Airbag issues have prompted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to issue another pair of recalls. The two separate issues both affect Ram pickups, one campaign stemming from oversensitive sensors, the other from a wiring harness. Between them, the problems affect an estimated combined total of some 2 million units.
The first recall affects 2013-15 Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks, specifically four-door models, manufactured between June 20, 2012, and January 26, 2015. The calibration of the side impact sensor in those affected units may to be too sensitive. As a result, if the door is slammed too hard, the side-curtain airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioner may inadvertently activate. FCA reports that this issue affects an estimated 667,406 units in the United States, plus 153,011 in Canada, a further 8,272 in Mexico, and another 14,847 in markets outside of North America, amounting (in Chrysler’s estimation) to less than 0.005 percent of those vehicles produced. The automaker says it is aware of two minor injuries (but no accidents) that may have resulted from the glitch, and is taking action to have the Occupant Restraint Control module recalibrated in the affected units.
The second issue also affects Ram pickups, including 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500-series models from the 2012 to 2014 model years, built between January 18, 2011, and October 7, 2014, and fitted with the optional Electronic Vehicle Information Center. The problem here stems from a wiring harness in the steering wheel that may rub against a retainer spring in the air bag control module, which in turn could cause an electrical short and deploy the driver’s side air bag unexpectedly. In the United States alone, the issue is estimated to affect 1,060,531 units, which will need to be inspected and, where necessary, have their steering wheel wiring harnesses secured, with protective caps added to the ends of the airbag retainer spring.
These do not represent the first issues we’ve seen from Fiat Chrysler in recent days. The automaker recently issued a recall for approximately 1.4 million vehicles to have their Uconnect software updated to prevent hacking. A few days ago it also announced a recall for 350,000 Dodge Journey (and Fiat Freemont) crossovers to secure loose engine covers. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue Fiat Chrysler Automobiles a $105-million fine for mishandling other recent recalls and safety issues.