Fiat Chrysler has issued a major recall of 1.8 million pickup trucks after reports that they could slip out of park and roll, causing accidents.
The pickup recall covers Ram pickups that were made as far back as the 2009 model year. At least seven injuries from a “small number” of crashes were tied to the shifting defect.
At least 1.5 million of the pickup trucks are in the United States, with the rest located in other countries.
Fiat Chrysler said the issue applies to shifters mounted to steering columns, not rotary-dial shifters or floor-mounted shifters. The issue is not related to a gear-shifting defect that dogged Fiat Chrysler and triggered a federal investigation in 2016 after actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a tragedy involving his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The issue arises when the brake pedal is pressed for a long stretch while the driver is idling in park mode, disabling the brake-transmission shift interlock and then allowing the shifter to move out of park mode.
Fiat Chrysler, which will repair the defect for free, advised owners to use the parking brake at all times when parking.
Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 1.8 million Ram trucks mainly in North America because they can be shifted out of park without the driver’s foot on the brake or possibly without the key in the ignition.
The recall is mainly in North America and largely covers heavy-duty trucks. All have shifters on the steering column.
Included are certain 2010 through 2017 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, many 2011 through 2017 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, and 2016 and 2017 Ram 3500 chassis cabs that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Also covered are some 2009 through 2017 Ram 1500 pickups. Trucks from 2017 built after Dec. 31, 2016 are not included.
The company says the brake-transmission shift interlock device can fail due to long-term exposure to high interior temperatures linked to an electrical problem. That can let the shifter move out of park without the brake pedal being pressed or without a key in the ignition. The problem increases the risk of the trucks rolling away accidentally.
FCA says it knows of seven injuries that may be related, plus a small, unspecified number of crashes. The company says drivers should always use parking brakes as a safeguard.
Fiat Chrysler is working on a fix. Owners will be notified when service is available. Customers with questions can call (866)-220-6747.