Nearly 250,000 Ram Pickups Recalled for Steering Flaw

Chrysler is recalling almost 243,000 of its Ram pickup trucks because there could be a “loss of directional stability,” the automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall covers the 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4 as well as the 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty models from the 2003–11 model years. Most of the affected pickups, about 168,000, are from the 2008–11 model years.

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. Such a failure would affect the steering.

Chrysler said the problem “tends to occur during low-speed, parking-lot type maneuvers when the customer is making a tight turn.”

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

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.

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.