Fiat Chrysler is recalling 295،981 Ram pickups in the United States because their airbags and seatbelt pretensioners may be deactivated in a crash، according to the company and filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)، as the Car News said. The defect is in every Ram 1500 built through April 29، 2019، the date after which FCA updated software for the start of 2020 production. The problem lies in the occupant restraint controller، which is the main processing unit that decides whether or not to deploy the airbags and pretensioners in an accident. When the driver shuts off the truck، the controller may power off too soon during a "memory cleanup"—not much different than how your home computer clears its memory during shutdown—which can permanently corrupt the controller. When that happens، an airbag light can illuminate، all sorts of fault codes can generate، and at worst، the truck's airbags and pretensioners won't work. FCA said that، as of May 20، it knew of no accidents or injuries and only 13 warranty claims. The automaker said it found the problem on April 8 and analyzed the issue through May. Another 26 trucks are technically affected، but they are pre-production 2020 models—these are the kind distributed to the automotive press—and will all be crushed and never sold. Starting in late July، dealers will update the software on all vehicles and، if the airbag light is on، will replace the occupant restraint controller.
FCA recalled 1.4 million cars and trucks in 2016، including the 2009–2012 Ram 1500، for non-deploying airbags as part of a supplier-wide defect that affected more than 10 million additional cars from four other manufacturers. In 2017، FCA recalled a million Ram pickups، including the 2013–2016 Ram 1500، for faulty sensors that could disable the side airbags and pretensioners. In February، nearly 600،000 Ram HD pickups were recalled for steering loss. Most recently، in May، FCA recalled 410،000 pickups from 2015–2017 for defective tailgates.