Chrysler has issued a recall for 2008 models of the Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Chrysler 300, Jeep Commander, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Some of those vehicles may suffer from an ignition switch problem that could disable features like windshield wipers, defrosters, and even airbags.
In a press release, Chrysler says that on some 2008 vehicles, the ignition key may not properly return to the "on" position after starting. This can play out in two different ways:
Scenario #1: If the key doesn't fully rotate back to the "on" position, remaining somewhere between "on" and "start", the windshield wipers and defroster may not work. Chrysler is careful to note that, unlike GM models affected by the "Switchgate" recalls, this condition will not disable the airbags.
Scenario #2: In this case, the ignition key may slip past the "on" position altogether, rotating to the "accessory" slot, or possibly "off". Though this is apparently much more rare than scenario #1, if it occurs, if could disable the engine, power brakes, power steering, and safety features like the front airbags.
Chrysler says that it knows of only one accident related to this problem, but hasn't stated which of the two scenarios caused it. No injuries were associated with the accident.
The recall affects all 2008 model-year vehicles built before May 12, 2008. All told, some 349,442 vehicles are affected: 292,224 registered in the U.S., 18,976 in Canada, 4,947 in Mexico, and 33,295 registered elsewhere.
Chrysler hasn't confirmed when it will formally notify owners of the recall or what the fix might entail. In the meantime, the automaker asks owners to remove their ignition keys from any key rings and to confirm that the key is in the "on" position after starting the vehicle.
If you believe you own one of these vehicles and have questions in the meantime, you're encouraged to call Chrysler's Customer Information Center at 800-853-1403.