U.S. markets open in 44 minutes

Former Chrysler Group recalling pickups for possible loose fastener

A woman walks past a logo of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Turin March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

DETROIT (Reuters) - FCA US, the former Chrysler Group, is recalling almost 288,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks globally that had been under review by U.S. safety regulators over complaints that a loose fastener might cause the rear axle to lock up or detach.

The 287,945 Ram full-size pickup trucks from model year 2005 are being recalled because the rear axle pinion nut may loosen, increasing the risk of a crash, according to the company and documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A spokesman for FCA, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said there had been three accidents and one injury related to the issue.

In June, NHTSA opened a U.S. probe into an estimated 260,000 Ram trucks from that model year for this issue after receiving 15 consumer complaints. The loose pinion nuts were the suspected cause of the problem at the time.

NHTSA said then that the consumers who had complained about the problem reported little or no noise or other warning before the lock-up or separation of the rear axle. Consumers reported incidents that occurred at speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour) or greater, and two said the trucks went into an uncontrolled spin, NHTSA said.

In February 2013, Chrysler recalled 370,297 vehicles, including Ram 1500 pickup trucks from model years 2009 to 2011, for similar problems.

In the new recall, dealers will install a retention feature to the pinion nut at no cost, according to the NHTSA documents. The recall is expected to begin on Feb. 13.

Affected by the recall are 256,956 trucks in the United States, 21,779 in Canada, 8,802 in Mexico and 408 outside of North America, the company spokesman said.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)