Trusty Column Shifter Can't Be Trusted in These Recalled Rams

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

We have a particular fondness for the unintrusive, non-gimmicky column shifter here at TTAC. They’re satisfying to shift, pleasingly retro, and free up space between the front seats for any number of things, including a seat. Column shifters also keep your eyes pointed straight ahead, instead of having them wandering around the console or bottom of the center stack, searching for that newfangled dial shifter or push-button array.

Sadly, the column shifters in more than 228,000 Ram trucks are an invitation to danger. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced a recall of so-equipped models in the hopes of preventing rollaway accidents.

While FCA says while there’s no known accidents or injuries associated with the issue, the vehicles do pose a risk to occupants and bystanders.

“An FCA US investigation discovered the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI) may overheat on certain vehicles equipped with steering column gear-shifters. This condition has been linked to protracted brake-pedal application while vehicles idle in ‘park,'” the automaker said in a statement.

“If overheating occurs, a vehicle’s shifter may be repositioned without brake-pedal application, or the presence of a key in the ignition.”

In this scenario, children left behind in the car (is that still legal?) or a rambunctious dog could knock the shifter out of park, sending the Ram on an unexpected journey. Applying the parking brake before exiting the vehicle is recommended. The issue affects some 228,508 vehicles sold in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Models with the sketchy shift interlock include 2017-2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, certain 2017-2018 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, and 2016-2017 Ram 3500 chassis cabs with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 lbs. A smaller number of 2017-2018 Ram 1500 pickups have the potential fault, as well.

The bulk of the recalled trucks exist in the U.S., though approximately 42,045 went to Canadian buyers, and 4,066 to the Mexican market. Another 1,422 made their way outside the continent.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
3 of 26 comments
  • Scout_Number_4 Scout_Number_4 on Feb 16, 2018

    --Models with the sketchy shift interlock include 2017-2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, certain 2017-2018 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, and 2016-2017 Ram 3500 chassis cabs with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 lbs. A smaller number of 2017-2018 Ram 1500 pickups have the potential fault, as well.-- I have a 2016 Ram 2500 and received the recall notice.

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Feb 17, 2018

      Your 2016 was part of the earlier recall of the earlier vehicles with the exact same problem.

  • Thelastdriver Thelastdriver on Feb 16, 2018

    Also apparently a problem in the Dodge Sprinter series too. A friend who works for the local cable company was parked outside my work. While visible through store windows the entire time after about five minutes it popped out of park (not running, no keys) and rolled into another customer's vehicle.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."
  • Lou_BC A brand or inanimate object isn't patriotic. A person can buy said object based upon patriotism. I'd prefer to buy local or domestic. Is supporting one's fellow countrymen patriotic or logical? I'd rather buy from an allie than a foe. Is that patriotic or logical?
Next