The inside of the new Dodge Ram 1500 looks closer to that of an airplane than a pick-up truck from 30 years ago. Despite all these bells and whistles, Fiat Chrysler recently announced that it recalled nearly 300,000 Ram 1500 trucks in the United States. The reason filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency is airbags and seatbelt pretensioners that could potentially deactivate during a crash.
According to Car and Driver, this means that Ram 1500s built through April 29, 2019, will need to go in for servicing. The problem lies in the occupant restraint controller processing unit, which determines whether to deploy safety bags and pretensioners. Reportedly, the unit shuts down too soon when the truck is turned off, much like a memory clean up that happens when a computer is shut down.
By shutting down early, the unit is potentially corrupted. Signs of this include:
- Airbag light can go on
- Various fault codes are generated
- The aforementioned airbags and pretensioners do not work
The good news is that there have been no accidents or injuries due to this flaw. Thirteen warranty claims by truck owners prompted the recall, but there were also another 26 found on trucks in preproduction for 2020.
Not the first defect for Ram 1500s
Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars and trucks in 2016 because of non-deploying airbag issues, including those in Ram 1500 model years 2009-2012. That defect was tied to a supplier-wide defect of 10 million additional cars from four other manufacturers. Fiat Chrysler recalled 1 million Ram 1500s manufactured 2013-2016 for faulty sensors involving side airbags and seatbelt pretentioners. Six-hundred-thousand Ram HDs were recalled for steering loss in February of 2019. More recently, 410,000 Ram pickups manufactured between 2015-2017 were recalled for defective tailgates.
Legal assistance may be necessary
Those who own a Ram truck are advised to heed the recall notices when repairs begin in July. Owners involved in accidents or bought a defective vehicle may also want to consult with a lemon law attorney experienced in navigating federal and California lemon laws.