— Chrysler valve stem problems are the focus of a lawsuit that alleges metal valve stems on Chrysler and Dodge minivans corrode and cause failures of the tire pressure monitoring systems.
The Chrysler valve stem lawsuit was filed over 2008-2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems containing a metal alloy valve stem sensor on each tire.
Tire pressure monitoring systems have been mandated on all new passenger cars since 2008 after Firestone tires were linked to over 100 deaths from rollover accidents. Those accidents were blamed on tire tread separation and monitoring systems were mandated to allegedly keep drivers from traveling with under-inflated tires.
The TPMS is designed to monitor the air pressure inside the tires in real-time and send information electronically to the driver on the instrument panel. All of that is accomplished with valve stems attached to tire pressure sensors.
The lawsuit alleges Chrysler used the tire pressure monitoring systems as a selling point for the minivans, specifically the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country. Not mentioned in the advertisements were alleged problems with corrosion and damage to the tire valve stems.
The plaintiff claims when the valve fails, air releases from the tire without warning and can cause a blow-out at any speed. In addition, drivers don't receive a warning about the failed valve stems, which can cause a driver to lose control of the minivans.
The lawsuit says Chrysler knew about the risk of corroded valve stems because later minivan models were manufactured with rubberized valve stems. However, the automaker didn't recall the minivans that use the metal valve stems and didn't offer to reimburse owners for repairs.
Those repairs if made by a dealership can cost as much as $130 per valve stem due to the tire pressure monitoring system sensors.
Minivans owners have complained to CarComplaints.com about the same problems as mentioned in the valve stem lawsuit, including the danger caused by broken and corroded valve stems.
"AGAIN! This has happened this time my husband was driving home from work and it made him loose control and go into the ditch, it didn't cause any damage because he wasn't driving fast thankfully! But if he was, it could have been A LOT worse. This time it was the front tire that the valve stem corroded and fell in to the tire!" - 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan owner / Prescott, Ontario
"Low tire pressure light went on but when tried to check the pressure the valve cover broke off and the stem was exposed. Went to dealer to get fixed - for fricken 125.00 and they discovered that the brake pads had 5% wear left. What a lemon!" - 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan owner / Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
According to the plaintiff, Chrysler concealed the alleged defect from safety regulators and the driving public, which means the automaker should be liable for the cost of replacing the tire pressure monitoring system valve stems. The lawsuit also says Chrysler should replace any tires that failed because of the metal valve stems.
The Chrysler valve stem lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court Northern District of New York - Robert Tomassini v. Chrysler Group LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by the Keach Law Firm.
Read complaints about tire valve stem problems in the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan: