Owners of Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks have been reporting cracking and disintegrating dashboards in their trucks.
CarComplaints.com, a website that tracks owners’ complaints about their vehicles, said it had received almost 1,700 complaints about1998-2007 Dodge Ram trucks, for every model from the 1500 to the 3500, according to The New York Times. Some of the owners reported dashboard cracks, while others described chunks of their dashboards falling off, leaving jagged edges. The heaviest concentration of complaints was for 2003 models, said Michael Wickenden, who operates CarComplaints.
One Ram owner said the dashboard had separated from the vehicle and wires short-circuited, causing intermittent horn and light malfunctions and exposing the air bag. Another driver described being struck by dashboard debris when driving with the windows down, the Times writes. A number of drivers expressed concern about whether air bags would deploy properly in a crash and also wondered about the danger posed by jagged edges in a crash.
Ann Smith, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said in an email that the automaker was “aware of some dashboard complaints that are generally isolated to older vehicles outside of the warranty period,” the Times reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received almost 200 complaints about 2003 models alone, The Times reports. The NHTSA said it has no basis to open a “safety defect investigation,” but “will continue to monitor the issue.” The Chrysler spokeswoman said the company had no reports of injuries, and added that out-of-warranty repairs would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The Times also writes that Michael Brownlee, who once headed NHTSA’s office of defect investigations, said an agency review was warranted, given the nature of the reports.