When we first heard reports that FCA is recalling some 50,000 2017 and 2018 Chrysler Pacificas for a problem revealed during sporty driving, we wondered what kind of people were throwing the minivans around with abandon, considering that it’s typically seen as a mild-mannered family hauler. Turns out, the recall stems from FCA’s own testing.
The automaker said in documents filed with federal regulators that FCA’s in-house Interior Restraints Engineering Department notified its safety and regulatory compliance team of a concern with the second-row, left-side seatbelt: It could release while the minivan was having its chassis components tested with water-ballast test dummies. FCA said it is not aware of any injuries or accidents related to the issue.
The defect is only found in eight-passenger Pacifica vans with a center seating position in the second row. “During testing, it was observed that an outboard seatbelt buckle in the second row could become inadvertently unlatched when the vehicle is subjected to extreme handling maneuvers,” the automaker said in a release. “This occurred when the buckle’s release button ed that of an adjacent occupant’s buckle.” Further testing showed that the issue was duplicated with a forward-facing child seat, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) documents.
FCA is voluntarily recalling 47,927 eight-passenger Pacificas that were made at its Windsor Assembly Plant between November 1, 2015 and August 24, 2017. Owner notifications will be sent out as the recall begins on October 21. Dealers will install shorter second-row seatbelt buckles for free.