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Fire Watch: Recalled 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica hybrids to be updated after battery fire risks

Toronto, Ontario — Just in time for the start of youth hockey seasons, parents who drive a 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan can rest assured that a solution has been found to repair high-voltage battery packs that presented a fire risk even when the van is powered down.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered Chrysler to recall 16,741 of its hybrid-electric Pacifica minivans in February, following an internal investigation carried out by the OEM’s parent company, Stellantis. They uncovered 12 separate reports of van fires linked to battery pack defects.

Though the specific cause for why these battery packs pose a fire risk has not yet been determined, Chrysler announced last Tuesday that it will implement a software update on the affected models to “monitor battery pack assembly operational status for conditions that could lead to a fire in the battery pack assembly,” according to the NHTSA’s most recent recall report concerning the Pacifica.

Chrysler owners should expect a letter explaining the update this coming Tuesday.

In the meantime, the NHTSA recommends that drivers of affected Pacfica models park their vehicles outdoors and away from other vehicles or structures due to a risk of fire, even if the vehicle is turned off. Owners should not charge these vehicles.

At the time of reporting, Stellantis estimated that about 2,317 Pacifica minivans in Canada are affected by the recall.

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