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

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]

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