Tips, Tricks & Trends

These Minivan Interiors Catch On Fire: No One Knows Why

The NHTSA has decided it will investigate why the interiors of 2014 Chrysler Town and Country minivans catch on fire. Though it has only received three complaints by owners it feels it is serious enough to warrant opening an investigation. And even though it knows the location of the minivan fires no one knows why the fires occur.

All three fires were located at the charging hub. This is located between the second- and third-row seating on the driver’s side. One injury has been recorded. The hub is used to charge mobile devices in a centralized location in the van.

An owner reported that on May 26 smoke began coming through a driver’s side vent. That’s when the power supply caught fire. The driver stopped the van and tried to smother the fire with a beach towel. He suffered a minor hand burn as a result according to the complaint.

NHTSA estimates that up to 150,000 minivans could be affected

The Chrysler Town & Country minivan is displayed during the press preview of the North American International Auto Show
The Chrysler Town & Country Minivan | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

The NHTSA estimates that up to 150,000 minivans could be affected. A spokesman for Fiat Chrysler told Automotive News, “FCA is providing full cooperation to NHTSA. “Customers with concerns may contact their dealers.” 

RELATED: Chrysler Pacifica Minivans Are Catching On Fire Again

How the NHTSA handles incidents like this is that first the agency does preliminary evaluations. Agency engineers request of the manufacturer for any data they might have on complaints or if there have been any injuries as well as warranty claims. It evaluates the cause of the fires, scope, frequency, and damage the defect may cause. 

Sometimes even at this early stage the manufacturer will issue a recall. Once the preliminary investigation is complete the NHTSA might close the case or it may send a “recall request” to the manufacturer. It has not been determined how long the investigation might take.

The 2014 Town and Country minivan has a four- out of five-star safety rating from the NHTSA

A head-on view of a mist blue Chrysler Town and Country
2014 Chrysler Town and Country | FCA

The 2014 Town and Country minivan has a four- out of five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It has received a “Good” score in each of the four categories the NHTSA tested the minivan. “Good” is the highest score possible in each of the four categories. 

The interior of the Town and Country was considered the best of the minivans available at the time. Leather upholstery along with capacity for seven passengers and Stow ‘N’ Go seats that automatically fold down into the floor to create a flat loading platform. These are just some of the highlights. 

Fuel economy was considered good for the time at 17/25 mpg city/highways. However, the curb-weight was 4,652 which put a lot of strain on the 3.6-liter V6 engine. The six-speed automatic puts 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This was the 10th year for this Chrysler minivan generation. It was replaced by the all-new Pacifica minivan in 2016.