Why a Manufacturer Recall is so important
This Friday, when the lights dim in theaters around the world for the first showing of Star Trek Beyond, it will be the debut of Ensign Chekov's last performance. The young Russian math prodigy that saved Kirk, Sulu and Spock (but sadly not his mother) in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek died last month when his 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit California Edition failed to park correctly and rolled backward down his driveway, crushing him against his brick mailbox pillar.
Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old Russian-American actor who portrays Ensign Pavel Chekov in JJ Abrams' alternate reality reboot of the Star Trek franchise, will be missed. He had a subtle humor and often said as much with just a look as he did with his broken English. The worst part of the real-life story is that his death could have been prevented.
A few months back - April 27, 2016, to be exact - Chrysler announced an immediate recall on "certain model year 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured May 15, 2015, to February 19, 2016." The recall was to address the fact that a solenoid in the transmission was getting stuck, in their own words:
"If the solenoid loses function, the transmission may lock in the Park or Neutral position when the vehicle comes to a stop, possibly rendering the vehicle disabled in traffic, increasing the risk of a crash."
This article is not to blame Chrysler for the death of Anton Yelchin - they did their best to notify dealers and owners of the recall that would affect 32,267 Grand Cherokees - this article is a cautionary tale.
Every year, car manufacturers become aware of defects and parts that wear out prematurely. Maybe they will affect your vehicle and maybe they won't. Some recalls are for small things, like the spring that holds your console lid open or closed. Some recalls are big things, like a brake line pressure hub malfunctioning and one or all of your breaks locking up while you are driving (neither of these examples are from Chrysler made vehicles, but both are actual recalls for actual problems).
Whatever the recall, if you bought your vehicle from a dealership (new or used) they will notify you if they can, and you should look into having the free repair done. Even if you aren't noticing a problem, you should still have it checked out. If you bought your vehicle from a private seller, it would be a good idea to periodically check for recalls online, to see if you are unknowingly putting yourself and others at risk.
If you drive a Cherokee that fits the description above and this is the first time you're hearing of this recall, here is a link where the information can be found so you can get yours checked.
Keep yourself safe on the road as you go boldly, where no man has before.