Unhappy Journey: Fiat Chrysler Recalls a Slew of Dodge Darts for Potential Rollaway Issue

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The Dodge Dart rolled unceremoniously out of the Fiat Chrysler stable after the 2016 model year, but the automaker now worries it may roll out of owners’ driveways.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 298,439 Darts in the United States, 20,117 in Canada, and 3,400 in Mexico to fix a shift cable that can detach from the transmission, potentially leaving the car stuck in a gear that isn’t “park.”

According to a recall report sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the callback covers all 2013 to 2016 Darts sold with a six-speed automatic transmission. Following numerous repair orders and consumer complaints related to the issue, FCA determined that the cable bushings in these cars can deteriorate due to heat and humidity, ultimately reaching the breaking point.

“If the shifter cable becomes detached from the transmission, the vehicle may


not perform the shifts intended by the driver,” the automaker wrote with dry understatement.

“The true transmission gear position will be displayed on the instrument cluster and on the display next to the shifter. In addition, if the driver’s door is opened while the transmission is not in PARK, the vehicle not in PARK and door ajar messages will display on the instrument cluster and audible chimes will sound. If these warnings are not heeded, unintended vehicle movement and vehicle crash can occur.”

The automaker claims no injuries or accidents have resulted from the issue.

Should the cable disconnect, drivers might discover that the shift lever moves more easily than normal. Owners are encouraged to always shut off the engine and engage the parking brake to prevent a sudden rollaway. Recall notifications should arrive in the mail on May 31st. Once returned to the dealer, technicians will install a more robust cable bushing.

Despite ceasing production in September 2016, new Darts are still leaving lots in the United States — a legacy of the unpopularity that signed its death warrant (and apparently left the automaker with a hefty inventory it couldn’t unload). FCA sold two Darts last month, eight this year, and 389 in 2018.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • ToolGuy The other day I attempted to check the engine oil in one of my old embarrassing vehicles and I guess the red shop towel I used wasn't genuine Snap-on (lots of counterfeits floating around) plus my driveway isn't completely level and long story short, the engine seized 3 minutes later.No more used cars for me, and nothing but dealer service from here on in (the journalists were right).
  • Doughboy Wow, Merc knocks it out of the park with their naming convention… again. /s
  • Doughboy I’ve seen car bras before, but never car beards. ZZ Top would be proud.
  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
  • Lou_BC "That’s expensive for a midsize pickup" All of the "offroad" midsize trucks fall in that 65k USD range. The ZR2 is probably the cheapest ( without Bison option).
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