Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling more than 180,000 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 pickup trucks from the 2017-2018 model years because of a potentially dangerous problem with their gear shifters.

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The trucks are equipped with shifters that are mounted on the steering column. The mechanical flaw might allow drivers to inadvertently shift trucks into gear without first stepping on the brake pedal, usually meant to be a safeguard against unintended rollaways.

It might also be possible to shift the vehicle out of Park if the key is not in the ignition, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The agency says the fault “may increase the risk of an unintended vehicle rollaway” that could result in a crash or injury.

FCA says it is unaware of any injuries or accidents related to this problem, and reminds drivers to use their parking brake as directed by the owner's manual.

In December 2017, Ram recalled 1.5 million 2009-2017 pickup trucks for another gear-shift-related issue.

The Details

Vehicles recalled: FCA says it is recalling 180,975 trucks: certain 2017-2018 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 3500 Cab Chassis, 4500 Cab Chassis, and 5500 Cab Chassis trucks.

The problem: If the brake pedal is pushed for a prolonged period when the vehicle is running and in Park, the brake transmission shift interlock (BTSI) pin may stick in the open position. If that happens, the transmission can be shifted out of Park into any gear even if the brake pedal is not pushed, or if the key is not in the ignition. This could lead to unintended truck movement.

The fix: Dealers will test the operation of the BTSI and update the truck’s software and replace parts, if necessary. 

How to contact the manufacturer: FCA will notify owners, who may also contact FCA at 800-853-1403. The recall is expected to start March 30, 2018.

NHTSA campaign number: 18V100000. FCA’s internal recall number is U11.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall. Plug in the 17-digit vehicle identification number at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. It will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.