N. Idaho man frustrated with truck troubles

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — A North Idaho man had quite a shock when he was driving down the freeway with his family. Now, his truck is damaged and he can’t find anyone who can fix it.

It’s been more than a month now and he still can’t get any answers.

Fortunately, Chris Bowen and his family got out of his truck safely when that fire sparked. He has car insurance and a warranty, but he said no one will take responsibility to fix it.

Truck Fire 1

A quick search online revealed, it’s happened to several others and there’s even a federal lawsuit against the company.

The photo below shows the damage to Bowen’s 2018 Dodge Ram EcoDiesel 1500 pickup truck.

Truck Fire 2

“I spent about $55,000 on it. It has a 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. It started on fire,” Bowen said.

Bowen signed a three-year lease on the truck with Dave Smith Motors in June 2018. About a month and a half ago, he was driving on a highway with his young family.

“It was a bunch of smoke that came out. My wife said, ‘Oh my God, I think it’s on fire.’ and I said, ‘No way.’ Of course, I got out of truck and noticed a bunch of flames that came out of the hood,” Bowen said.

Bowen pulled over on the shoulder and tried putting the flames out himself.

“My two-year-old daughter was asleep in the back, so my wife had to rip her out real quick and just get all of the kids out,” Bowen said.

Fortunately for Bowen, his family was safe. But with the damage, he can’t drive his truck. And so far, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won’t pay for the damage.

“When I put the request in for the warranty, I never found out. I had to call to find out through email that they denied us,” Bowen said.

The email said FCA cannot link the damage to a manufacturing problem.

But, it turns out Bowen isn’t the only driver who’s had this happen. In fact, the company recalled nearly 108,000 of these trucks because of the potential they could catch on fire.

Less than one week ago, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The drivers in that lawsuit, claiming similar experiences. According to court documents, one driver said the windshield exploded out of the vehicle while waiting for the fire department.

4 News Now told Bowen about that lawsuit Wednesday, but his concerns are more immediate.

“It’s a leased vehicle. So you would think that with it having that great of warranty, I have really great insurance on it as well, that no issues, they should resolve it in a matter of weeks. It’s been a month and a half now without a vehicle that I am still paying for,” Bowen said.

4 News Now called Dave Smith Motors and they told us they could not make any comment on Bowen’s situation because of a customer privacy act. They said, however, if you get notified that your vehicle has been recalled – take it to a licensed dealership immediately. It does not have to be the same one you bought it from.