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Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country safety probe opened

NHTSA disclosed the probe this past Friday as it looks into complaints the minivans' sliding doors do not open.

The feds want to have a look at these.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe this past Friday that will look into the 2016 Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. After receiving 476 complaints from customers, NHTSA said the alleged problem surrounds the rear sliding doors and the inability to open them.

Specifically, the NHTSA document said, "One or both power sliding doors can become inoperable, preventing them from being opened either by mechanical or electronic means." Stellantis, the merged automaker that includes Fiat Chrysler, said in a statement, "We will provide our full cooperation" with the probe. NHTSA declined to comment beyond the initial investigation document. The document does not report any crashes or injuries related to the customer complaints.

The feds, however, did note a Technical Service Bulletin issued in 2016 for the minivans that instructs technicians to replace one or both sliding-door lock actuators. The repair is meant to address minivans with door locks that do not function, and if a customer hears a "loud buzzing noise" during the unlock/lock sequence. The initial probe opening document does not directly relate this issue to the TSB.

NHTSA will begin the investigation to understand the scope of the problem and to understand the potential consequences of the defect, if it determines there is one. Customer complaints alleged concerns the doors could trap a passenger inside the minivan in the event of a crash or emergency.