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Fiat Chrysler recalls 1 million Ram pickups

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/15/2017 Eric D. Lawrence
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is voluntarily recalling 1 million Ram pickups in the U.S. and more than 200,000 in Canada because of a computer issue potentially affecting side air bags and seat belts.

The automaker says one fatality, two injuries and two accidents may be related to the issue. Details of the accidents were not provided in the company's announcement of the recall.

The affected trucks are certain 2013 to 2016 Ram 1500 and 2500 pickups and 2014 to 2016 Ram 3500 pickups, and those customers will be advised when they may schedule service to reprogram their computer modules, the company said. About 216,007 trucks in Canada, 21,668 trucks in Mexico and 21,530 trucks elsewhere in the world are also part of the recall.

A Fiat Chrysler investigation “identified a population of vehicles equipped with modules featuring certain types of sensors,” the company said.

If those trucks experience a “significant underbody impact,” their computer modules could erroneously conclude the sensor has failed and activate an instrument-cluster warning light. 

“The error code associated with the warning may temporarily disable side air bag and seat belt pretensioner deployment for that ignition cycle, which would then be unavailable in the event of a vehicle rollover,” the company said, noting that “pretensioners reduce seat belt slack during impacts, thereby reducing forward movement of the occupant’s head and torso.”

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