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Ram pickups recalled; faulty side air bags can hurl shrapnel

The grill of a 2020 Ram truck is displayed on the floor at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on April 17, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

DETROIT (AP) — Stellantis is recalling more than 266,000 pickup trucks mainly in North America because the side air bags can explode without warning and hurl shrapnel into the cabin.

It’s the second major recall of pickup trucks in the past two months for the same problem.

Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, says the recall covers covers certain Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy duty pickups from the 2015 through 2020 model years. Also included are some previous generation Ram 1500 pickups known as the Classic, from 2015 through 2020. The latest version of the Ram 1500 is not affected.

Stellantis says in a statement Friday that the air bag inflators in the pickups were contaminated with moisture during a supplier’s manufacturing process. Metal canisters holding the inflator can rupture, even if the air bags are not deployed in a crash.

One inflator ruptured, but Stellantis says there have been no injuries.

The company says it will notify customers when they can schedule service. Owners with fears or questions can call (800)-853-1403.

Last month General Motors recalled more than 400,000 pickups in the U.S. for the same problem.

Documents filed in the GM recall said the inflators were made in Mexico by Joyson Safety Systems, the company that purchased the assets of bankrupt air bag maker Takata.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and spew shrapnel.

Stellantis said Friday that the air bags in the Ram recall do not contain ammonium nitrate.

Takata air bags caused the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. The U.S. government says that as of last year, more than 11.1 million had not been fixed. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.