Fiat-Chrysler Put Out Cruise Control Software Recall

by: The Knowledge Group

May 29, 2018


With today’s modern cars, dozens of features are included which make the drive easier, one of those being cruise control. It keeps the car moving at a regular pace, it consumes fuel much more efficiently on long drives than the best driver can do so, and it allows a driver to relax instead of constantly being tense holding down a gas pedal. However, with how much of a car is computerized these days, when a cruise control feature malfunctions, it can literally drive a car out of control and into an accident.

Based on only one accident so far with no injuries but clearly linked to a malfunctioning cruise control system, Fiat Chrysler has initiated a full recall on almost 5 million vehicles sold already to avoid a repeat situation. The specific problem is associated with the car picking up speed when it’s in cruise control mode. This can happen when the car is cruising and reaches a hill, at which point the car senses it needs to add gas to maintain its pace or speed. This acceleration in cruise mode may trigger a short circuit. Circuits are critical in electrical systems because they literally turn things on and off. When the circuit failure occurs here, the car could get stuck in cruise control and refuse to disengage.

Normally, one turns off cruise control by clicking the trigger system button on the steering wheel or tapping on the brakes. These features fail with the identified malfunction. Drivers can still shift into neutral if needed, which just lets the engine run disengaged from the transmission. While this is more of an emergency approach, it does slow down the car enough for the driver to pull off the road and stop. Using the brakes to actually stop will still work regardless of the cruise control being engaged. Both neutral shift and brakes combined will work as well. However, fundamentally, the cruise control problem needs to be fixed.

Fiat-Chrysler has issued a recall on all affected vehicles, regardless of whether the problem exists or not, for a software update to resolve the glitch. Until addressed, Fiat-Chrysler drivers shouldn’t use their cruise control at all, just in case.

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