El Paso Family Says Defective Dodge Put Them in Danger

POSTED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 4:48pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 4:55pm

Imagine driving down the highway and having the hood of your car suddenly pop open and block your view of the road ahead.
That's exactly what one El Paso family says happened to them last month.

Arturo Cuellar, along with his wife and children, were on the highway in their newly purchased 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 when it happened.

"All of a sudden we heard a really loud, ugly sound. Then a few seconds later I realized I had no view,” said Cuellar.

He was able to steer the truck off the road safely. But the Cuellar's aren't alone in their terrifying experience.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's website, thousands of Dodge Ram drivers have reported the same problem.

In 1999, a hood latch recall was issued for all Dodge Ram 1500 models made between 1994 and 1997.

The problem in those models was determined to be a secondary hood latch that could corrode and malfunction.

But 30 reports about the malfunctioning hood latch came from owners of 2001 Dodge Ram models, like Cuellar.

However, the NHTSA determined the hood latch in the newer models couldn't corrode because it was made of steel, and a recall was never issued.

The problem was instead determined to be a lack of lubrication which is recommended in the user manual.

Cuellar still feels someone should be responsible for what he feels was a faulty hood latch in his truck.

"I'd like for them to come out here and investigate. Who is in charge of coming out to look at this?"

A local Dodge dealership says if a recall wasn't issued, it remains the owner's responsibility to maintain their vehicle, hood latch included.

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