By: Brett Shainfeld

The excitement and energy of purchasing and driving a new vehicle can be a truly wonderful feeling. That feeling can quickly dissipate when faced with a malfunction in the performance of your automobile. And while it’s absolutely factual that these performance errors and faults in vehicles can derive from irresponsible ownership or lapses in scheduled maintenance, brand new or certified pre-owned vehicles that experience sudden problems may do so at the hands of manufacturer error. In these circumstances, in which a vehicle exhibits unexpected loss of performance or parts not living up to their full life expectancy, the manufacturer may investigate and deem it necessary to issue a recall to protect consumers and repair their vehicles.

It Takes A Lot For A Recall To Be Issued

Recalls don’t just happen out of the blue, and every issue doesn’t ultimately constitute a recall. This is why, should you experience an accident or feel that you purchased a lemon with no recall on the condition, reaching out to an experienced lemon law attorney may be in your best interest. They will be able to accurately describe your legal recourse and provide a strategy to receive the protections and support that you are entitled to as a consumer.

For a recall to be issued, typically a company will launch an investigation into a particularly odd problem or an issue that continues to be reported to them from local dealerships that conduct routine maintenance. They’ll meet with service technicians to obtain firsthand looks at what the problem actually entails, investigate factory records and try to identify the absolute source of the issue. They’ll then look back through those records to determine which vehicles were affected, all while designing a solution for the defect that will reestablish safe performance and vehicle operation. Once a resolution is decided on, the company will begin to notify vehicle owners either by mail, occasionally by phone or when they bring their vehicle into a dealership for routine maintenance.

Depending on the type of recall, the typical custom is to receive an inspection and the necessary maintenance to correct the defect at no charge. This is done to keep consumers safe and maintain vehicle safety reputation, as well as insulate manufacturers from claims of negligence in their manufacturing practice. Their efforts to maintain their brand stability play a major role in the announcement of and follow-up on recalls.

Occasionally, if a problem is identified at a mass scale, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will also announce recalls. In addition to this, they maintain an online database of pending recalls from manufacturers all around the world. This database also includes information on motorcycles as well. All you need is to type in your VIN number to see what recalls are pending on your vehicle; the VIN is typically found inside the driver side door, the lower corner of the windshield, or on your title or insurance card.

Should you search your VIN and see that you do indeed have recalls pending, it’s advisable to have them corrected as soon as possible. The search is particularly recommended should an owner have bought their vehicle secondhand and the manufacturer has no record of their ownership and thus is not able to reach out to them by mail.

FCA Recall on 2019 Dodge Ram 1500s

All of this information plays a significant role in the lives of Dodge Ram owners. In February of 2019, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced a major recall notice that would pertain to approximately 193,813 2019 Ram 1500 pickup trucks. This notice has to do with the adjustable pedal in these pickup trucks, a system designed to allow drivers to change its position through the use of a switch and an electric motor. Dodge officials have discovered that this system was improperly designed. In some cases, when the pedals are situated in the rearmost position, the overall integrity of the brake-pedal assembly could be compromised. The end result of this is that the brake pedal may become detached.

As of yet the company has not been made aware of any accidents or subsequent injuries relating to the defective design but has reached out with its recall notice to request that owners no longer use this feature until the problem is corrected by FCA dealers.

FCA Recall on Over 500,000 Dodge Rams

A second recall is affecting over half a million Dodge Rams in the United States. For owners of the 2013-2017 Dodge Ram 3500 and 2014-2017 Ram 2500 pickup, as well as the 3500 chassis cabs, the recall pertains to a defect in the steering mechanism. The problem is estimated to affect 573,876 American owners, as well as owners in Canada, Mexico, and non-NAFTA markets.

The exact details of the issue center around a problem with the steering-linkage configuration, which can cause an internal component to break free, leading to a sudden loss of steering. Chrysler has acknowledged that one injury potentially related to this recall issue has been reported, as well as eight accidents that are being investigated for being related.

How To Remedy the Recall and Seek Recourse

FCA has yet to declare exactly how the recall is being managed. In the case of the brake pedal issue, over one-third of vehicles affected were “in dealer hands and will be remedied before delivery to customers.” For the issue relating to the steering component, customers will “be advised when they may schedule service.” All maintenance to correct issues will be done at no charge to the customers. If you own a vehicle potentially affected, reach out to your local dealer to determine your next course of action to have the recall inspected and corrected.

If you or a loved one may have suffered from poor vehicle performance relating to the recalled issue, believe that an accident stemmed from the problem and battled financial loss or injury as it relates to such, you should become familiar with your rights and protections as a consumer. At Shainfeld Law, we have decades of combined experience in the field of California lemon law to assist our clients in the best way possible. We value consumer protection as a fundamental right, and will gladly meet with you to discuss your potential case and what your options are going forward. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation!