Muscle Car, Meet Software Update
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FCA, parent company of Fiat and Chrysler, recalled 1.4 million cars and trucks after a report from Wired magazine showed that hackers could remotely gain control of a Jeep Cherokee and disable its engine.
Instead of a trip to a mechanic, this recall just requires a software update. FCA will mail USB drives with a software patch to owners of affected vehicles, but users can also download the software and install it themselves.
That's the route we took with the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat we were driving when the recall was announced. The update took around 20 minutes, and detailed instructions mean it could be performed by anyone who has basic knowledge of how to use a computer. Drivers who don't feel comfortable doing the update themselves can bring their vehicles to an authorized dealer.
As more cars feature both internet connections and complex on-board diagnostics that communicate with vehicle systems such as the engine, steering, and brakes, it's becoming increasingly likely that updating your car's software may become as common as upgrading Flash or Java on your home computer.
The current recall includes certain 2013-2015 Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler vehicles that feature an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen supplied by Harman. To see if your car is affected, visit www.driveuconnect.com/software-update/