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Nearly 1 million FCA shifters recalled

by David Zatz on

Cars and SUVs with the ZF “Curse-O-Matic” shifter — the electronic shifter that first shipped with eight-speed automatics, which springs back to the center after each shift — are being recalled, to the tune of well over one million vehicles.

The voluntary recall will not change the behavior of the shifter. Some customers have complained that it makes getting into Reverse or Park more difficult than it should be, providing no spatial feedback and having small gaps between detents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FCA US responded to complaints that some drivers have let their vehicles without putting them into Park, apparently related to 41 injuries. None appear to be related to any equipment failure.

The system already shows the gear on both gauge cluster and shifter  (e.g. P or D) and chimes if the driver-side door is opened while the engine is running and it is not in “Park;” FCA US will “enhance the warnings and transmission-shift strategy,” preventing movement even when not in Park.

The recall affects 811,586 vehicles in the US, 52,144 in Canada, and around 260,000 elsewhere. All have the eight-speed automatic:

Affected customers will be notified when service becomes available; in the meantime, drivers should check one of the two indicators (gauge cluster and shifter) to make sure the car is in Park before exiting. The company dropped this type of shifter in 2015 on cars, and in 2016 on the Grand Cherokee.

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