NHTSA Investigating Chrysler Steering Problems

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Washington, DCIn what can only be described as a stunning rebuke to any perception that Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) has a good handle on the recall process involving its venerable Dodge Ram line of trucks, it has been announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into Chrysler Dodge Ram Recalls.

At issue is not the allegedly defective steering-system tie rods that many disgruntled owners have highlighted via YouTube and other social media platforms, but rather the capacity for the manufacturer to undertake repair of the allegedly defective products in a timely matter.

When the defective automotive recall involving the Dodge Ram defective steering issue was announced, the NHTSA notes that Chrysler did not identify any problems or perceived difficulty in carrying through with the repairs with expediency and efficiency. According to the NHTSA, Chrysler told the agency’s Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) that, at the time, there were no “recall administrative issues or unusual remedy parts restrictions,” according to the agency.

Chrysler had also indicated it could easily source the needed parts through its Mopar division, with no expectation of any parts restrictions due to perceived demand.

However, according to hundreds of complaints the NHSTA has reported receiving, this hasn’t been the case. According to various comments and complaints - not to mention plaintiffs who have brought defective steering-system tie rods recall lawsuits - parts have not been readily available, with disgruntled owners having to wait months for their defective products to be repaired.

“As the complaints progressed, ODI received information from dealers reflecting that severe parts restrictions were in place and, eventually, received a copy of a notification Mopar issued instructing dealers to immediately return the replacement tie-rod assemblies for quality verification,” the ODI said.

Given the popularity of the Dodge Ram brand, and the reliance that farmers, laborers and contractors have placed on their truck’s capability to undertake the kind of tough service reflected in advertisements, such a defective products issue together with the allegedly long wait in attaining service has provided fodder for litigation, including the proposed class-action lawsuit filed this past April in California federal court, alleging that Chrysler Group LLC concealed the defect from consumers and regulators.

In a statement released October 27, Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said that “Chrysler Group has kept NHTSA apprised of this campaign and will cooperate fully with the agency’s audit. Customers have been advised in accordance with the regulations governing recalls. We are continually replenishing our supply of replacement parts.

“Chrysler Group regrets any inconvenience our customers may have experienced.”

The NHTSA opened its audit of the Chrysler Dodge Ram Recalls on October 20 of this year. The proposed class-action lawsuit, involving almost a million Dodge Ram trucks from the 2008 through 2012 model years, is Shaun Sater et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC, Case No. 5:14-cv-00700, in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

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Reader Comments

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I have a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 and just started experiencing the "death wobble" this year.

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