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NHTSA investigating 2007-2008 Wrangler airbags

by Bill Cawthon on

The National Highway Transport Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is looking into a potential problem with airbag systems installed on 2007-2008 Jeep Wranglers. NHTSA Campaign PE11-019, opened on May 23, is being conducted by Peter Ong, an investigator with the ODI, and deals with 29 consumer complaints of airbag light illumination or clock spring failure.

The clock spring is a coil mounted inside the steering column that retracts and expands inside its housing as the steering wheel turns. It gets its name from its visual similarity to the mainspring in a mechanical clock or watch. It’s critical because it maintains electrical continuity for all the components on the drivers airbag. A broken electrical circuit in the airbag clockspring wiring assembly can lead to the driver-side front airbag failing to deploy in a collision.

Over half the complaints have been received since the first of the year. The majority (23 of 29) said the airbag clock spring wiring assembly was the problem. The remaining six complaints just said the airbag warning light came on. The ODI contacted fourteen owners, six of whom said they owned a right-hand-drive version of the Wrangler, which is typically used by USPS letter or rural carriers.

Affected models include an estimated 222,500 vehicles including both Wranglers and Wrangler Unlimiteds in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations and left-hand and right-hand versions.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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