The 2003 Jeep Liberty
Patrick Rall's picture

Jeep Liberty under NHTSA investigation for airbag risks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into select Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles over concerns that the airbag system could deploy without an impact – a situation that has potential to cause severe injury along with an increased likelihood of a crash should the airbags open while the vehicle is being driven.
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The NHTSA opened this investigation of the 2002 and 2003 Jeep Liberty models after receiving seven complaints of the airbags opening without proper cause. Five of these seven reports included injuries caused by the unneeded deployment of the airbags and with the increased risk of accidents that could be caused by this problem, the feds have opened a preliminary investigation into these vehicles – an investigation that affects a whopping 387,356 vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation will take a close look at the airbag system of the 2002 and 2003 Jeep Liberty to see if there is some sort of mechanical, electrical or engineering flaw that is causing the airbags to open without cause and without warning. Should the NHTSA find that there is a problem with a specific system or component, this preliminary investigation could lead to a recall of nearly 400,000 Jeeps. Even if the NHTSA does not rule that a recall is required, the Chrysler Group and Jeep could issue a recall on their own to address this problem.

This is not the first time the Chrysler Group has run into airbag deployment issues as in early August 2011, the smallest of the Detroit Big 3 posted a recall of almost 300,000 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans over a similar concern of airbags opening without proper cause. However, in that recall Chrysler found that an air condition drainage hose could fail and allow condensation to drip onto the control unit for the airbag system. Over time, that moisture will cause corrosion that could lead to the airbags opening on their own. There is no indication right now as to what the cause is of the Jeep Liberty airbag deployment but we can be sure that the NHTSA and Chrysler will work hard to determine the cause and the fix to prevent people from having to deal with the horror that must be having your airbags open at speed.

Ford Motor Company also faced a similar recall of 2005 and 2006 Ford F150 pickups as they too were having airbags open for no reason. With those models, it was found that there was a wiring issue inside of the steering wheel that was easily repaired so Ford recalled around 1.2 million trucks to fix the problem quickly. Other companies including Honda and Hyundai have both also faced similar issues and with the push for safer and improved technology, we are bound to see these problems spring up as the problems with advanced airbag technology show themselves via the real world.

Other Airbag Recall News:
Chrysler recalls 299,718 minivans for airbag risks
Ford recalls 150,000 F150 pickups over airbag deployment risks
Ford expands F150 airbag recall to almost 1.2 million trucks
Honda recalls 833,000 vehicles for airbag problem, again
Hyundai recalls 190000 Elantra sedans for airbag risk


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Comments

It's good to see nhtsa at work. Since I am one of the victims of airbag deploying w/o collision it will be good to have you investigating Chrysler/Jeep. Thanks
Yes, I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty and my airbag light spontaneously comes on and goes off at will. I've researched the problem and although I see MANY complaints of the same issue, NO RECALL?????
Yes, I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty and my airbag light spontaneously comes on and goes off at will. I've researched the problem and although I see MANY complaints of the same issue, NO RECALL?????
I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty and the air bag light is on also. I have already had to replace the engine and now I am having 3 other codes showing up with the evap control system. I have had to replace a coil pack on cylinder 4 three different times now. I am not happy with the Jeep Libery and I really wish I had never bought it. I bought it brand new and have always taken good care of it.
Our Jeeps air bags deployed for no reason a few years ago. Of course, Jeep had the bags replaced. Our son wrecked the Jeep in Dec. and the air bags did NOT deploy. Now what can we do?
As I have stated in the past: I had the airbag deploy w/o crash more than a year ago in my 2003 Jeep. Am still waiting for response for compensation To my insurance co & out of pocket expenses. Isn't it time for Jeep to accept responsibility Before some gets killed for the malfunction.
Unfortunately, I don't think Jeep wants to accept responsibility for anything. I own two, a 2000 Wrangler, and a 2002 Liberty, and the Liberty has been the most trouble-prone vehicle I've ever owned..and I've owned some clunkers. I keep it because it's paid off, but that's the only reason. From rear windows that fall down into the doors over and over due to a cheap plastic part that constantly breaks, to a weak front suspension design that blows shocks repeatedly, to using un-greasable CV joints in the drive shafts that fail, to an engine that blows head gaskets and uses oil like crazy at 100,000 miles, rear suspension bushings that wear out and cause the vehicle to sway back and forth, to now this particular air bag problem..our air bag light started going on about a month ago and Jeep wants $100 just to put the thing on the machine to try and diagnose the problem (one of the local dealerships was vocally more worried about who was going to pay them than if the vehicle was sound). There's already been several recalls (another one for air bag problems, even) on Jeep Liberty, but Jeep is really dragging it's feet on this one. Considering the fact that the work put out by our local dealership is pretty-substandard already (you should see how they butchered some warranty work that I had to have re-done), I won't give them $100 to have some guy who used to flip burgers for a living plug the thing into a machine..I disconnected the air-bags because I'd rather take THAT chance than drive around constantly on edge because they might explode in my face at any moment. My 2000 TJ Wrangler has been very trouble free..but after talking to other owners of Libertys, Grand Cherokees, and other Jeep vehicles, it would appear that the TJ Wrangler might have been the last good vehicle they ever built. I certainly won't ever buy another one.
HOW CAN YOU LET PEOPLE DRIVE AROUND IN A CAR WHOSE AIRBAGS COULD GO OFF WITHOUT A MOMENTS NOTICE? HOW COULD YOU MORALLY BE OK WITH THAT? I RECEIVED MY NOTICE TODAY, AND CALLED TO SEE WHEN THEY WILL BE ABLE TO FIX THIS PROBLEM AS I PREFER NOT TO DIE. THEY SAID PARTS COULD TAKE 3 MONTHS TO COME IN TO DEALERS. SO FOR 3 MONTHS, THERE IS A GREAT CHANCE OF GETTING INTO AN ACCIDENT, KILLING MYSELF, MY FAMILY AND POSSIBLY OTHERS. THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. THEY SHOULD BE TAKING THESE CARS OFF OF THE ROAD, PAY FOR RENTALS. NOT ONE LIFE IS WORTH IT.
2002 liberty airbag light comes on and goes off. Scared to get in the thing.