Ram is recalling more than 130,000 heavy-duty trucks with 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines because of an electric defect that could spark a fire even when the vehicles are turned off.
According to Consumer Reports, the recalled vehicles include Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups and 2500, 4500, and 5500 cab chassis trucks from the 2021 and 2022 model years.
The fault with the vehicles could be extremely dangerous, posing a risk to lives and property.
What’s Causing the Problem?
The problem is because of a faulty electrical connection in a heating element and is similar to an earlier recall issued in March for a smaller number of trucks. According to documents provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ram does not yet have a fix for this problem.
The automaker is telling vehicle owners not to park these trucks inside garages, near structures, or close to other vehicles until they can be repaired. Ram will notify owners when they can take their trucks in for a free recall repair. Ram informed NHTSA that it is aware of seven fires, but no injuries or crashes related to the recall. Owners of affected vehicles can contact Ram at 800-853-1403.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), each year, between 2014 and 2016, an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires occurred nationwide resulting in an annual average of 345 deaths, 1,300 injuries, and $1.1 billion in property loss. Data also show that a majority of car fires, about 83%, occur in passenger vehicles. Also, 62% of highway vehicle fires and 36% of fatal highway vehicle fires originated in the engine, running gear, or the wheel area of the vehicle. Mechanical failure was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of highway vehicle fires (45%).
What Steps Can You Take?
There are a number of steps drivers and vehicle occupants can take if the vehicle they are in catches fire. First, pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so. Use your turn signal to make your way to a safe location off the road such as a breakdown lane or a rest stop. Once you have stopped, turn off the engine and get everyone out of the car. Move everyone at least 100 feet away from the burning car and well away from the traffic, and call 911.
If you have been injured in a vehicle fire caused by a defective part, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to offer you more information about pursuing your legal rights.