Defects in Recalled Dodge and Chrysler Vehicles Are Crash Risks

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) recently announced a recall of almost 280,000 2009 Chrysler Aspens, 2009 – 2011 Dodge Dakotas, 2009 – 2012 Dodge Rams, and 2009 Dodge Durangos for power train rear axle pinion nuts that could loosen. The cause is an undersized pinion spline that could allow motion between the pinion nut and its companion flange. If the rear axle pinion nut loosened because of the motion, the axle could lock up, causing a loss of vehicle control and potentially a serious crash.
The NHTSA has received 15 complaints alleging rear differential failures resulting in rear wheel lock-up in model year 2009 through 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks. The complaints allege failures at various speeds with eight of the incidents reporting failures at speeds of 35 mph or greater. Four of the complaints involving higher speed incidents allege that the failure resulted in a loss of vehicle control including spins, skids, and/or yaws.
One failure from the defect resulted in a crash into a concrete barrier. One complaint reports that loosening of the rear differential pinion nut caused the failure. Most of the complaints allege that the failure resulted in drive shaft failure including one that reported the detached shaft end punctured the fuel tank. This puncture could potentially have resulted in a serious fire.
If you or your family members have been injured because of an automaker’s design or manufacturing defect, you might be eligible for a full financial recovery for your needless injuries because of the defect. Your recovery might include amounts for past and future medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages, and even pain and suffering, among other things.
If you questions or would like more information, contact attorney David G. Bryant at (502) 882-6000 or