It's been an interesting few days for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on the recall front. On Friday, the company recalled 1.4 million vehicles to shield them from hackers, and over the weekend, it reached a $105 million settlement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to resolve complaints about FCA's slow handling of recalls.
Now, FCA has issued two more large recalls affecting more than 1.9 million Ram pickups from model years 2012 to 2015. Both recalls are meant to fix safety systems on Ram vehicles -- specifically, airbags and seatbelts.
MODELS AFFECTED: 2012-2014 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500
UNITS AFFECTED: 1,060,531
The larger of FCA's latest recalls stems from a problem with the Ram's steering wheel wiring harness. According to a bulletin from NHTSA, in some of the pickups listed above, that harness may rub against the retainer spring associated with the driver air bag module. If that should happen, the rubbing could cause an electrical short, which might cause the driver-side frontal airbag to deploy without warning.
The recall is limited to vehicles manufactured between January 18, 2011 and October 7, 2014. Furthermore, the recall is restricted to trucks that came equipped with the Electronic Vehicle Information Center option.
FCA will mail recall notices to owners around September 19, 2015. After receiving those notices in the mail, owners will be able to take their trucks to a Ram dealer, who will inspect and repair the steering wheel wiring harness, as necessary. For further protection, NHTSA says that the end of the airbag retainer springs will be fitted with protective caps. All these repairs will be carried out free of charge.
If you own one of these vehicles and have questions, we encourage you to contact FCA customer service at 800-853-1403 and ask about recall R36. If you prefer, you can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V459000.
MODELS AFFECTED: 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500
UNITS AFFECTED: 843,536
Unfortunately, some of the owners affected by Recall #1 may have to deal with Recall #2, too. This recall also stems from a problem with the Ram's airbags -- though in this case, the flaw is rooted in the trucks' Occupant Restraint Control module.
NHTSA says that the ORC module in some Ram vehicles may be overly sensitive, and as a result, it can cause the side curtain airbags and seat airbags to deploy unexpectedly. The flaw may also cause the seatbelt pretensioners to activate.
Though both situations increase the risk of a collision and injury to passengers, FCA says that it knows of only two injuries potentially linked to the problem, both of which were categorized as minor. According to an FCA scan of complaints from Ram owners, nearly every incident stemming from this flaw has been the result of drivers or passengers slamming the Ram's doors with too much force.
The recall is limited to Ram trucks manufactured between June 20, 2012 and January 16, 2015. Of the total number of vehicles affected, 667,406 are registered in the U.S., 153,011 are registered in Canada, 8,272 are registered in Mexico, and 14,847 are registered elsewhere.
After receiving a recall notice, owners will be able to take their vehicles to a Ram dealer, who will recalibrate the Occupant Restraint Control module at no charge. While waiting for those recall notices to arrive in the mail, FCA asks Ram owners to be careful when closing their doors.
Questions? Call FCA customer service at 800-853-1403 and ask about recall R23, or call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V460000.