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More Than 240K Dodge Rams Recalled Due to Steering Problem

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Dodge Ram Heavy Duty TruckThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Chrysler have announced a recall of 242,780 Ram pickup trucks because of a steering problem that can result in car accidents at slow speeds when the wheel is sharply turned, as in parking lots.

The steering problem, called “a loss of directional stability,” can occur because the trucks’ left-side tie rods can break allowing the left front wheel to move independently, without control of the steering wheel. The tie rods connect the front wheels to the steering mechanism.

As Christopher Jensen writes for The New York Times’ Wheels blog,

In a  July 6 letter, which was posted this week on the safety agency’s Web site, Chrysler attributed the problem to a tie-rod fracture caused ‘due to a weakening of the ball stud,’ which could occur if there were an alignment problem.

‘There were a few minor accidents and one minor injury,’ said Vince Muniga, a Chrysler spokesman, when reached by telephone.

Chrysler described the recall as voluntary, but once a manufacturer is aware of a safety problem it has no choice but to inform the agency of its plan for a recall or face civil penalties.

The recall affects 2008-2011 Ram 2500 and 3500 4×4 models and Ram 3500 Chassis Cab 4×2 trucks manufactured between February 14, 2008, and March 28, 2011, and 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4 models built between February 14, 2008, and August 15, 2008.

In addition, Chrysler reports that a small number of 2003-2008 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty models that were in need of repairs may have received faulty components as replacement parts. Therefore, those Ram models from those years, which have previously had their tie rod ends repaired, may also face the same recall as the newer trucks.

Under the recall, dealers inspect the tie rod ends, and replace the left outer tie rod and perform a front end alignment as needed. This service is free of charge.

Chrysler has not yet specified the time frame of the recall. Owners can contact Chrysler at 800-853-1403, or the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Wheels reports:

Last December, Chrysler recalled about 15,000 of its heavy-duty 4500 and 5500 Ram pickups from the 2008–11 model years for the same problem. In April, the agency responded to complaints of similar failures from owners of other Ram models and opened a defect investigation.

Image by Dodge Ram Trucks, used under Fair Use: Reporting.