Fiat Chrysler to recall around 1.8 million Ram pickup trucks with 'shifting out of park' issue

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said yesterday that it plans to recall around 1.8 million Ram pickup trucks that could be shifted out of park without the driver's foot on the brake.

The action came after reports of seven people suffering minor injuries and a ''small number'' of crashes that could be tied to the problem.

According to Fiat Chrysler, on the basis of those reports from owners, dealers and other source, it had traced the issue to the brake transmission shift interlock, a device that normally prevents a vehicle from shifting out of park until the brake pedal is depressed.

According to the company it had found that heat could build up around the gearshift under particular circumstance, when the truck is idling in park and the driver keeps his foot on the brake. Following prolonged heat exposure, the shift interlock can fail to work properly, the company said.

Tom McCarthy, Fiat Chrysler's head of safety compliance and product analysis, said in a statement that the automaker was developing a fix. ''We urge customers to use their parking brakes, as recommended, and to ensure that child occupants are not left unattended'' until the remedy is available and installed, he said.

The trucks, which include a number of variations of Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500 pickups, are from the 2010 to 2017 model years. The recall excludes all 2017 Ram trucks built after 31 December 2016.

According to the company, it had identified seven injuries and "a small number" of crashes that were "potentially related" to the defect.

The company added that the issue applied to shifters mounted to steering columns, not rotary-dial shifters or floor-mounted shifters. The issue has nothing to do with a gear-shifting defect that  Fiat Chrysler and triggered a federal investigation in 2016 after actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a tragedy involving his Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The company said it will repair the defect for free, and has advised owners to use the parking brake at all times when parking.