Dodge Avenger Engine Problemsby Richard Rowe
With its history of endemic auto recalls, it may shock some to learn that Dodge/Chrysler hasn't yet begun to just forward all of its mail to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From bad ball joints to engines that stall at 75 miles per hour, there seems to be no end to Chrysler Engineering's aptitude for churning out reasonably-priced vehicles with potentially fatal defects. Though a randomly stalling engine may not seem particularly dangerous, loss of power steering and brakes at interstate speeds can be.
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Integrated tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have likely saved scores of lives by preventing tire failure due to under or over-inflation. These systems work by monitoring tire pressure with a sensor integrated into the wheel hub or rim to tell the car's on-board computer system if the tire is properly inflated. However, when these systems are integrated into engine control systems to shut the car down in the event of low-pressure, this ersatz safety device can become a dangerous nuisance.
Stalling and Crashing - Part I
According to the NHTSA and Bloomberg, bad engineering and product testing is at the heart of this matter. Avengers and other vehicles using these systems have unused connectors on the control unit, which are left open to outside weathering and corrosion factors. When water or salt encounters the unused connectors it causes corrosion, which causes the control unit to develop an internal short. This short can disable the unit with no warning whatsoever, causing an engine stall at speed and subsequent loss of vehicle control.
In April of 2008, Reuters informed us that Chrysler had issued a recall for almost 181,000 2007 to 2008 Chrysler Sebrings and Dodge Avengers to fix the malfunctioning TPMS. This repair can be done by any Chrysler/Dodge dealership free of charge, and simply involves sealing the unused connectors to prevent short circuiting.
Stalling and Crashing - Part II
In September of 2008, Chrysler issued a recall for 719 2009 Sebring, Dodge Caliber, Avenger, Journey, Jeep Patriot and Compass crossovers. According to the NHTSA, a new adhesive used to secure the Powertrain Control Module can cause the circuit board to break, compelling the vehicle to randomly stall and crash.
Burning and Crashing
102,042 2007 to 2008 Avengers and Sebrings were recalled due to a defect which, at first blush, might seem more of an irritation than a real danger. Engine coolant that's supposed to be contained in the radiator can be "drawn into the left side radiator cooling fan," causing an electrical short that may or may not set the engine compartment on fire. Contact your local Dodge dealership for repair information, or your local paramedic for burn care.
- photo_camera Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of dodge challenger1