The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into potential problems with power steering that could befall Ram 1500 owners. Trucks from the 2013 model year through 2016 are now under investigation, and with the popularity of pickups in North America, it’s a large investigation. 1.1 million pickups are part of this federal probe that began on August 4.
What exactly is the issue with the Ram 1500? That’s what NHTSA hopes to uncover with its investigation, but owners are reporting either partial or total loss of power steering. The agency has 380 reports from owners thus far, with the most recent coming on August 7. It involved a 2014 Ram 1500 with 118,000 miles that lost power steering while towing a camper trailer. Other owners relay similar experiences, though fortunately, no injuries have been reported thus far. However, NHTSA does mention three accidents that could be related to the failures.
While the investigation is new, NHTSA does have some steering-related history with Ram to draw upon for clues. In 2016, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a small recall (campaign number 16V-167) of 440 Ram 1500 trucks from 2015 and 2016. At issue was possible contamination of the electrical power steering (EPS) unit, leading to failures of a similar nature to what owners are reporting now. That recall pointed specifically to contamination on the circuit board for these units. The fix was to replace the EPS.
It’s important to note that the recall from 2016 has not been expanded, nor has a new recall been issued. The investigation is ongoing, and Automotive News reports that Stellantis is cooperating fully in the process.
Ram certainly isn’t a stranger to recalls this year. 131,000 trucks were recalled in April to fix a stalling issue. Prior to that, 341,000 truck owners with diesel engines were hit with park-outside orders due to a fire risk. Still, it’s far better than Ford’s recall woes this year. Nearly 1 million F-150s were recalled at the end of July for electronic parking brakes that could activate while driving. It’s just the latest in a string of recalls that have given Ford the unfortunate title of being the most-recalled brand in North America.