Getting a new car for the holidays would be something of a dream. Having your existing car roll away, on the other hand, would be a nightmare. Unfortunately, owners of Ram pickup trucks are running the risk of that nightmare now that Fiat Chrysler has announced that 1.8 million of these vehicles can be inadvertently moved out of the park position.
On Friday, the carmaker announced a recall of these pickup trucks, noting that seven people had suffered minor injuries as a result of the alarming malfunction, and further, that a “small number” of crashes may be a result of the problem. Apparently, the hiccup is related to a part called the brake transmission shift interlock, which when functioning properly, disallows a car from moving out of park until the driver steps on the brake pedal. Unfortunately, Fiat Chrysler found that in some situations, heat buildup around the gearshift causes the shift interlock to fail. That means that even if your foot remains on the brake, your truck might move of its own volition.
“FCA US will restore BTSI function in the vehicles subject to this recall,” said Tom Mc Carthy, Head of Safety Compliance and Product Analysis at Fiat Chrysler said in a statement. “Nevertheless, as always, we urge customers to use their parking brakes, as recommended, and to ensure that child occupants are not left unattended.”
The massive recall includes several models, including the Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 pickups from the years between 2010 and 2017. Luckily, if you have a brand new truck (which is to say, anything built after December 31, 2016), you should be alright. Of the trucks recalled, 1.48 million were sold in the U.S., whereas 290,000 are in Canada and Mexico. A small proportion are found in other markets.
This isn’t the first time that Fiat Chrysler has run into dangerous defects. As the New York Times reported, a couple years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined the company $105 million for failing to promptly notify customers of recalls and delaying repairs of some 11 million vehicles involved in 23 recalls. And just last year, actor Anton Yelchin was tragically killed when his Fiat Chrylser Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway, pinning him.
If you have an affected Ram truck, you should be advised as to when you can schedule service. Those with concerns can call FCA U.S. directly at (866)-220-6747.
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