Two federal investigations have been launched into Chrysler vehicles in one day. There is an NHTSA Ram 1500 probe, into faulty rear suspensions, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee probe, over leaking power steering fluid that could pose a risk of fire.
NHTSA Ram 1500 probe and Grand Cherokee probe announced concurrently
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigation a lot of Chrysler vehicles lately, especially Jeeps. In April, according to Jalopnik, the NHTSA announced a probe into reports of fires in the Jeep Wrangler from the 2010 model year. A number of incidents were reported by drivers who were driving the vehicle when flames were noticed.
The NHTSA has also opened two additional probes into two more Chrysler vehicles, both of which were announced on the same day. According to InsideLine, one of the probes is addressing concerns with the rear suspension of the Ram 1500 pickup and the other, according to AutoBlog, addresses possible power steering fluid leaks in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Both the NHTSA Ram 1500 probe and Grand Cherokee probes are just initial investigations; whether either lead to a recall is yet to be determined.
Grand Cherokee losing fluids
The NHTSA probe into the Jeep Grand Cherokee concerns vehicles from the 2012 model year, comprising 106,803 vehicles, according to AutoBlog. The issue is with the power steering pump hose, which are believed to be failing in some models, resulting in a power steering fluid leak. If a power steering hose failure occurs and fluid does begin to leak, it can drip onto the engine or other hot surfaces, leading to the risk of a fire.
The NHTSA has received two complaints of fire, one from a man who reported seeing power steering fluid on his driveway before the fire. There is an additional complaint of a loss of power steering after a loss of fluid.
Rear differential lockup at fault in Ram 1500 probe
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The NHTSA Ram 1500 probe, according to Inside Line, is over reports of rear differential failure. The probe is looking into the 2009 and 2010 model years, covering roughly 230,000 trucks. In the reports the NHTSA has received, the rear differential fails, leading to the rear wheels locking and the vehicle becoming uncontrollable.
There have been 12 reports of rear differential failures in the 2009 and 2010 Ram 1500 pickups, eight of which occurred above 35 miles per hour and four at highway speed. One of the those incidents resulted in a crash into a concrete safety barrier. In one case, the differential failure may have been caused by a loosened pinion nut, but most were caused by the driveshaft coming uncoupled from the rear differential.
Injuries or fatalities weren’t recorded for either defect.