SURPRISE (3 On Your Side) -- Tom Gallivan’s 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee could stall without warning while he’s driving it, according to a safety recall that was issued on the vehicle.
"Sometimes its nerve-wracking," Gallivan told 3 On Your Side.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles mailed interim recall notices about the fuel pump relay problem in January. Ever since, Gallivan has been waiting to find out when his SUV can be fixed.
"They’ve basically downplayed this whole thing and they’re not getting the parts out," Gallivan said.
3 On Your Side has learned the fix still won't be available for months. Eric Mayne, a spokesperson for FCA confirmed final recall notices will be sent beginning December 10. According to Mayne, the recall remedy was "complicated" because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The onset of the pandemic delayed the process for accumulating inventory of the replacement part," Mayne told 3 On Your Side. "This process includes component validation, an essential and extremely labor-intensive undertaking that must be complete before manufacturing can begin."
"Manufacturing itself is also a time-consuming process," he added.
Jason Levine, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety says there is no standard time for recall repairs to be made available to consumers.
"There is going to be a period of time between when the problem is announced and the fix is available, but that period should be as short as possible," Levine said.
Some software issues can be fixed quickly. Others, like the Takata airbag recalls require more time to manufacture millions of parts.
"Between that time they make the announcement, 'Hey there’s this problem,' and the time that fix gets to consumers is sometimes where problems can happen," Levine said. "These can be life and death situations."
Even if manufacturers have a repair ready to go, millions of car owners aren’t getting the free fixes. According to Carfax, there are more than 55 million vehicles on U.S. roads with open recalls. That’s up about 5% compared to last year, and according to Emilie Voss, a spokesperson for Carfax, many drivers don't realize their vehicles have safety issues.
"That is concerning," Voss said. "Manufacturers try their best. They do mail open recall notices to people but I think a lot of us receive a lot of mail and maybe just don’t pay attention to that."
For drivers who missed a recall notice, there are several free online tools available to check for open recalls, including SaferCar.gov and Carfax. Consumers are able to take vehicles to any licensed dealership for recall repairs, which are always free.
For Gallivan, the fix for his Jeep can't come soon enough.
"It's always in the back of my mind and I try not to think of it but it’s always there," he said.
If Gallivan experiences issues with his Grand Cherokee stalling before the permanent fix is available, FCA says there is temporary remedy. The company says it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the fuel pump relay recall.