Kentucky residents who drive Dodge Ram pickup trucks or chassis cabs may soon be receiving recall notices from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The London-based multinational auto manufacturer announced on Sept. 19 that it was recalling 443,712 vehicles due to a water pump problem that could cause serious engine fires. Models covered by the recall include Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups and 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs equipped with 6.7-liter engines manufactured between 2013 and 2017. Fiat says that recall notices will be mailed once dealers have sufficient supplies of the parts needed to complete the repairs.
Fiat claims that no injuries or accidents have been caused by the defective water pumps, but the company acknowledges that the problem has caused a number of engine fires. FCS engineers alerted federal authorities when Dodge pickup truck owners began to report overheating issues, and the ensuing investigation soon focused on a water pump bearing that could overheat in certain situations. Fiat says that the water pump involved is no longer used by the company or fitted to any of its vehicles.
Water pumps cool engines by circulating water between their cooling systems and engine blocks, and fires are a real possibility when this flow is interrupted or restricted. Fiat says that many of the drivers who reported overheating issues with Ram pickup trucks became aware of the problem when a warning light illuminated, and the company has urged its customers to watch their dashboards closely and contact an authorized dealer without delay if they notice anything unusual.
Manufacturers are expected to act quickly when they become aware of dangerous defects, and the sanctions they face can be severe when they fail to meet this duty of care. When attorneys with experience in this area file product liability lawsuits against negligent manufacturers on behalf of injured consumers, they may remind them of these possible sanctions as well as the negative publicity that protracted litigation could generate.
Source: USA Today, Fiat Chrysler recalls 494,000 Ram trucks for fire hazard, Eric D. Lawrence, Sept. 20, 2017