The NHTSA service bulletin says, "[V]ehicles equipped with a solid front axle may exhibit steering system vibration if the steering system is damaged or not properly maintained."
However, the bulletin adds, "[T]his condition is not unique to Chrysler Group vehicles; any manufacturer’s vehicle equipped with a solid front axle has the potential to exhibit steering system vibration."
The quality of cars made by Chrysler and other U.S.-based automakers has emerged as a political issue as the candidates in the presidential race continue to debate the $80 billion bailout the federal government provided to the American auto industry in 2008 and 2009. Chrysler received about $12.5 billion in the bailout.
The company has paid about about $10.5 billion to the U.S. and Canadian governments, but critics point out that about $1.9 billion that went to parts of the company that were not sold to Italian automaker Fiat in a deal arranged by the Obama administration will likely never be returned.
However, President Obama and his supporters still argued that the bailouts saved more than a million jobs that would have been eliminated if Chrysler and General Motors had been allowed to go into bankruptcy. The auto bailouts began under former President George W. Bush, but they have since become closely associated with Obama.
Critics of the Obama administration note that in addition to the federal government not recovering all of its initial investment in Chrysler, it also still owns shares of GM. Some conservatives have derisively said GM now stands for "Government Motors."
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has been on the defensive about the bailouts because of a 2008 New York Times op-ed he wrote that was titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
Romney has argued that Obama was following his advice of allowing the companies to go through a "managed bankruptcy" when he placed conditions on the loans in 2009.