Airbags are only meant to go off during a collision -- any other time, and it's not exactly ideal. That's the reason for Dodge's latest recall.
Dodge issued a recall for 209,135 examples of the 2011-2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. The vehicles in question carry production dates between August 23, 2010, and July 25, 2012. According to the defect report, Dodge believes 1 percent of the recalled vehicles carry the problem in question.
The issue can be traced to the wiring harness. Some of the recalled vehicles may have a steering wheel wiring harness "trapped" between the plastic rear cover and the edge of the horn plate. This smushed harness may lose its insulation and create an electrical short, which could lead to an inadvertent driver airbag deployment.
That obviously presents a safety hazard, because airbag deployments are loud and fast and can fill the cabin with particulate from the airbag. This could increase the chances of a collision or injury. Drivers might see an airbag warning light, unintended wiper operation or inoperable steering wheel switches, all of which are also symptoms of this harness issue.
Once the recall is under way, technicians will inspect the wiring harness and, if necessary, replace it and apply a protective covering to the wiring harness to minimize the chance of any additional wire wear. If owners have already paid for this fix, Dodge will let owners seek reimbursement. Owners should begin receiving notifications in late July.