Honda Issues Recall Due To Metal Fragments Affecting Air Bags

Laguna Hills, CA – June 24, 2019 – American Honda Motor Co. is recalling certain 2019 CR-V sport utility vehicles due to the possibility that the automobile’s air bags could malfunction or deploy errantly in the event of a crash, a problem linked to metal burrs found within the steering wheel unit. The company says it will inform affected owners by July 8 so motorists can schedule an appointment with their nearest dealer to have the issue checked out. Should a repair be necessary, it will come at no expense.

The Defect

According to official paperwork filed with and by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 118,600 Honda CR-Vs – model year 2019 – are being recalled because the guts of the steering wheel may be laced with metal burrs, or fragments, which may have developed during the assembly or manufacturing process. Some of these burrs may be sharp and potentially damage or short-circuit the cable reel sub-harness. Not only could this impede the driver’s side air bag from discharging – as it’s designed to do during a high-impact collision – but it may also render other steering unit functions inoperable, such as the horn, the supplemental restraint system warning indicator lights and other control buttons found on the wheel itself. The failure of any of these features poses an operator safety risk, which prompted Honda to take the actions that it did, including the contacting of NHTSA officials.

Timeline of Events

The first indication there could be a problem occurred Jan 24, when workers at a Honda manufacturing facility, according to NHTSA documents, were alerted to a warning indicator light illuminating on one of the newly assembled CR-Vs. Further inquiry determined the notification was caused by a blown fuse on the cable reel sub-harness, the part that attaches to the air bag. Apparently, the sub-harness had been damaged by fragments piecing off from the metal core.

Out of an abundance of caution, Honda notified all of its North American manufacturing facilities that this issue may not be isolated, which prompted a joint investigation 24 hours later alongside Autoliv ASP, Honda’s steering wheel supplier. The Mexico-based component supplier came up with a solution Jan. 31. But by February, Honda received feedback from a customer, informing the automaker that an air bag had deployed in a traffic situation without notice. A similar situation was brought to Honda’s attention in March.

These two incidents – along with four more that occurred between April and early May – were enough to raise suspicion that the flaw was not isolated to CR-Vs that hadn’t yet been delivered to dealers and decided by May 14 to conduct a more broad safety recall. As of this data, the automaker was aware of 41 warranty claims tracing back to this issue, 20 field reports and three non-life threatening injuries, Honda noted in a press release obtained by NHTSA. No crashes are believed to have occurred as a result.

The Solution

If dealers haven’t already been informed of the voluntary safety recall, they soon will be, as notifications were first distributed May 22. In the meantime, Honda says it will distribute mailers to registered CR-V users no later than July 8, advising that they take their SUV to a licensed dealership so the defective parts can be swapped out for those that work, assuming it’s necessary. The repair may also involve the installation of a protective cover on the steering wheel core. As per usual, parts and labor are free of charge. The automaker maintains that the reason for not informing owners sooner is due to the limited availability of replacement parts, an issue that should be resolved by early July.

For more information on this specific recall, owners can call Honda directly at (888) 234-2138. Operators can determine if they’re SUV is affected by simply entering their VIN at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesHonda Issues Recall Due To Metal Fragments Affecting Air Bags

Nearly 1.2 million Ford Explorers Sidelined By Toe Link Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – June 20, 2019 – Over 1.1 million 2011-2017 Ford Explorers are under recall notice by the model’s eponymous automaker due to a rear suspension system issue that poses a potential threat to riders’ safety by increasing their crash risk. Ford Motor Company says it will inform registered owners of this hazard by first-class mail no later than June 24 and advise them to take their vehicles back to the dealer so that the problem, if diagnosed, can be fixed at no cost.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling approximately 1.19 million Explorers – with model years ranging from 2011 to 2019 – whose rear suspension systems may be compromised. More specifically, the problem affects the sport utility vehicle’s toe links, which are located in the rear of the vehicle and provide added ballast so the wheels remain in constant contact with the road. However, it’s possible that these toe links could fracture while the vehicle is in operation, depending on the topography and curvature of a given road surface. In such an event, it could lead to an accident by reducing motorists’ steering control.

Timeline of Events

This issue first came to Ford’s attention back in April 2017 when the automaker received feedback from an Explorer user who noted that the toe link on the SUV shattered after mistakenly hitting a curb. The automaker was made aware of other incidents involving the rear suspension issue through December 2018, although none of the incidents led to injury.

But the number of events was enough to prompt an internal investigation, which featured engineers recreating situations that were similar to the ones referenced by motorists whose toe links broke or suspension systems failed. These tests determined that when Explorers were under stress – experiencing “suspension articulation,” in automotive jargon – the toe links could fracture, especially if exposed to the same types of jostling regularly and over time. A break could then lead to a steering failure and potential risk of an injury in the event of a crash.

Ford’s Field Review Committee ultimately determined that a safety recall was warranted and informed NHTSA of this in early June.

The Solution

The recall is rather wide in scope, involving Explorers built between May 2010 and January 2017. Most of the potentially problematic SUVs are 2015 and 2016 models, as Ford says it’s recalling a combined 466,000 vehicles manufactured during this period. Of the 1.19 million warranting a recall, around 12,000 SUVs have the defect and will need to be serviced, according to NHTSA documents. 

Nevertheless, Ford says it will send out fliers to owners starting on June 24 to inform them of the safety issue and instruct drivers to take their SUVs to their nearest authorized dealer so the rear suspension toe links can be repaired or replaced. The recall is expected to cost the automaker approximately $180 million, according to BBC News, but for motorists themselves, the repair is free.

For more information on this, contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. You can also enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your vehicle is affected by this or a separate recall. An estimated 25% of vehicles currently on the road have a recall that has yet to be repaired. 

Sean ReyesNearly 1.2 million Ford Explorers Sidelined By Toe Link Defect

Potential Braking Issue Leads To Daimler Trucks Recall

Laguna Hills, CA – June 19, 2019 – Daimler Trucks of North America (DTNA) is recalling nearly a dozen 2019 models due to an apparent flaw in the affected vehicles’ air brakes, which may prevent the brakes from working as effectively as they’re intended. This may raise the chances of a crash if motorists are in traffic situations that require them to stop suddenly. The manufacturer says it will relay this information to motorists by July 12 so they can make the appropriate arrangements to have the problem assessed. If a repair is necessary, it will come at no charge.

The Defect

In paperwork submitted to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 253 Daimler trucks have a potential safety issue that is serious enough to warrant a recall. These 2019 models include the following:

  • Freightliner 108SD
  • Business Class M2
  • 114SD
  • Cascadia
  • Western Star 5700
  • FCCC XCL
  • FCCC XCM
  • FCCC XCR
  • FCCC XCS

According to NHTSA documents, the braking system may have caliper mounting bolts that either weren’t sufficiently tightened in the vehicle assembly process or may loosen while the trucks are in operation regardless of how they were originally tightened. In such a scenario, when the brake pad is applied, the air brakes’ effectiveness may be reduced, decreasing handling control and increasing the risk of a crash – as well as the potential for injury.

Timeline of Events

DTNA was first alerted to this issue in March 2019, learning that in isolated incidents, certain trucks had caliper mounting bolts that were either loose or missing. Each of these cases were traced back to an assembly plant in York, South Carolina that manufactures and installs brake components.

Later that month, DTNA reached out to Meritor, its brake manufacturer, to further investigate. The company, Meritor, then reviewed the relevant data and determined that nine models – each of which were assembled in 2018 between Aug. 20 and Sept. 27 – had axles without accompanying caliper bolts. It was unclear whether bolts had been improperly fastened or didn’t exist, having perhaps fallen off at some point. Their findings were then relayed to DTNA in May, which prompted Daimler to issue a voluntary recall for the models in question. NHTSA was alerted May 14.

The Solution

Starting July 12, Daimler will officially reach out to affected customers by first-class mail to inform them that their vehicles’ air brakes may be impaired. To ensure that such brakes will work properly, motorists should have the issue examined by a DTNA dealer as soon as possible. As with virtually all automotive safety recalls, the repair is complimentary.

To see if your vehicle is included in this or any other recall, enter your 17-digit VIN in the appropriate field at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesPotential Braking Issue Leads To Daimler Trucks Recall

Audi Recalling E-Trons Due To Fire Risk

Laguna Hills, CA – June 18, 2019 – Around 1,600 Audi E-Tron EV vehicles are being recalled after the model’s parent company, Volkswagen Group of America, learned some of the vehicles may have defective seals that could compromise its battery system, should moisture leak inside. In such a scenario, the battery could pose a fire hazard. Although Audi hasn’t determined when specifically it will inform owners of this issue, it expects to do so before June concludes. The component necessary to resolve the problem will likely arrive in August, which dealers will install for free.

The Defect

Volkswagen Group, which owns Audi, says it’s recalling 1,644 2019 Audi E-Trons due to a sealant issue that affects the electric vehicle’s propulsion system, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It turns out that the seal meant to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the high-voltage battery may be damaged, an issue that likely occurred during the assembly process. If rain, snow or other types of wetness gets in between the battery charging socket and other components of the voltage system, it raises the risk of an engine fire. However, neither Audi nor its parent company are aware of any such events thus far.

Moisture leaking into the battery would be virtually impossible to detect on its own, but the onboard computer will alert motorists to this problem before it becomes a potential safety issue, with a message on the dashboard panel that warns of an electrical fault or failure. Audi says that motorists should stop driving immediately if they receive this warning and to contact roadside assistance.

Timeline of Events

Mechanical issues often come to light from motorists themselves by reaching out to the automaker or NHTSA, but this one was recognized by Audi during quality control testing. It found two instances in February 2019 where the charging units failed to function. This led to follow-up investigation, which determined in mid-March that the problem likely originated from a faulty seal that exposed the charging socket to moisture.

Analysts’ suspicions were confirmed when customers alerted Audi to instances in which they received “check engine” warnings on their display panels above the steering wheel. Mechanics for Audi reached out to one of the owners who experienced this issue and found that moisture was the likely culprit. This prompted the dispatching of Audi’s Product Safety Committee, which began its inquiry in mid-April and concluded the review June 3. It confirmed that, although unlikely, a fire could ignite if moisture from the charging socket made its way onto the high-voltage battery. Audi subsequently informed NHTSA of the voluntary recall.

The Solution

Audi says it will make E-Tron owners aware of this issue before the end of June so they can have their vehicles examined. Dealers will diagnose whether the sealant happens to be compromised and install a corrective grommet to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the battery. As per usual, the fix will be provided free of charge.

Audi customers can contact customer service at 1-800-253-2834 for more information on this recall. Alternatively, visit MotorSafety.org and enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if this or any other recall affects you.

Sean ReyesAudi Recalling E-Trons Due To Fire Risk

Certain Recalled F-150s May Need Another Fix, Ford Says

Laguna Hills, CA – June 18, 2019 – Tens of thousands of F-150s – consistently the best-selling vehicle in America – are being recalled by the Ford Motor Company due to flaws within the truck’s powertrain control module, which may cause the vehicle to downshift without warning. The unexpectedness of such a scenario may reduce a driver’s ability to maintain control of the car, thus increasing the risk of a crash and resulting injury. This latest recall is a follow-up to one that occurred in March over a similar issue.

Owners are urged to bring their trucks back to the dealer so a free fix can be scheduled, which will likely involve a reprogramming or full-scale replacement of the PCM. Motorists will be notified officially no later than June 24 by first-class mail.

The Defect

As corroborated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling 107,857 2013 F-150 trucks due to malfunctions with the powertrain control module, which were first brought to the attention of the automaker in 2016 and have since resulted in a number of follow-up investigations. In fact, certain 2011-2013 F-150s were recalled over PCM issues back in February, only that one involved over 1.2 million vehicles. The concern at the time was the potential for these trucks to suddenly downshift to a lower gear, even though motorists may be traveling at a high speed – which would, under normal circumstances, prevent that from happening.

The difference between this latest fault and the one discovered in February is the software used to reprogram the PCM wasn’t the latest version, so the initial configuration may not have worked. In essence, this latest recall is to correct the original.

If motorists are operating an adversely affected F-150, they may experience a reduction in speed out of nowhere. This could raise the risk of an accident, particularly on the highway where other motorists are driving at 65 miles per hour and over. Speed is consistently the leading factor in car crashes, according to NHTSA.

Timeline of Events

On May 16, a technician alerted Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group that certain 2013 F-150s whose powertrains were reprogrammed may not have been fixed with the appropriate software updates in place. To determine those involved, Ford launched an investigation and concluded that the corrections weren’t applied to trucks with 5.0 and 6.2 liter engines. Thus, those that were recalled initially would need to be recalled again, which Ford’s Field Review Committee authorized on June 3. The company believes potentially as many as 100% of the 107,857 F-150s may still have PCMs that weren’t appropriately calibrated, assuming motorists brought them to their dealer when they were first informed of the glitch.

The Ford F-Series commands quite the presence in the automotive world. In 2017, more than 896,000 trucks were sold nationwide, according to Business Insider, its best-selling year on record, which dates back to 1977. It’s consistently the top-seller of all models in the U.S. – a feat reached for 36 years running. This may explain why this and the original recall affected so many.

The Solution

Ford says that the recall will get underway officially on June 24, when owners will be notified of the issue by mail. Motorists are urged to bring their truck back to an authorized Ford dealer for a fresh PCM reprogramming. Like the original – and virtually all safety recalls – the service is complimentary.

For more information on this recall, owners have several options. They can contact by phone, dialing 1-866-436-7332, which is Ford’s toll-free hotline. Alternatively, check MotorSafety.org by entering the truck’s VIN in the designated field.

Sean ReyesCertain Recalled F-150s May Need Another Fix, Ford Says

Another Air Bag Issue For BMW Owners

Laguna Hills, CA – June 17, 2019 – BMW of North America seeks to recall nearly 2,000 X7 xDrive 40i and X7 xDrive50i models after learning that some of these vehicles may have head air bags errantly installed As a result, their deployment after a crash may result in injury or exacerbate the resulting effects. The German automaker advises owners of these SUVs to take their vehicles to their local BMW dealer to determine if a repair is necessary. If so, it will be arranged free of charge. The correction may involve entirely removing the air bag system and replacing with a new one or repair the existing air bag.

The Defect

In official paperwork filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, BMW is recalling 1,822 SUVs, specifically 2019 X7 xDrive40i and X7 xDrive50i.

The German automaker says that the head air bags – installed within the wheel on the driver’s side and the dashboard for the passenger – may be out of alignment with the vehicle trim. The issue is not with the air bag itself but rather improper installation.

Because they weren’t loaded according to the manufacturer’s specified instructions, the air bags may not inflate correctly, thereby increasing the risk of head injury during a crash, the impact of which triggers deployment. BMW says it’s taking this step out of an abundance of caution, believing that only 1% of the potentially safety compromised SUVs contain the flaw.

This is the second voluntary recall for BMW in as many weeks, as close to 1,700 2-Series, 3-Series and 4-Series vehicles are being pulled from the marketplace because of damaged passenger knee air bags.

Timeline of Events

The air bag failing first came to BMW’s attention during a quality control check at the automaker’s Westwood, New Jersey-based assembly plant. Two SUVs were identified as suspect. This led to a follow-up to see if other model xDrive 2019 models were potentially compromised. Review of the relevant paperwork suggested that if other vehicles contain a similar flaw, the number was minimal. The investigation also helped BMW determine that any subsequent offending models were produced between Nov. 5, 2018 and April 3, 2019. The company says it’s unaware of any accidents or injuries tracing back to this issue, but nevertheless decided to make the recall notice official on May 16. NHTSA notified BMW of its desire to do so on June 10 and gave the company the go ahead.

The Solution

Starting on July 15, BMW will reach out to xDrive owners by first-class mail about the possibility their air bag may be impaired and what they can do to address this issue. The simplest solution is taking their car to an authorized dealership, who can diagnose whatever happens to be the problem and fix. The remedy will be free, as is normally the case for safety recalls that are voluntary or mandatory.

Dial 1-800-525-7417, BMW’s customer service hotline, for more information on this recall. You can also enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your model is subject to this or any other safety recall.

Sean ReyesAnother Air Bag Issue For BMW Owners

Over 17,000 Mazda3s recalled due to flawed indicator lights

Laguna Hills, CA – June 14, 2019 – Mazda North American Operations is recalling certain 2019 Mazda3 units because some of the onboard notification systems – specifically air bag activation and seat belt use – may provide incorrect information while motorists are driving their vehicles. An investigation determined that the indicator lights may not illuminate when they’re supposed to, which could increase the risk of injury by ill informing drivers of the passenger safety situation.

Mazda has alerted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to this issue and plans on officially informing affected drivers starting no later than July 13 by first-class mail. Drivers are urged to take their vehicles to their local Mazda dealer so the proper corrections can be installed as necessary. The repair will be free, as is typically the case for safety recalls.

The Defect

Approximately 17,000 Mazda3 vehicles – model year 2019 – are due for recall because of a programming error that affects the indicator lights on the automobile’s dashboard, according to paperwork filed with NHTSA. Under normal circumstances, when an airbag is deactivated, the symbol representing this feature illuminates. The seatbelt status also lights up if someone in the automobile is not buckled in. However, some of the affected Mazda3s may erroneously turn off, suggesting that a passenger has his or her seatbelt on when the opposite is true. Similarly, the airbag deactivation signal may not shine when it ought to.

Accurate information is crucial to driver safety so the false impression of seat belt adherence or air bag deployment could increase the risk of injury. According to NHTSA, close to 90% of Americans say they wear their seat belts regularly. In 2017, an estimated 14,955 people avoided a potentially fatal accident thanks to buckling up. During this same year, over 2,500 would likely be alive today had they worn their seat belts in a deadly crash.

Timeline of Events

Valentine’s Day proved to be the starting date for when Mazda was alerted to the air bag illumination glitch. Worried that this flaw was more than an isolated incident, the automaker performed follow-up to determine the genesis of the flaw, which Mazda was able to determine on March 1. By March 23, the appropriate fix was applied to all Mazda3 models built thereafter. It nonetheless concluded that 2019 models built between Sept. 25, 2018 and March 23 could be affected, prompting the recall order of 17,016 Mazda3 vehicles.  However, in a statement released June 8, Mazda says the recall order affects 16,982 Mazda3s.

The Solution

While Mazda dealers have already been alerted to the situation, the company expects to inform Mazda3 owners by July 13, according to NHTSA documents. Drivers are advised to take their automobile to an authorized Mazda dealer so the indicator assembly system can be repaired or replaced. The fix is free, as are most safety recalls.

For additional details, you can enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your car is included in the recall, which the company says is exclusive to 2019 Mazda3s.

Sean ReyesOver 17,000 Mazda3s recalled due to flawed indicator lights

Air Bag Deployment Glitch Triggers Recall of 5,000 BMWs

Laguna Hills, CA – June 14, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling thousands of 2019-2020 model years passenger vehicles due to a potential air bag flaw that may alter the manner in which it deploys. Specifically, the defect affects the knee air bag assemblies, which may have been errantly folded at some point in the manufacturing process. It’s possible that the air bag may not uncoil completely after a collision, raising the risk of injury.

The recall is expected to begin on July 2 and owners of the affected models are advised to take their automobiles off the roads so they can be serviced – for free – by a licensed BMW dealership.

The Defect

BMW says its pulling 5,079 automobiles from the marketplace – of which include coupes, convertibles and sports wagons – due to improper installation of the knee air bags that are meant to protect the driver as well as the front-seated passenger, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The models include 230I, 330I, 430I, 440I, M2, M240I and M4. Their model years are 2019 and 2020 (the 330I is for 2019 only). It seems that the knee air bag modules, which were manufactured by Joyson Safety Systems, may have been loaded into the vehicles’ housing systems incorrectly. This could prevent the air bag from inflating properly upon impact in a crash that triggers them. Injury may result in such a scenario to the driver, passenger or both.

Timeline of Events

The problem first came to the attention of BMW in mid April. At the time, components manufacturer Joyson Safety Systems alerted the automaker that some of the air bags in several 2019-2020 may have been damaged during compliance testing. JSS came to this conclusion after performing additional examinations to see if the flaw was isolated or potentially widespread. Ultimately, the air bag manufacturer determined that at least several of the knee air bags were not adequately packed in the housing unit.

BMW concluded that it was best to err on the side of caution and initiated a voluntary recall on May 2, which entailed alerting NHTSA to the issue. There are no known injuries that trace back to this flaw.

The Solution

BMW says that it plans on notifying owners by July 2 about the potential problem and will encourage them to have the issue looked at the same place they bought their automobile. If not there, at a licensed BMW dealership. As per usual, the fix will come at no cost to drivers. It may be that a repair is unnecessary, as only about 13% of the recalled models are believed to have the defect. In paperwork filed with NHTSA, BMW suspects that the 4 series coupe models are most likely to be the ones affected, as 2,357 of these vehicles were equipped with knee airbag modules, compared to just 154 for the BMW 3 series sports wagon.

The NHTSA campaign number relating to this recall is 19V-352. Find out more at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesAir Bag Deployment Glitch Triggers Recall of 5,000 BMWs

2011-2013 Mazda6 Under Recall Due to Corrosion

Laguna Hills, CA – June 12, 2019 – Mazda says its recalling over 49,300 Mazda6 sedans due to the potential of a steering failure caused by corrosion developed over time due to the damaging effects of road salt, frequently spread on highways and streets to improve traction during the winter months. The model years for the affected vehicles are 2011 through 2013 and involve sedans sold or registered in 22 states as well as the District of Columbia. The concern is that excessive jostling of the impacted automobiles may adversely affect power-steering function and front crossbar, thus increasing the risk of an accident.

2011-2013 Mazda6 owners are urged to bring their vehicles to their nearest Mazda dealership so a repair can be arranged free of charge. The fix will likely involve the restoration or replacement of a drain hose and front cross member.

The Defect

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mazda is recalling certain Mazda6 sedans from the aforementioned model years due to concerns that the front cross member of the vehicle, which is found on the underside and involved in a car’s transmission functionality, may be vulnerable to depredation caused by road salt. The flaw may also adversely impact the sedan’s power steering, thus increasing the risk of a crash and/or injury to occupants. NHTSA investigators believe that the front cross member may not be applied with the proper amount of seal coating designed to protect the underbelly from the corrosive effects of road salt.

Since the source of the safety issue is known – road salt – NHTSA is confining the recall to so-called “salt belt” states,” which include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia West Virginia and Wisconsin. 2011-2013 Mazda6’s sold or registered in the District of Columbia are also included in the recall order. The automobiles in question were likely manufactured between Feb. 4, 2008 and Aug. 24, 2012.

Timeline of Events

The latest recall is actually an expansion of one that involved 2009-2010 Mazda6 autos. But on Sept. 14, 2018, the company decided to include sedans with model years 2011 through 2013 after dozens of complaints from drivers describing the same problems that led to the original recall. By Jan. 11, 2019, Transport Canada had reached out to Mazda as well, citing corrosion affecting the steering components of Mazda6 sedans. An audit committee meeting, held April 22, determined that the best course of action was to recall all Mazda6 registered or sold in the salt belt states between early February 2008 and late August 2012.

The Solution

Mazda says that no later than June 24, the company – in consultation with NHTSA – will reach out to owners of the affected vehicles by first-class mail to inform them of the potential safety issue and recommend they take their sedans back to the dealership to be properly examined. If it’s determined that their vehicle is vulnerable to corrosion – or if the adverse effects of such damage are already apparent – mechanics will swap out the appropriate parts: most likely the front cross member. This repair will be complimentary, as is often standard with recall actions.

For more information on the recall order, visit MotorSafety.org and enter your VIN in the appropriate field.

Sean Reyes2011-2013 Mazda6 Under Recall Due to Corrosion

Chrysler Recalls Ram 1500s Due To Restraint System Errors

Laguna Hills, CA – June 10, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles LLC (FCA) is pulling nearly 300,000 Ram 1500 trucks – model years 2019 and 2020 – from the marketplace due to an onboard software flaw that may prevent the vehicle’s air bag from deploying in the aftermath of a crash, thus increasing the risk of injury. The automobile’s seat belt pretensioners may also fail to function due to the tech defect. The company says it will reach out to Ram 1500 owners by mail later this summer, advising them to take their trucks to their nearest Chrysler dealership so repair work can be arranged. The fix will come at no cost to drivers.

The Defect

According to documents submitted to and produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 295,981 2019-2020 Ram 1500s are due for recall because the truck’s occupant restraint controller (ORC) system may not work properly in the event of a traffic accident. Specifically, the issue seems to affect the ORC’s flash memory, in which the computer module doesn’t reset as it’s supposed to when powering down the vehicle. This reset failure could then prevent the airbags and/or seat-belt pretensioners from operating correctly in a collision-related event.

In a statement acknowledging that the company is aware of the problem, FCA said that while they are making this move out of an abundance of caution, the chances that such a scenario occurs for motorists is highly unlikely.

“Data collected by FCA US indicate the potential for such an event is highly remote,” the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based manufacturer said in a press release. “Further, the Company is unaware of any related injuries or accidents.”

Timeline of Events

The issue came to FCA’s attention April 8, when an engineer on the manufacturer’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance team observed a corrupted software notification that occurred when turning off the truck. A formal investigation by Fiat Chrysler occurred in the immediate aftermath, which extended to May 3. The inquiry determined that the flaw had the potential to prevent the seatbelt pretensioner or airbags from serving their purpose during an accident. However, through May 20, the company wasn’t aware of any operator complaints or injuries that occurred – in the U.S. or elsewhere – related to the software glitch. This may be due to the fact that many of the affected automobiles – up to 33% – are still at dealerships, yet to be purchased by would-be operators. Those impacted were likely assembled at some point between Oct. 31, 2018 and April 29, 2019.

FCA deemed it appropriate that a voluntary recall be ordered for the Ram 1500s, which is what prompted the safety notification to NHTSA.

The Solution

On June 1, FCA sent out letters to dealerships, informing them of the problem and that 2019-2020 Ram 1500s should be set aside for the time being. Current operators will also be made aware of the glitch, which is slated to begin on July 20. Owners are urged to bring their trucks to their nearest FCA dealer so the ORC can either be reprogrammed or replaced, whichever fix is deemed appropriate by the attending mechanics. This repair will be free of charge.

To learn more, dial 1-888-327-4236, which is NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline. You can also enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your make and model is under recall.

Sean ReyesChrysler Recalls Ram 1500s Due To Restraint System Errors