Last Friday, Fiat Chrysler announced a rather serious recall for their Dodge Ram pickup trucks. The problem has been linked to one death and two other injuries. The newest recall comes just one month after a rather minor recall was announced due to incorrect warnings on the sun visors of the 2014-2017 Ram ProMaster vehicles.
The latest recall however is not so minor and can lead to fatal injuries. The problem was discovered after the company was sued as a result of a rollover accident. The software on a computer control module linked to the collision safety system is prone to malfunction. The malfunction can cause air bags to not deploy, and seat belts to not tighten up, during an accident. This is of particular concern because pickup trucks are generally more prone to dangerous rollover accidents.
Details of the Recall
The company has stated that this safety control module recall affects over a million vehicles. Fortunately for Fiat Chrysler, the repair only requires reprogramming the software rather than an actual part. Owners should expect to receive notices in the coming weeks, and the recall repairs are slated to start next month. The following pickups have been identified as needing to be repaired:
If you are unsure whether your vehicle is affected, you can check on the Dodge website by typing in your vehicle's VIN number.
Fiat Chrysler's investigation discovered that the safety control module in question can malfunction if the bottom of the vehicle is struck hard, such as by bottoming out. When this happens, the unit will disable the air bags and seat belt tensioners. However, like most computer related problems, simply turning the vehicle off and then on again fixes the problem until the underside is struck again. Additionally, Fiat Chrysler has warned affected Dodge Ram owners to be mindful of warning lights in their instrument cluster: when the safety module fails, a warning light will appear.
Even though Dodge moved quickly to notify the public, such a far reaching recall is sure to impact consumer confidence in the brand. Also, the company has been mired by quality problems over the past year, including a problem with the Dodge Ram, Durango, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, that causes the vehicle to roll away after being parked.