FCA to fix Wrangler airbags, Fiat 500 clutches

Off-roading can cause the Wrangler\'s steering-wheel clock spring to fail, preventing the airbag from deploying.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced two significant recalls, one affecting older Jeep Wrangler SUVs and another focused on newer Fiat 500 compacts.

The company suggests the early JK-generation Wrangler's steering-wheel clock spring is prone to failure. The component is necessary to activate the driver-side frontal airbag in a crash.

"An investigation by FCA US determined excessive exposure to dust and dirt - consistent with extensive off-road driving or driving with a vehicle's top and/or doors removed - may compromise the clockspring and eventually prevent driver-side airbag deployment in a crash," the company said in a statement (emphasis in original).

The campaign affects more than 392,000 2007-2010 Wranglers sold in the US market, along with a few thousand 2011-2016 right-hand-drive variants driven by postal workers.

The Fiat 500 recall is limited to 2012-2016 models equipped with a non-turbocharged engine and manual transmission, some of which can be damaged by excessive clutch travel.

"Over time, this may cause component damage capable of restricting gear shifts and propulsion," the company warns.

The company has not announced an estimate date for beginning repairs.

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