By on March 13, 2019

2016 Jeep Compass & Patriot

It’s not just TTAC readers’ favorite crossover, the Dodge Journey, that’s under recall for emissions non-compliance — the same callback order impacts such vehicles as the first-generation Jeep Patriot and Compass, Dodge Caliber and Avenger, and Chrysler 200.

Fiat Chrysler claims its voluntary recall of 862,520 vehicles in the U.S. isn’t a big deal, as the automaker is simply complying with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Owners stand to get a new catalytic convertor out of the deal.

In a release, FCA repeated the EPA’s statement that the recall “is the result of in-use emissions investigations conducted by EPA and in-use testing conducted by FCA as required by EPA regulations.”

The models in question are the front-drive 2011-2016 Dodge Journey, 2011-2016 Jeep Patriot and Compass (equipped with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission), 2011-2012 Dodge Caliber, and 2011-2014 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger.

In-use testing is one of four checks the EPA uses to keep the industry in line on emissions, with tests “occuring after the vehicles or engines have been certified and after they have been in customer service for some period of time.” These aging FCA vehicles didn’t clear the bar out in the real world, though the EPA says owners can continue driving them until their dealer brings them into compliance.

Of the six models listed, only two remain in production.

2011 Dodge Caliber


“Due to the large number of vehicles involved and the need to supply replacement components – specifically to the vehicle’s catalytic converter – this recall will be implemented in phases during the 2019 calendar year beginning with the oldest vehicles first,” the agency stated.

Under FCA’s recall schedule, 2011MY vehicles will see shop time in the first quarter of 2019, with 2012MY vehicles getting a fix in the second quarter. Owners of 2013 and 2014 vehicles will have to wait until the third quarter, with the newest vehicles going under the technician’s knife in Q4.

“We are advised that today’s EPA announcement reflects a new policy for announcing routine emissions recalls,” FCA said in a statement. “This campaign has no safety implications. Nor are there any associated fines. This issue was discovered by FCA during routine in-use emissions testing and reported to the agency. We began contacting affected customers last month to advise them of the needed repairs, which will be provided at no charge.”

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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36 Comments on “Fiat Chrysler Recalls a Bevy of Models Following In-use Emissions Tests...”

  • avatar

    $10 and a box of donut holes this is because the catalytic converter degrades too fast, and the root cause is Daimler forcing them to cheap out on the catalyst material.

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds about right…

      What is the miles/years that OEMs are required to warranty emissions components again? (I can never remember…)

      • 0 avatar

        5/80 I think.

        but that’s just the mandated warranty period, I don’t know if the regulations expect a longer lifetime. e.g. if one or two fail here and there after 80k miles, no biggie, but if they’re *all* failing just after 80k miles, you got a problem.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a very strong incentive to reduce the use of Pt/Pd/Rh to the absolute minimum.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Quite possibly. These cars were all developed under the DaimlerChrysler administration—albeit on a Mitsubishi platform and powered mostly by “World” engines—but all of the model years are 2011 and newer…which is well past the date that DaimlerChrysler ended. Thus, these catalytic converters have had to have been in development during the time DaimlerChrysler was still in effect, which was no later than 2007, in order for that to make sense.

      Alternatively, it could be that the DaimlerChrysler regime left Chrysler so broke, it had to cost-cut. But that doesn’t seem to likely.

      To me, this sounds like a defect. Perhaps they switched suppliers for something, and that supplier gave them faulty materials or components. And that’s only if the catalytic converters were switched in or around 2011; Bozi or someone could probably look that up.

      • 0 avatar

        IIRC there’s little to no Mitsubishi in at least the “D” segment cars (Avenger, 200/Sebring, Journey.) The common platform hinged on Schrempp pulling off his takeover of Mitsubishi Motors, and when Deutsche Bank said “Nein!” to that, development of those cars had to be “reset” and went back to an evolution of the previous JR cars. The 200/Sebring, Avenger, and Journey all still have the battery in the driver’s side wheel well, for example just like the previous Stratus and Sebring.

    • 0 avatar
      Synoptic 12

      The Truth:
      As we’ve been stating for some time, “Cars and trucks of this generation are “All Junk”: “Absolute Junk”.

      • 0 avatar

        “The Truth:
        As we’ve been stating for some time, “Cars and trucks of this generation are “All Junk”: “Absolute Junk”.”

        the best thing about dumb people is they make it easy for you to identify them.

    • 0 avatar

      People didn’t want to believe me when I said Daimler was the cause of the majority of Chrysler’s problems. Here is yet more proof.

  • avatar

    Ewww, Calibers and Avengers rolling into the shop en masse would hurt anyone’s eyes. I’m having a dystopian Mad Max head-movie visualizing it. Being forced to spend money on those is a “fine” all by itself.

    • 0 avatar

      They didn’t sell that many. For the Caliber ’11-’12 years, they sold about 45,000. The ’11-’14 Avengers were about 300,000, but many of those went to rental fleets. How many of those are still on the road?

      The Chrysler 200’s for ’11-’14 were well over 400,000, and many of them went to rental companies too. How many do you see on the road today? FCA knows how many, and they don’t seem upset at all. That should tell you all you need to know.

      • 0 avatar

        If I were the service manager I’d park them in the back. Don’t want to remind the public what they used to sell.

        Your point is well-taken. I haven’t seen a Caliber since practically ever. The last Avenger was maybe two years ago. I still see an occasional Gen 1 200.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know where you live, but Avengers and 200s as well as Patriots/Compass are absolutely thick on the ground in the Midwest, both out in the sticks but especially in poorer urban neighborhoods, and everywhere in between. You’re right, they seem to mostly have gone to fleets as new cars, but are not very popular bad-credit BHPH fodder.

        • 0 avatar

          @gtem, I don’t know if you replied to me…I’m in the extended D.C. area. Most of the people that don’t work in agriculture, retail or lower-pay service jobs endure an arduous commute to the big city where the higher-paying jobs are. Statistically the area is fairly affluent based on national averages. The cost of living is correspondingly high.

          The Sebring-Gen 1 200/Avenger twins appeared to do poorly sales-wise. The last gen 200 was modestly more successful.

          The Patriot did OK but for every one there were probably 4 or more Grand Cherokees which was/is very popular. Of late the Patriots appear to have thinned out.

          The Compass wasn’t seen much. The Renegade appears to be doing quite well so the difference may be the perceived lack of off-road capability for the Compass. All the above is from casual observation so weight it accordingly.

          • 0 avatar

            Both to you and Lorenzo I suppose. And my last sentence should say “but ARE very popular BHPH/bad credit fodder. In our nicer suburbs yes the Grand Cherokees are VERY popular vehicles. But in the working class areas, the 200s/Avengers/Journeys/Patriots/1st gen Compass are absolutely thick on the ground, and Calibers are still very much a common sight, I can here them clanging down our broken concrete pavement before I see them (worn out front control arms).

            I think the Avenger/200 are not fundamentally unreliable cars, it’s the massive use and abuse they’re receiving at the hands of their owners that takes them to an early grave. Standard issue on Avengers/200s around here is missing hubcaps and/or space saver tire, bubbling limo tint, and always body damage.

          • 0 avatar

            Ah, got it. There are several BHPH lots in the small city nearest me and that’s where those cars congregate. Also older Mitsubishi, Nissan and the usual higher mileage domestic sedans. Add to that a fair amount of 8-ish y.o. and older BMW, Audi, M-B and similar makes for those seeking a status brand within their budget.

            The interiors of the Sebring/G1 200/Avenger turned off buyers of all stripes in this area when shopping for new; in conversation those folks told me they looked cheap/low-rent and then bought elsewhere.

  • avatar

    I wonder how many bringing their car in for the recall will be driving out with a different vehicle?

    If I was an FCA dealer I’d be planning to hard sell anyone that I expect I could finance.

  • avatar

    The good news for FCA is that many of these pos vehicles were junked when their horrible “world” engine or CVT took a very expensive $#¡t.

    The rest should simply be crushed in the better interest of humanity as a whole.

    (I’d say, and have said, the same about Ford Windstar/Freestar/Monterey, and the GM U minivans. The kinda s#¡tboxes that give all American cars a bad rep that most dont deserve.)

    • 0 avatar

      Were the engines that problematic? Not that I’ve heard. And the Jatco CVTs in the Caliber/Patriot/Compass are ironically enough rather long-lived and one of the less problematic aspects of the cars. Electrical issues and notoriously weak front suspension bushings plague these things mostly.

    • 0 avatar

      The Pentastar/62TE* setup in a 200 or Avenger is fun, though.
      [Dangit, that’s another awful take I forgot to list in the QOTD a few days ago.]
      I had one as a loaner for a few days while having some things fixed on my old Dakota, and the driving experience reminded me of the Northstar 1993 Cadillac STS my folks had, but a few hundred pounds lighter and not wanting to torque-steer all the way into the next lane when floored.

      *6-speed conventional automatic

      • 0 avatar

        I have this engine/trans in my Town and Country, very satisfying. I can only imagine it with 500lb or so less weight!

        • 0 avatar

          Those 3.6 200s in the right equipment level are shockingly nice cars with… a rubbish floorpan and a cliff-face if a monolithic dash.

          They’re rocketships and comfortable— very reliable and efficient. Well-priced for what they are.

          Make mine a fleet-spec 3.6 2012 in dark purple over heated tan cloth with black trims. The cars have full optioning beyond MyGig and leather. Hubcaps over steel wheels— bargains.

          300HP and trunk hinges better than an E-Class. $7,999 anywhere.

          • 0 avatar

            The difficulty is fast becoming finding one that isn’t an abused trash heap. Their cliff-face depreciation and total lack of badge-cred make them prime targets for neglectful idiot owners unfortunately. Maybe finding one out in a small town bought by an older person is the best bet.

  • avatar

    Interesting that no actual data on emissions are in any article that I have read.
    Recalling the “VW Diesel-Gate” when I found a detailed technical explanation of what was in the cars exhaust it was about the same as most vehicles that are 15 or more years old.
    If you believe the TV news and uninformed internet “experts” you might think if one of these cars drove by, while you were on the sidewalk, you would instantly asphyxiate.
    Not to say that the manufacturers should have vehicles that exceed the emission standards and or wear out rapidly.
    Federal emission ‘warranty’ is 7 yrs 70K miles last time I checked.

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