By Kurtis Ming

NORTH FORK (CBS13) – Can a recall keep you from registering a car? Yes, if it’s a pollution-related issue.

Recalls are free to fix, but what if you can’t get the parts?

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“The DMV is basically holding me hostage,” Stacy Brown said.

Despite paying her Ram 1500 truck registration on time, Stacy said the DMV wouldn’t send her 2022 tag until she sends in the orange tag that proves an emissions-related recall has been fixed.

“I feel like I’m going to have to go trade in my truck before the tags expire,” Stacy said.

The recall is for a defective exhaust gas recirculation cooler involving 2014-2019 Ram 1500 trucks.

After we confirmed with her dealer the part was back-ordered, we turned to the DMV, which said it can’t issue tags overriding emissions requirements set by the Air Resources Board.

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“Are they just going to keep everybody off the road? “ Stacy asked.

Her truck’s manufacturer is now facing a class-action lawsuit over this very recall. The suit claims the recall was “botched” “due to part unavailability” with some “parking their trucks permanently.”

Here’s how Stellantis responded to the lawsuit:

“Stellantis believes this lawsuit lacks merit and we will vigorously defend the Company’s reputation and products accordingly.”

Despite the dealer saying the part was on backorder, the company claims parts were available and have been since last summer. And guess what? Right after we got involved, the dealer got the part and fixed Stacy’s Ram 1500, allowing her to get her 2022 tags.

Here’s Stellantis’s response to the customer experience

“We regret this customer’s experience, but we are pleased with the eventual outcome. Stellantis takes seriously its commitment to accommodate recall completion. Service is available for this campaign and more than 73,000 customers – nearly 70 percent of those affected, nationwide – have had their vehicles remedied. This includes more than 10,000 in California. We urge customers to heed the instructions on final recall notices by contacting their local dealers, or Stellantis Customer Care, to ensure service is obtained.”

“I live on a farm, so a truck is really important,” Stacy said.

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The Air Resources Board did suspend its emissions-related recall requirement during COVID, but that expired in February. The agency said if you have a similar issue, it can issue temporary permits. In fact, once we got involved, they offered a temporary permit to Stacy.