KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People expect certain things to go wrong with their cars, but people who have been driving for decades, say they’ve never owned a car with a dashboard this bad.
“You can see how this dash in my Dodge Ram pickup has cracks. It has multiple cracks,” said Chris Yoder of Harrisonville.
The cracking is so bad in his 1999 pickup that Yoder said he’ll eventually be forced to adopt the same fix his son used on his 2001 Dodge Ram dashboard.
“He put aluminum tape all over it,” said Yoder.
That’s right duct tape to hold his dashboard together. It’s cheaper than replacing it, which would cost upward of $1,000.
The Yoder family isn’t the only family experiencing problems with their Ram dashboards.
Websites like Carcomplaints.com have hundreds of complaints from upset Ram owners who say their dashboards are also disintegrating. There are hundreds more on a National Transportation Safety Board site called www.safercar.gov. The owner of a 2001 Ram pickup writes that it’s not just his dashboard falling apart, it’s also his cup holder and other plastic parts. “It looks like crap,” he writes.
Chrysler has denied customer requests to pay for repairs if the vehicle is out of warranty and most owners say the damage doesn’t appear until after the warranty has expired.
A non-profit advocacy group — the Center for Auto Safety — reported the problem to the feds more than two years ago and believes it affects every Ram made starting in the late 1990s and up until at least 2003.
Executive Director Clarence Ditlow tells FOX 4 he’d like to see the dashboards recalled because he thinks they could be dangerous.
Not only have large pieces of the dashboad come lose, but Ditlow said the cracks allow moisture and dirt to seep into the electrical components under the dashboard. You know the kind of electrical components that allow your air bag to function.
And it’s not just the Ram trucks that have issues. Yoder says his wife’s PT Cruiser also has a broken dashboard.
Chrysler tells Fox 4 it has no reports of people being injured by pieces of the dashboard flying off. But Chrysler has agreed to take a second look at the vehicles owned by Yoder and see if there is any way it can help him. Which is potentially good news for Yoder who remains a huge Chrysler fan. He says the dashboards may not be the best, but the engines are great.