Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 25, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain 2019 Ram 1500 DT vehicles due to potential power steering issues caused by a battery ground fastener that was improperly secured at the manufacturing facility. Up to 159,740 units may be affected.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the battery ground fastener on the driver-side front fender may have been improperly secured, possibly resulting in a loss of power steering assist. A loss of power steering could vary the steering effort required, which may contribute to oversteer and understeer conditions. This, in turn, can cause a vehicle to crash without prior warning.
Timeline of Events
On Sept. 18, 2018, the automaker’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance Predictive Analytics group received a field service report regarding 2019 DT vehicles experiencing an intermittent loss of power steering caused by a loose ground fastener.
During October 2018, VSRC Product Investigations searched field data, warranty and assembly plant processes. An inquiry began Nov. 1, 2018, and between November and December, various Chrysler departments investigated the root cause of the issue and labored to identify risks to customers. Lab testing verified that a loose fastener may cause system voltage diagnostic trouble codes to set in the Electric Power Steering module. As a result of these DTCs, the EPS may shut down, causing failure of the power-steering assist function.
By Jan. 11, 2019, Chrysler identified approximately 24 reports related to this issue, but is unaware of any accidents or injuries. On January 17, 2019, the automaker determined it would be prudent to conduct a voluntary recall of the affected vehicles.
The recall began Feb. 11. Chrysler has notified owners, and dealers who sold the vehicles to their customers will remove the suspect ground fastener, inspect and clean the ground stud and cables as needed, and torque the ground fastener between 18 and 22Nm while ensuring both cables are properly secured. These services will be performed free of charge. Owners who paid to rectify this specific issue themselves may send the original receipt and/or other adequate proof of payment to the company for confirmation of the expense and eventual reimbursement.
Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler’s number for this recall is V04. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V020000.