Federal regulators have launched a probe to investigate whether Chrysler delayed recalls related to steering problems in 2003-'12 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks.
Recall campaigns affecting almost a million Dodge Ram pickups in the U.S. were plagued by both slow availability of replacement components and "poor communications" by the automaker, Reuters reported.
"The agency has received hundreds of complaints from owners reporting frustrations with obtaining service appointments and having their vehicles remedied under the safety recall," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement, as quoted by Edmunds.com. "Many owners have complained of dealers informing them it would be many months before the dealership could secure a replacement part for their vehicle."
Chrysler first informed the NHTSA of the issue involving a ball stud that can fracture and result in loss of steering control last November.
"Customers have been advised in accordance with the regulations governing recalls," Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said in an email statement quoted by Reuters and other media. "We are continually replenishing our supply of replacement parts. Chrysler Group regrets any inconvenience our customers may have experienced."
Affected owners were apprised of the recall in December 2013 and were told that they could begin scheduling recall repairs with Chrysler dealerships starting in January; however, consumers reported in the complaints that replacement parts wouldn't arrive for several months.
The NHTSA launched the probe based on more than 1,000 complaints from owners who had problems getting their cars fixed.