Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) is back in the news after announcing that thousands of their fuel-tanks could become detached from the vehicles that they power. The Italian-American automaker declared the voluntary recall of an estimated 270,254 Dodge Ram pickup trucks in March 2018. This latest recall raises the total number of recalled Dodge Rams to approximately 2.25 million over the last five months. The announcement affects model years 2009 to 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks sold across North America.
According to the recall, the bracket that holds the fuel tank in place is susceptible to corrosion in the states that have been referred to as the “Salt-Belt.” These are the 20 states where salting the streets and highways is a normal practice over the winter months. FCA told authorities that the other structural components around the fuel tank will likely hold it in place, but the risk of complete separation and the potential for injuries led them to act.
“The Company is unaware of any related incidents of injury, accident, fire, fuel leak or separation of the tank, which is made of high-density polyethylene,” a Fiat Chrysler Automobile representative wrote in a press release announcing the recall. “However, FCA US is launching this campaign out of an abundance of caution . . . The recall is limited to vehicles operated in regions where road crews use salt to mitigate icy road conditions.”
These states include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. In addition, Dodge Ram 1500s in Washington D.C. have also been recalled, as well as 26,676 in Canada, and 1,063 in Mexico. Owners with a recalled Dodge Ram will be contacted by FCA and will receive free repairs. If the owner purchased their car used, they will have to contact their local dealer directly because their contact information may not be on file.
In February 2018, FCA recalled over 180,000 additional Dodge Ram pickup trucks from model years 2017 and 2018 because of their faulty gear shifters. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the driver can change gears accidently without stepping on the break and can even shift out of park when the key is not in the ignition. Although the FCA told authorities that they were not aware of any accidents, the concern that the car could rollaway led to the recall.
In addition, at the end of 2017 around 1.8 million Dodge Ram pickup trucks were recalled worldwide because they could also shift out of park involuntarily. These trucks date back to 2009 and include almost every model of Dodge Ram. About 1.5 million of the recalled automobiles were sold in the United States and the other 300,000 were sold internationally. FCA announced seven significant injuries “potentially related” to this defect at the time of the recall as well as “a small number” of crashes.
To see if your Dodge Ram pickup truck has been recalled please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls