Fiat-Chrysler has issued a recall on hundreds of thousands of pickup trucks. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ram trucks with a 6.7 liter engine manufactured between 2013 and 2017 are under recall due to a water pump issue that could potentially cause a fire. The recall affects owners of Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, as well as Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. This includes 443,712 vehicles in the United States, 46,220 vehicles in Canada, and 4,485 vehicles outside of North America. Fiat-Chrysler announced the recall on September 19, 2017.
The company is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the water pump problem, and is issuing the recall as a precautionary measure. According to the Fiat-Chrysler press release, “certain trucks are equipped with a water-pump bearing that, after exposure to certain conditions, may overheat and potentially cause an engine-compartment fire. Compromised water-pump function may activate a warning light in an affected vehicle’s instrument cluster." Any customers with questions can call the FCA U.S. Recall Information Center at (800) 853-1403.
Recalls can conjure up images of exploding engines and malfunctioning steering wheels, but more often than not drivers shouldn’t envision the worst case scenario. While the scariest sounding incidents are usually the ones that receive the most attention, recalls are quite common, and the number of recalls issued per year is the highest it’s been in decades. Fiat Chrysler, for example has issued a number of recalls over the last year, including one for a Jeep gear shift, that was responsible for the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin. U.S. News and World Report found that in 2013 alone, 22 million vehicles were recalled, and that number has gone up. Most recalls, such as the Ram recall, are preemptive measures taken by the company. The majority of recalls are issued after a complaint has been filed by a driver (or many drivers), prompting an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). A recall is then issued if they discover a problem in the manufacturing process, and the vehicle doesn’t meet federal safety standards. This sounds scary, but in reality a recall can be issued for something as small as a mislabeled sticker on a part under the hood. Some recalls are voluntary, and others are mandated by the NHTSA.
So what should you if you find yourself as the owner of a recalled vehicle? Instead of panicking, there are a number of steps you can take to in order to get your vehicle repaired and keep yourself safe from any potential recall related car accidents. Once the manufacturer has decided (or is forced) to issue a recall, they have 60 days to notify registered owners of the affected vehicles by mail. If you hear about a recall on the news (or on a law firm blog) that you think may affect your vehicle, but you never receive any correspondence from the manufacturer, you can check to see if your vehicle is affected by going to https://www.safercar.gov/ and entering the VIN number for your vehicle. If you are the owner of a used car that is under recall, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), you should contact the manufacturer directly and make them aware of your contact information.
With most recalls, the manufacturer has usually engineered a solution that can be repaired relatively easily. According to U.S. News and World Report, “if the car is less than 10 years old from the date of the first purchase, the automaker must correct the problem by repairing the car, replacing the car or providing a refund for the purchase price of the car minus depreciation." If the car is older than 10 years old, you will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket. If you already had the issue repaired before the recall is announced, you may be eligible for reimbursement, but manufactures are not required to do so. Any local dealer can fix the problem, and you don’t need to take the car to get serviced at the dealer you purchased it from. It can be a frustrating process, but be patient. If it is a large recall, there will likely be a lengthy waiting list for repairs. Consumer Reports notes that the only time to really panic is if the manufacturer tells you to stop driving the vehicle. Again, this is rare, and the manufacturer should tow your car to the dealership and issue you a loaner in such an event.
Drivers are right to be concerned about recalls, no matter how small they may seem. All recalls should be taken seriously, regardless of whether or not they seem like they may lead to automobile accidents and injuries. If you find your vehicle under recall, stay calm, do your research, and proceed as necessary. In most cases, such as the Ram recall, you can continue driving your vehicle without worry. The manufacturer is looking out for driver safety, and taking the necessary precautions. That being said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Check if your vehicle is under a recall even if you don’t hear anything from the manufacturer, and take the necessary steps to correct the issue. More so, drivers can be proactive. If you think something is not as it should be with your vehicle, let the NHTSA know. Your input could be what it takes for an investigation to be launched and a recall announced.
All cars, whether under recall or not, have the potential to be involved in automobile accidents. While some events may be out of the driver's control, following traffic laws and being cautious are two things drivers can do to be proactive on the road. Even so, accidents can still happen. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.