Ram trucks are having a difficult year. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating more than 600,000 Ram trucks made between 2018 and 2020 for problems with their engines and fuel pumps. Depending on the investigation results, tens of thousands of Ram vehicles may be subject to recalls.
If you own a Ram, this is big news. Your truck may be unsafe without your knowledge. Keep reading to learn the problems Ram drivers have reported, how to spot problems in your own vehicle, and what to do if your truck’s fuel pumps are unsafe.
Problems with Ram Fuel Pumps
The NHTSA is investigating 22 complaints and two field reports about Ram trucks stalling because of fuel pump failures. The models under investigation include the Ram 2500, Ram 3500, Ram 4500, and Ram 5500 heavy duty. These vehicles are all equipped with 6.7-liter Cummins engines. The affected model years are 2019 and 2020.
The complaints received by the NHTSA have had a common thread: the trucks stalled out at speeds of more than 25 mph and would not start again. Some drivers even reported flames coming out from under the hood around the fuel injectors, while others simply reported smoke and dashboard warning lights.
Apparently, the problem is found in the fuel pumps. The engine needs to use high-pressure fuel pumps to power trucks the size of the models in question. If these pumps fail, they can develop leaks, sending gasoline into the body of the truck instead of into the engine. This isn’t just a stalling hazard: it’s likely the cause of the engine fires associated with the NHTSA complaints.
The pumps in the Cummins engine have been found to be faulty in multiple vehicles. In fact, as long ago as November 2019, Fiat Chrysler (the company that owns the Ram brand) put out a warranty notice to replace the engine and its pumps. Since then, it’s revised the warranty notice a further six times. Despite this, the problems have not been resolved to the NHTSA’s satisfaction, leading to the current potential recall investigation.
How to Spot Problems with Your Ram Fuel Pump
The NHTSA complaints typically state that owners found out about the dangerous fuel pump problem while actively driving. You don’t have to wait until your truck is stalling and destroying the engine to learn you have a problem, though. You can watch for signs that your truck’s engine may be faulty and hopefully have it replaced or repaired before the worst can happen. These warning signs include:
- Your truck jerking or sputtering at highway speeds
- Your vehicle “surges” or accelerates even when your foot isn’t on the pedal
- It feels like it loses power when it’s going uphill or towing a load
All of these issues result from a failing fuel pump. The pump is supposed to provide steady fuel pressure into the engine. If it can’t do that, it may provide uneven pressure (causing your truck to jerk or sputter), too much pressure (causing surges), or too little pressure (causing a feeling of “low power”). If you notice any of these issues in your Ram truck, you may have faulty fuel pumps, and you should get your engine checked by a mechanic immediately.
Repairing Ram Fuel Pumps
Ram trucks are designed for heavy-duty use, especially the lines that use the 6.7-liter Cummins engine. That means that the engine can be an expensive fix. The fuel pump alone can cost more than $400 to replace, and that’s in the best-case scenario where you catch problems before your engine catches on fire. If you need to replace the entire engine, expect bills of upwards of $4000, minimum.
You don’t need to foot the bill yourself, though. The affected trucks are all well within Fiat Chrysler’s standard three-year warranty period. If you suspect your vehicle has the fuel pump problem, you can request that a Ram dealership fix it for free.
But what if you’ve already had the dealership repair the problem and it comes back? That’s a bigger issue. According to California law, car manufacturers have four opportunities to fix non-fatal warranty problems and two chances to fix problems that could lead to death or severe injury. While you wait to find out if the Ram recall goes through, you should continue approaching Ram dealerships to have your truck fixed.
If your truck still isn’t fully repaired, then it’s time to make a lemon law claim. Don’t wait to see if the recall goes through. It may not, and while you wait, your truck is dangerous to drive. A lemon law claim gives you the same benefits as a recall but without the need to wait for the NHTSA.
How do you know if your Ram truck is a lemon? California warranty laws state that a vehicle is a lemon if the manufacturer cannot repair it within the designated number of attempts. As long as your truck was purchased in California and the problem appeared before it was 18 months old, then you’re covered under the law.
Vehicles eligible under California lemon law must be replaced or refunded by the manufacturer if they can’t be satisfactorily repaired. Just like a recall, you can receive a vehicle that works or your money back. Either way, you’ll have the opportunity to get on the road without the risks of a dangerous truck engine.
Drive Safely This Winter
Whether or not the recall goes through, you’re owed a truck that’s free from manufacturer defects. Even if the recall doesn’t affect your car, you may still be able to get it repaired, replaced, or refunded by Ram if you live in California. The state’s lemon laws protect you from unsafe vehicles and manufacturer defects while your truck is still under warranty.
If you believe your truck is unsafe, you should get in touch with a lemon law attorney today. You can learn how to find out if your vehicle is eligible, how to make a lemon claim, and how to get help if the company fights back. Schedule your consultation to begin your fight for a safer vehicle.