FCA dealers ready with software fix for gear shifters

FCA dealers ready with software fix for gear shifters

Hereês one safety fix that consumers will likely ask their dealer to do: a software update for confusing gear shifters, like the one in Star Trek actor Anon Yelchinês 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that tragically caused his death at his home in LA last month.

FCA started sending the software update to its 2,427 U.S. dealers shortly before Yelchinês death and sent letters to customers soon after that urging them to make a service appointment with their dealer to get the update, reports the Associated Press. Although customers often ignore recall letters, the untimely death of the 27 year old Yelchin could at least be a useful safety impetus to affect needed recall repairs. Fiat Chrysler has recalled 1.1 million vehicles with that type of gear shifter.

The Grand Cherokee has an electronic gear shifter instead of a conventional one with notches. To shift from drive to park, the driver must push the lever three times. If it is not pushed correctly, the car can shift into neutral after the driver leaves and could roll forward if it is on a slope. The software dealers have received will automatically shift the vehicle into park if it detects that the door has opened while the engine is running.

After Yelchinês death, NHTSA revealed that it had discovered 266 accidents that killed 68 people in FCA vehicles with the shifter. The agency had received 686 consumer complaints about the shifter.

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