New Dodge Charger Recall is Due to Incapable Operators, Not the Cars
We live in an age where some people are so carelessly foolish that companies literally have to walk the consumer through every aspect of usage and in this case, the Dodge Charger is the target of the “unnecessary recall bug”. All 2011-2016 Dodge Charger sedans – 504,723 Chargers around the world – are being recalled so that the dealership can give the owners wheel chocks. The company has decided to do this after receiving a handful of reports about the Dodge Charger falling off of the jack while a tire was being changed and in three of those reports, there were minor injuries.
All 2011-2016 Dodge Charger owners will be asked to come to their local Chrysler Group dealership, where they will be issued a set of wheel chocks. These wheel chocks are to be used anytime the Charger is jacked up to ensure that the car won’t shift and slide off of the jack. 441,578 of these cars are in the US while 19,229 are in Canada, are 4,969 in Mexico and the last 38,947 are outside of North America.
That’s it. You show up with your Charger, they give you wheel chocks. Easy Peasy.
And kind of ridiculous for the company that they have to go through this nonsense just to protect people who can’t be bothered learning how to jack up their cars. This is one of those “common sense is dead” recalls.
The Real Problem
When this recall was first announced, some publications made it sound as though the Dodge Charger sedans had some mechanical or design flaw that was making them fall off of the jacks, but in reality, this isn’t a problem with the car. The owner’s manual explains how and where to jack up the Dodge Charger and when those directions are followed, there is absolutely no risk of the car sliding off of the jack. However, if you do not follow the fairly simple jacking instructions, there is a chance that the car could slide off of the jack and if the operator has a wheel off, there is a chance that the car could fall down onto the braking assembly – crushing anything in its way.
I have to wonder if this Dodge Charger recall won’t lead to more, similar recalls so that other companies can hand out wheel chocks. The “problem” is that if you are using a very small jack, like the one included with most new cars, it has a very small surface to contact car undercarriage of the car. If you put this tiny little jack in an unusual place on many cars, there is a chance that the metal or plastic under the car can deform under the weight of the vehicle and as a result, the car can shift on the jack. When working as a mechanic, I saw countless cars that had damage underneath from people jacking them up incorrectly, so that aspect is surprisingly common across all sorts of unibody cars. Unfortunately for Dodge, with a larger car like the Charger, it is easier to jack it up in a way that the weight isn’t balanced properly, so the car is more prone to shift if jacked up incorrectly.
Chrysler is basically giving out wheel chocks so that the people who are too lazy to read their owner’s manual are less likely to hurt themselves when trying to change a tire. Putting the chocks in place when jacking the car up will prevent the car from shifting, although jacking the car up in the wrong place can still damage the car – even if it doesn’t fall off of the jack.
In short, if you own a 2011-2016 Dodge Charger, read the section in your owner’s manual about jacking the car up. It could save you from damaging yourself or your car. In fact, regardless of what you drive, you should make sure that you know the proper way to use the factory jack, including where to place it under the vehicle. Ten minutes of reading and looking under your vehicle could save you the headache of dropping your car off of the jack on the side of the road.