Fiat Chrysler Recalls Over 660K Trucks; Steering Could Fail

By The Associated Press

DETROIT—Fiat Chrysler is recalling over 660,000 heavy-duty trucks worldwide because a loose nut can cause a loss of steering control.

The recall covers Ram 3500 pickups from 2013 through 2017, as well as 2500 pickups and 3500 Chassis cabs from 2014 through 2017.

The company says it’s aware of eight crashes and one injury that could be related.

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The grill of a Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Turbo Diesel truck at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh. Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t have a date yet for owners to be notified. Dealers will inspect a steering linkage nut. If it’s properly tightened, it will be welded to a sleeve to keep it in place. If it’s loose, a steering assembly will be replaced.

Most of the trucks are in the U.S. and Canada.

The recall comes after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in December began investigating steering failures on some Ram trucks. The agency opened the probe after getting two complaints from owners that the linkage between the steering box and the front wheels can come apart.

Owners with questions can call (800) 853-1403 or go to https://www.mopar.com/en-us/my-vehicle/recalls/search.html to find out if their vehicles are included.

The Ram brand also is recalling nearly 194,000 light-duty trucks in the U.S. because the brake pedals can fall off.

Covered are certain 2019 Ram pickups with adjustable brake pedals. More than one third are still at dealers and will be fixed before they’re delivered. The 2019 Ram Classic is not affected.

Reid Bigland, head of RAM brand for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) introduces RAM’s new line of heavy duty trucks at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at the Cobo Center on January 14, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The show is open to the public from January 19-27. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Adjustable brake pedals are activated by a switch in the cab and powered by an electric motor. Fiat Chrysler says an investigation found that if people move the pedals to their rear-most position, the brake pedal can detach.

The company says it doesn’t know of any crashes or injuries. It’s urging people not to adjust pedals until the trucks have been fixed and to never adjust pedals while driving.

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t have a date for notifying owners. Dealers will install a fastener and spacer to restrict travel of the pedals and fix the problem.

Ford Recalls Over 953,000 Vehicles to Replace Inflators

DETROIT—Ford is recalling more than 953,000 vehicles worldwide to replace Takata passenger air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel.

The move includes over 782,000 vehicles in the U.S. and is part of the largest series of recalls in U.S. history.

Included are the 2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, the 2010 and 2011 Ford Ranger, the 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, the 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan, and the 2010 to 2014 Ford Mustang.

Some of the recalls may be limited to specific geographic areas of the U.S.

Takata used the chemical ammonium nitrate to create an explosion to inflate air bags. But it can deteriorate over time due to heat and humidity and explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion. At least 23 people have been killed worldwide and hundreds injured by the inflators.

Ford says it doesn’t know of any injuries in vehicles included in this recall. Dealers will replace the inflators.

Ford will notify owners about the recall starting on Feb. 18, and the company has replacement parts available for dealers to order, said spokeswoman Monique Brentley. In previous Takata recalls, parts availability had been an issue.

Owners can go to https://owner.ford.com/service/frequently-asked-questions-regarding-takata-airbag-inflator-recalls.html and key in their vehicle identification number to see if their cars and SUVs are being recalled. The same information will be available soon at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

More than three years after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took over management of recalls involving Takata inflators, one third of the recalled inflators still have not been replaced, according to an annual report from the government and a court-appointed monitor.

The report says 16.7 million faulty inflators out of 50 million under recall have yet to be replaced. And 10 million more inflators are scheduled to be recalled this month, including the Ford vehicles.

Safety advocates said the completion rate should be far higher given the danger associated with the inflators.

The recalls forced Takata of Japan to seek bankruptcy protection and sell most of its assets to pay for the fixes.

The inflators grow more dangerous as they get older because ammonium nitrate deteriorates due to high humidity and cycles from hot temperatures to cold. The most dangerous inflators are in areas of the South along the Gulf of Mexico that have high humidity.

By Tom Krisher