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NHTSA closes investigation of Chrysler switches

by Bill Cawthon on

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its investigation into a possible defect in the headlamp switch assemblies installed in Model Year 2005-2006 minivans produced between March 2004 and December 2005.

Affected vehicles include the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler Voyager, Dodge Caravan and Dodge Grand Caravan that were built using a TRW-supplied switch assembly that could fail over time, causing anomalous behaviors. Consumer complaints included the headlights not turning on, headlights turning off during vehicle operation and incorrect operation of the high beams when the turn signal level was operated. Other lights operated by the switch assembly, including parking lights, side indicator lights and taillights, were not affected.

Preliminary Investigation PE10022 was opened in July 2010 and was upgraded to Engineering Analysis EA11010 in September 2011. The findings indicated that friction between a plastic cam and metal contacts could generate particles that could accumulate on the headlamp contacts, causing an open circuit. Turning the headlights off and on again dislodged the particles, clearing the contacts.

Chrysler Group has announced it will provide a lifetime warranty on the assembly, allowing vehicle owners to have it replaced at no charge if the problem develops. The company will contact owners of record and advise them of the new warranty provisions.

With this announcement, the NHTSA has determined no further action is required at this time and has closed EA11010.

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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