The recall affects 2009 Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen SUVs, 2009-11 Dodge Dakota trucks and 2009-12 Ram 1500 trucks. Of the vehicles recalled, 278,222 are in the U.S.
The defect has resulted in 15 crashes, according to Eric Mayne, a Chrysler spokesman. No injuries have been reported as a result of this issue, Mayne said.
Chrysler said Thursday that it would notify owners of affected vehicles. Dealers will install a new pinion nut free of charge.
The recall was the result of Chrysler's investigating an earlier recall, from September 2012, Mayne said. That issue involved 44,000 Dodge Dakota and Ram 1500 trucks not affected by Thursday's news. In the course of evaluating the earlier recall, Chrysler determined there was a second, more widespread issue.