Anyone who owns a 2009-2011 Chrysler or Dodge minivan or truck.
What's Going On?
A lawsuit has been filed alleging that a defect in certain Dodge/Chrysler tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) causes air to release from the tires without warning. Many have reported that their tire valves broke/popped off, leaked, or went missing.
What Cars Are Affected?
Attorneys are investigating problems with the 2009-2011 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500 trucks; 2009-2011 Chrysler and Dodge Minivans, including Caravan, Grand Caravan and Town & Country models; and 2009-2011 Dodge Journeys.
How a Class Action Can Help
A class action lawsuit could help owners of these vehicles receive compensation for repairs they already performed. A successful lawsuit could also require Chrysler to alert consumers to the alleged problem and fix it.
A class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that the valve stems on certain Chrysler and Dodge vehicles are defective.
What Does the Suit Say Is Wrong with the Valve Stems?
The lawsuit alleges that the valve stems on certain Chrysler/Dodge minivans can corrode because of how close they sit to the road. If the valve stem weakens, breaks or pops off, it can cause air to leak from the tire, causing it to deflate without warning. The lawsuit claims that Chrysler recognized the risk posed by the valve stem issue and, in later models, replaced the metal alloy part with a new rubberized stem that was less likely to corrode.
It’s important to note that while the current lawsuit deals only with Chrysler/Dodge minivans, attorneys suspect that the problem could also affect certain Dodge trucks, including the Ram 1500 and 2500.
According to the lawsuit, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation (NHTSA-ODI) has nearly 130 complaints on file regarding Chrysler minivan valve stems. These complaints date back to July 2009 and allege that:
Consumers contacted Chrysler about the problem as early as March 2010
Drivers were told by Chrysler’s representatives that the minivans had a “substantial issue” with the valve stems corroding and that the problem was so common the part was on backorder
The tires deflated because of a corroded valve stem – and that this issue became especially dangerous when driving at high speeds as the tires could deflate instantly and without warning
Drivers not only had to replace the valve stems, but also had to pay for new tires
A handful of complaints registered with the NHTSA-ODI can be read below [sic throughout]:
“I contacted Golling Chrysler [and] I spoke with the service person…I asked him if there were others were having similar problems with the valve stems. He indicated that they were having problems with them. I then asked him if Chrysler was having problems with the stems why the other two stems had not been replaced. He advised that Chrysler had indicated that good stems should not be replaced. I asked if he would guarantee those two stems and he indicated he would not because of the problems they were having.”
“Low pressure light came on while driving 70 MPH…pulled over to check tire…while checking the tire pressure in tire the TPMS sensor/valve stem broke causing all of the air to escape from the tire.”
“The second one [failed] while I was driving the vehicle…My children and I could have been killed if I didn’t pull over immediately.”
“In Nov we went out for Thanksgiving supper come out and found front left tire flat, valve stem was broken off and could not find cap or valve.”
Additionally, the plaintiff in the suit claims that he noticed his left rear tire leaking air and, when he brought it in for repairs, the mechanic told him that the valve stem had corroded so badly that the tire would no longer be able to hold air.
Dodge Ram Tire Valve Problems
Owners of certain Dodge Ram vehicles have also voiced concerns over problems with their cars’ valve stems. Some of their comments can be read below [sic throughout]:
“We were on a highway going speed limit of 70 mph and our truck notification said low tire pressure. We pulled over and looked and the tires looked ok. We pulled back out and went less than half a mile and the tire went completely flat. The valve stem cover nut had spilt and broke off. The whole piece fell inside the tire, causing it to go flat. We had the tire looked at and the valve stem cover nuts and stem threads are all corroded. We put the spare tire on and then again today (april 25, 2014) it said low tire pressure again. Once again a valve stem cover nut split and broke off due to corrosion. We don't have another spare and we were quoted a price of $75 to $90 to replace each of the valve stem pieces. The other two tires on the truck have splits in the valve stem cover nuts and all have corrosion too. So now i've gotta replace these on all four tires and replace one whole tire.” NHTSA Complaint #10584884
“I've seen complaints of the valve stem and they are probably meaning the valve itself. I put the air gun on the tire valve and the valve broke off inside the air gun. I tried another wheel and noticed lots of white dust under the cap on the valve, that one broke off in my hand. The tire shop broke off the third one trying to remove the cap. The fourth had lots of white dust beginning and I was told to consider replacing that one too. I replaced all four vales and sensors on my RAM 1500 truck. There should be a recall. This isn't right.”CarComplaints.com
How a Class Action Can Help
Despite dozens of complaints to the NHTSA, online forums discussing the tire problems, and notice from drivers, Chrysler has failed to tell consumers about the problem and its related safety issues, replace the valve stems or reimburse drivers for prior repairs, according to the lawsuit. A successful class action could provide compensation to drivers who already had their tire valves replaced and require Chrysler to disclose the risk to consumers. A lawsuit could also order Chrysler to replace the valve stems on all cars that have not yet been repaired.