A Closer Look Into Jeep's Exploding Gas Tanks
What began in 2010 wasn’t the beginning of Jeep recalls for their defective gas tanks but the beginning of the investigation that would lead to a recall of 1.5 million Jeep vehicles.
In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would begin looking into claims involving fuel fired collisions with Jeep Liberty’s and Jeep Grand Cherokee’s. What they found was astounding. The NHTSA discovered that certain models of Jeep Grand Cherokees (1993-2004) and Jeep Liberty’s (2002-2007) had their plastic fuel tanks placed between the rear axle and the rear bumper of the respective vehicles. This location is approximately 11 inches from the rear bumper also known as the “crush zone.” Most vehicle manufacturers will place fuel tanks in front of the rear axle instead of behind it as they would be in an area less likely to be crushed in a rear collission.
Initially, the NHTSA pushed for a mandatory recall of 2.7 million of these faulty Jeep vehicles but Chrysler, the company that owns Jeep, fought this recall request for nearly three years.
After a private meeting between Chrylser CEO, Sergio Marchionne, and Secreatary of U.S. Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, Chrysler would agree to voluntarily recall 1.5 million of the vehicles with a possible safety fix. With the agreement, Jeep would add a tow package at the rear of the vehicle that would add safety to the vehciles in low to moderate speed rear collissions. Data is still out if this provides to be a true “added safety” for the Jeep vehicle drivers and passengers but it must be stated that prior to the recall, a Chrysler engineer has gone on record saying, “the tow package does not protect the tank.”