes the wiring away from the attachment screws preventing the wiring from being shorted. In order to install the guide way, the headliner most be lowered and the existing sun visor and headliner wiring is rerouted through the guide way and reinstalled. ODI has received 8 reports of fires occurring after the remedy was installed, with some occupants complaining of smoke sometimes followed by flames erupting in the headliner. No crashes or injuries were alleged in the post remedy fires.

A recall query has been opened to investigate the effectiveness of the remedy for recall 14V-391. The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed at under the following identification numbers: 10703058, 10692710, 10691520, 10684130, 10653417, 10711836, 10705802, and 10640524.

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