The Italian-American automobile company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is recalling nearly 1.8 million heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks to repair the problem that could allow the car to start rolling without the driver’s foot on the brake, or possibly without the key in the ignition. The problem mainly focuses on vehicles with a shifter on the steering column, which can be shifted out of park without the usual safety steps.
The recall largely affects vehicles in North America.
The automaker started the move after receiving reports of seven people going through minor injuries and a “small number” of crashes that might be related to the issue.
Based on the reports, from owners, dealers, and other sources, it found the issue to a part known as a brake transmission shift interlock, a device that usually stops a vehicle from rolling until the brake is depressed, the company said.
Fiat Chrysler discovered that heat could form around the gearshift under certain circumstances when the truck is staying in the park and the driver keeps his foot on the brake. The shift can fail to function properly after being exposed to heat for a long time, it said.
“We urge customers to use their parking brakes, as recommended, and to ensure that child occupant is not left unattended” until the solution is ready and installed, Tom McCarthy, Fiat Chrysler’s head of safety compliance and product analysis, said in a statement, adding that the company is making a remedy.
The recall includes different Ram models from years 2010 to 2017: Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 pickups. All 2017 model trucks manufactured after December 31, 2016, are not included in the recall.
Reacting quickly to potential vehicle issues has become a closely watched matter to the automobile company. In the past two years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Fiat Chrysler had failed to immediately warn car owners of recalls and delayed starting fix of faulty units in 23 recalls including 11 million vehicles. The agency penalized the company $105 million.
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