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NHTSA probes Grand Cherokee fires

Blazes start in headliner

By AutoWeek Aug 23, 2013 8:44AM

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee (© Chrysler Group LLC)




U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV after complaints about fires inside the car.


In a filing Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has received three reports of fires in the headliner of the SUV near the passenger-side sun visor. The inquiry covers 146,000 vehicles. It is not related to a long-running probe of older Grand Cherokees that caught fire when struck from behind.


In each of the three complaints that prompted the NHTSA investigation, the driver smelled something burning and saw smoke coming from the headliner. Lowering the windows in an effort to clear the smoke only fanned the flames.


The three fires had to be extinguished because they kept burning after the car was turned off. In one case the fire shattered the sunroof, and in another the burning visor fell onto the passenger seat and set the seat on fire.


Chrysler Group said the Grand Cherokee remains one of the safest cars on the road.


“Customer safety is paramount at Chrysler Group,” a spokesman wrote in an e-mail today. “Accordingly, our engineers are investigating this concern while also fully supporting the preliminary evaluation opened by [NHTSA].”


NHTSA typically begins this type of evaluation when consumer complaints or manufacturer service bulletins suggest there may be a safety-related defect.


Once that evaluation is complete, the agency either begins an engineering analysis or closes the inquiry. Based on the outcome of the engineering analysis, a vehicle may be recalled or the inquiry may be closed with no further action.


-- Gabe Nelson of Automotive News


"Grand Cherokee headliner fires probed by NHTSA" was originally publish by Automotive News.

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Aug 23, 2013 10:49AM
Maybe it's hard to find good people brave enough to work in Detroit these days.
Aug 31, 2013 8:24AM
I sell Jeep's for a living. We have not seen any problems like this at our dealership. I think it is time consumers learn something. Not one auto manufacturer makes all the components that go in their vehicles. The are at the mercy of the vendors that make these parts. If you think the vehicle you are driving better than any other think again. It may have the same parts as the ones that may have failed on the Jeep. Remember right after they made the first car. They made a repair manual for it. THEY ALL BREAK. Buy the vehicle you like best. Buy the extended warranty from the manufacture. Get one that covers everything but wear items. You will be a happy camper. While the other guy is pissing and moaning about a repair bill.
Aug 24, 2013 3:51AM
I ad a 1994 Jeep Cherokee and it was one of the best vehicles that I ever owned. Had very few problems outside of normal wear and tear. This year I had bought a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and had nothing but problems. The gas tank leaked, got that fixed then the thing started smoking underneath the car. So we jumped out, parked it and never drove it again. Especially since all of the gas tank problems.  Wasn't going to take anymore chances so I junked it.  The Grand Cherokee seems to have more isssues than just a plain Jeep. 
Aug 23, 2013 12:11PM

I want to like Jeep but it's reports like this that keep me from it.  When the Grand Cherokee's were first re-introduced in '92 we decided to test drive one.  What a joke.  The diagnostics panel on the dash kept chiming several problems throughout the test drive.  Did I mention it was brand new?  Poorly designed and poorly made.  The salesman even had the audacity to tell us they were not accepting offers at sticker price--they wanted more!   We went across town and bought a new Ford Explorer.  Not our smartest purchase either but that's another story.  Not much has been done in the last 20 years to make me change my opinion.  No Jeeps for my private fleet until I see better reliability scores and no reports of fires.

Aug 25, 2013 10:48AM
Used cars to avoid:
Per Consumer Reports and MSN Auto: The Grand Cherokee regularly makes the list

Per Forbes:
  Dodge Nitro
  Jeep Liberty
  Chrysler Town and Country
  Jeep Wrangler

CBS news (with info gathered from JD Power):
  Dodge Charger
  Chrysler Sebring
  Buick Lacross
  Jeep Wrangler
  Grand Cherokee
  GMC Acadia

  Don't get me wrong, the Cherokee is a comfortable ride with nice bells and whistles and is almost unrivaled as an off road SUV, but has reliability problems, has had for a long time. Every time I see someone driving one I say to myself, "There goes another consumer that did not do their homework before purchasing".
Is that enough proof for you Joseph, Tater, Shebyz?? LOL!  Don't take my word for it, your computer has this wonderful search engine called "Google", try educating yourself before claiming others are liars. Don't what if you make bad choices,,, there will be other times that you can choose the right path.

Aug 23, 2013 10:22AM
OMG, MORE Jeep problems?! I don't understand why anyone would buy any Jeep product other than the CJ's and Wranglers. The rest are total crap and the Cherokee heads up the list each year as THE WORST used car purchase that you can make.
  Chrysler seems determined to destroy themselves with all of the problems this year.

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