— A Chrysler and Dodge minivan tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) valve stem lawsuit is still trying to reach class-action certification while Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) argues the case doesn't qualify to include multiple minivan owners and lessees.
The 2008-2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country TPMS valve stem lawsuit alleges the valve stems are made with a metal alloy that corrodes and causes failures of the sensors and monitoring systems.
The tire pressure monitoring system uses sensors in the valve stems to send electronic tire pressure readings to a driver through the instrument panel. However, damaged valve stems will provide faulty or possibly no tire information to the driver.
Additionally, air releases from the tire without warning and can cause a blow-out at any speed once the valve stem breaks.
The lawsuit says Chrysler knew about the risk of corroded valve stems because later minivans were manufactured with rubberized valve stems in place of metal valve stems. But the plaintiff says the automaker never recalled the affected minivans and has done nothing to warn consumers about the alleged defects.
The lawsuit alleges it can cost a minivan owner up to $130 to replace just one valve stem sensor, but leaving a corroded sensor really isn't a choice because Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country owners report the corroded and broken valve stems have caused crashes.
Fiat Chrysler has been fighting in court to convince the judge to dismiss the case and not allow it to proceed to a class-action complaint. However, the plaintiffs claim their arguments are solid and based on Chrysler's own internal documents that show problems with the TPMS valve stems.
According to the lawsuit, the automaker knew about the alleged problems of using aluminum alloys for the valve stems and nuts, and documents indicate the automaker at one time considered doing something about it.
The lawsuit says FCA proposed a $400 million field action and extended warranty to fix the TPMS valve stem issues but backed out of the plan, allegedly due to the high cost and lack of supply of parts.
The plaintiff claims this shows the automaker knew about the problems, yet Chrysler did nothing to inform customers about the problems and continued to conceal the dangers of corroded valve stems.
Attorneys for the plaintiff say the proposed class-action is the only method where affected minivan owners will have the opportunity to hold Chrysler accountable for its actions.
Based on court documents, the plaintiff claims a class-action is the best way to make sure Chrysler and Dodge minivans owners finally see some relief for the troubles the valve stems have caused, and will cause in the future.
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 Law Offices of Elmer Robert Keach III, P.C., Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP, Parker Waichman LLP, Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, and Kantrowitz Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about TPMS valve stem problems in Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans: