Fiat Chrysler Recalls Nearly 1.2M Ram Trucks Over Airbag Deployment Issues

It seems as if we’ve had a nice break from the incessant recalls of vehicles equipped with airbags that may not deploy properly, putting drivers and passengers in harm’s way. Unfortunately, they say all good things must come to an end, and so, Fiat Chrysler announced this week that it will call back nearly 1.2 million trucks in two campaigns for issues related to side-impact safety devices that can inflate in the wrong position and driver’s airbags that may deploy without a crash. 

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) says the first recall will cover approximately 1.06 million model years 2012 to 2014 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks and 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs sold in the U.S.

According to a notice [PDF] filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall was initiated after FCA conducted an investigation into the possibility that airbags can deploy without an actual crash occurring.

Starting in September 2014, the auto manufacturer began looking into the issue by testing three Steering Column Control Modules.

Over the next several months testing of various columns and vehicles found that some trucks may have steering wheel wires that can wear out due to contact with a spring. FCA says this can cause a short circuit that could make the driver’s side airbags inflate without a crash.

Additionally, FCA’s submitted chronology [PDF] of the issue states that a February 2015 warranty analysis revealed additional problems with the module including wiper/washer function issues. However, the company says that its review found less than 1% of vehicles with the wiring problem will lead to inadvertent airbag deployments.

Still, the company tells NHTSA it has received 32 Computerized Accident Incident Reporting System notices, 5 Vehicle Owners’ Questionnaires and 18 field reports related to the issue.

In all, FCA says it is aware of two injuries caused by the problems, but no crashes.

Owners of the affected trucks will be notified and dealers will inspect each vehicle, tie off the wiring harness and install protective caps on the springs.

In a second, smaller safety campaign this week, FCA announced the recall of approximately 188,000 model year 2014 and 2015 Ram 1500 trucks with side airbag curtains that may not deploy properly in the event of a crash.

According to a notice [PDF] submitted to NHTSA, the side airbags may not fully overlap the vehicle pillars, upon inflation they may not position as intended. FCA says this could lead to an increased risk of injury to the back seat occupants.

The company is unaware of any crashes, injuries or complaints related to the issue.

Owners will be noticed by the company and a dealer will fix the issue.

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