- Corrosion could cause lower control arms to break
- Rear wheels could loosen or fall off
- Recall is expected to begin in April
Jeep will soon recall nearly 210,000 units of its 2004 and 2005 Liberty due to a problem with the compact SUV's suspension. The automaker and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced the recall, which mainly affects vehicles registered in the "Salt Belt."
According to the NHTSA, road salt can cause the rear lower control arms of affected Liberty models to corrode and break. Since the control arms are crucial in keeping the rear wheels in place, damage to the parts could cause the wheels to loosen and even break away from the vehicle. Not surprisingly, this increases the risk of an accident and serious injury.
Jeep says the recall affects a total of 209,724 Liberty models built between July 3, 2003 and July 14, 2005. According to the automaker, the recall only affects vehicles that were purchased in and are still registered in states known for high use of road salt, which facilitates melting after snowstorms. The NHTSA defines these so-called "Salt Belt" states as Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.
Chrysler says it is aware of 83 separate complaints of rear control arm fracture due to salt corrosion. Despite the complaints, the automaker says that it hasn't received any reports of accidents or injuries caused by the defective parts.
The recall is expected to begin by the end of April. Chrysler will notify owners of affected vehicles by mail, urging them to come to a dealership where both rear control arms will be replaced free of charge. According to Chrysler, concerned Liberty owners can call the automaker at 1-800-853-1403 or the NHTSA's safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
What it means to you: If you have a 2004-2005 Liberty and live in the Upper Midwest or the Northeast, don't be surprised if you receive a recall notice soon.