Some vehicle recalls only involve annoying issues such as operation of the radio or climate controls, whereas others deal with critical systems to the vehicle's operation and safety. Having received 15 complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting an investigation of the 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 for rear axle lockups and driveshaft separation.
The complaints alleged that the rear differential locked up or the rear driveshaft separated without warning. Seven of the incidents occurred at speeds more than 50 mph. No crashes, injuries, or fatalities have been reported in conjunction with the complaints. The culprit is believed to be loose pinion nuts in the differential housing, which caused the differential to seize. As many as 260,000 vehicles could potentially be affected.
At this point, a preliminary evaluation has been opened by NHTSA to investigate the matter further. The issue has not yet gone to the level of a full-fledged recall but could rise to that level if NHTSA and/or Chrysler determine the issue is serious or widespread enough.
Chrysler, like General Motors, went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 but still retains culpability for safety recalls for models built before the reorganizations.