Chrysler is expanding the recall of Jeep Commander SUVs to repair engine stalling that has endangered scores of Jeep owners.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the automaker has now recalled 24,461 2006 Jeep Commanders to reprogram automatic transmission software in Jeeps equipped with the 4.7 liter engine.
NHTSA warned Commander owners that the software glitch could cause a crash without warning.
NHTSA opened an investigation of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler SUV last year following at least 53 reports of the engine stalling at highway speeds.
That investigation involved 35,000 vehicles, according to NHTSA.
At the time, NHTSA reported that the agency had received complaints of engine stalls at highway speeds that included 12 cases with a loss of electrical power and lighting.
The latest Jeep Commander recall involves computer software in the automatic transmission control module of the 2006 Commander. Jeep dealers will reprogram the software in 2006 Jeep Commanders built before January 11, 2006.
In a limited action, Chrysler recalled 1,338 of the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander earlier this year to repair a stalling problem in the vehicles. In that recall, NHTSA reported that the the front control module may have been incorrectly manufactured," and could cause the engine to stall while driving or not start.
Jeep owners describe the stalling condition as frightening. On May 6, a Galveston, Indiana woman struggled with a stalled Jeep.
Everything just completely shuts down and I am unable to steer and have to restart the engine, Cathleen wrote ConsumersAffairs.Com. This has happened 3 to 4 times now and the dealer says there is nothing they can find wrong with my vehicle. It happened again today while in a parking lot.
Consumers reported that in many cases Jeep dealers are unable to fix the stalling.
I have had my Jeep in and out of the shop in regards to it stalling all of a sudden, a Wisconsin woman reported to ConsumerAffairs.Com. Each possibility proposed to me is not a sure fix and is very expensive, she said.
In San Francisco, a ConsumersAffairs.Com reader said the stalling problem behind two Chrysler recalls is not limited to the new Commander. I have a 1997 Jeep Laredo that I purchased over 2 years ago from a used car dealer. The stalling problem started around January 2008, she said. I was going 60 mph on the highway and it just died.
Jeep owners can contact Chrysler about the stalling problems at 1-800-853-1403 or NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153).