Chrysler took the preemptive step this week of recalling nearly half a million vehicles because of issues with the active head-restraint function found in several makes and models.
The problem is related to a "potentially faulty microcontroller (that) entered the supply chain after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a worldwide microcontroller shortage," Chrysler Group said in a news release issued Wednesday.
Because of such defective microcontrollers in some vehicles, the active head restraints -- which are supposed to automatically move forward during some rear-impact crashes, thereby helping prevent neck injuries -- aren't working properly.
The Chrysler Group said it doesn't know of any injuries or accidents tied to the issue.
Makes and models affected by the recall are:
-- 2011 to 2013 Chrysler Sebrings, Chrysler 200s and Dodge Avenger midsize cars.
-- 2011 to 2012 Dodge Nitro SUVs.
-- 2011 to 2013 Jeep Liberty SUVs.
The automaker is also recalling 282,000 minivans from the 2013 model year because the side air bags can deploy on the wrong side in a crash.
Side air bags are supposed to deploy on the side of the vehicle that's involved in a crash. Chrysler says a software problem is causing its air bags to deploy on the opposing side of the vehicle.
Affected are 2013 models of:
-- Dodge Grand Caravan
-- Chrysler Town and Country
-- Ram Cargo Van
Chrysler says it began investigating the issue after a customer complaint. The company says there has been one minor injury related to the defect.
Chrysler will notify affected customers. Dealers will reprogram the software for free.