Trucks

Fiat Chrysler recalls 1M Ram pickups for airbags that may not deploy

You can thank a roll-rate sensing software bug for this recall.

Ram

When airbags are supposed to go off, and they don't, you've got a pretty serious safety issue. That's the reason for the latest recall of Ram pickup trucks.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has issued a voluntary safety recall for more than 1 million examples of the 2013-2016 Ram 1500, 2013-2016 Ram 2500 and 2014-2016 Ram 3500 in the US. All of the affected trucks are equipped with roll-rate sensing.

Each Ram variant carries a different build date, which is important, because not every Ram is affected by this voluntary recall.

Ram

That roll-rate sensing is what spurred the voluntary recall. The trucks in question are capable of deploying side-curtain airbags and seatbelt pretensioners based on the roll-rate sensor, to prevent injury if it rolls over. External stimuli may activate a diagnostic trouble code within the system, which may disable the car's ability to detect a rollover.

If that happens, the airbag warning light will illuminate, and for the duration of the ignition cycle, both rollover airbag and seatbelt pretensioner deployment will be disabled. If the vehicle actually rolls over, it presents a big ol' safety concern without those two systems operational.

Thankfully, a simple software reflash will remedy the issue. Dealers will update the software in the occupant restraint controller to "extend the roll-rate sensor diagnostic trouble code subfault maturation time," according to the report filed with the NHTSA. Fiat Chrysler will start notifying owners and dealers in late June.