• The pinion nut on the rear axle could loosen, causing an axle to lock up.
  • Loss of control or a crash could result.
  • About 44,300 2009-2010 Ram 1500 and Dakota pickups are included.

During a five-month period in 2009, Dodge left an important component out of some of the 9.25-inch rear axles fitted to its 2009 and 2010 Ram 1500 and Dakota pickups. Without an adhesive patch properly in place, the rear axle pinion nut might loosen, potentially causing a crash. The latest Dodge recall includes inspection of 44,300 potentially affected vehicles and installation of a retainer to keep the nut tight.

The voluntary safety recall campaign is expected to begin next month, and all repairs will be performed at no charge to owners.

In a defect notice to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Chrysler (Dodge's parent company) says that a loose rear axle pinion nut might cause the axle to lock up, which could result in a loss of control and, potentially, a crash. But Chrysler's notice mentions no such incidents.

It does mention reimbursing those who have already paid out of their own pockets for repairs to the component. Axle failures have been widely reported in these vehicles, and Chrysler has determined that a loosening axle pinion nut is to blame. Owners who paid for repairs related to the issue before the recall should submit documentation to be considered for reimbursement.

NHTSA provides more information on this recall on its Web site, SaferCar.gov. For information on the Dodge recall, search for campaign ID 12V47400. Chrysler also can answer questions at 1-800-247-9753. The automaker's reference number for the 2009-2010 Dodge Dakota and Ram 1500 recall is M34.

Used-vehicle shoppers interested in the 2009-2010 Dakota or Ram 1500 should be sure that the rear axle pinion nut has been inspected under this recall. If not, a Dodge dealer can handle the service at no charge. Recalled vehicles eligible for certified pre-owned sale are required to be inspected and repaired before being sold.

Automotive recalls help to make the roadways safer by identifying and addressing safety hazards that result from substandard components or manufacturing. As in this case, recalls can sometimes result in owners getting money back for related repairs performed before a recall begins.

What it means to you: Shoppers interested in the 2009-2010 Dodge Dakota or Ram 1500 should be sure that the rear axle has been repaired under recall. If not, a Dodge dealer can handle the work at no charge. Owners who paid for the work themselves will be reimbursed.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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