First sold by American Motors Company in the 1987 model year, the Jeep Wrangler is the successor to the original Jeep produced for the US Army in World War II. The current fourth-generation Wrangler was introduced for the 2018 model year.
Like the vintage military Jeeps, the Wrangler features:
- A separate body and frame
- Rigid live front and rear axels
- A fold-flat windshield
- Removable doors
Fiat-Chrysler sells more than 200,000 Jeep Wranglers in the US on an annual basis.
The various 2018-20 Wrangler models and trim levels have suffered from a variety of major defects and Abeel & Associates has represented dozens of Wrangler owners in Lemon Law cases. The Wrangler claims we’ve handled have covered a broad range of issues, including:
- “Death wobble”—a rapid oscillation/vibration in the vehicle’s steering and suspension components that results in the steering wheel moving very quickly from side to side (typically—but not exclusively—occurring after driving over a bump or other road imperfection at more than 45 miles per hour)
- Clutch malfunctions
- Axel and control arm weld failures
- Interior electronic failures, including malfunctioning navigation, audio and phone systems
Jeep Wrangler Recalls
In May 2016, Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 500,000 2007-2016 model year Jeep Wrangler SUVs. Problems in the airbag system could prevent the devices from deploying during collisions. The problem was with the clockspring that forms part of the circuit that helps control the airbag function. Excessive exposure to dust and dirt, typically from off-road driving, could compromise the clockspring and prevent driver-side airbag deployment.
Recent model year Wrangler are experiencing the following defects:
Jeep Wrangler consumers have complained about steering problems in the Jeep Wrangler JL, and the JLU Sport, ranging from loose steering, to drifting, to excessive wheel corrections to keep it lane. Potential fixes include making sure all the bolts in the steering system are properly torqued, recalibrating the PCM software, or making sure the tire pressures are correct. While Fiat Chrysler has yet to issue a recall over the loose steering issue, it remains a serious safety concern for consumers.
In October 2018, Fiat Chrysler announced the recall of of approximately 18,000 model year 2018-2019 Jeep Wranglers regarding defective frame welds. The issue involved the track bar mount, which was shearing off where it is welded to the frame. This could reduce steering capability and increase the risk of a crash. The automaker instructed dealers to inspect and repair the track bar bracket welds as necessary.
In May 2016, Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 500,000 2007-2016 model year Jeep Wrangler SUVs. Electrical problems in the airbag system could prevent the devices from deploying during collisions. The problem was with the clockspring that forms part of the circuit that helps control the airbag function. Excessive exposure to dust and dirt, typically from off-road driving, could compromise the clockspring and prevent driver-side airbag deployment.
The Jeep Wrangler is touted for its flexible handling on both on-road and off-road terrain. As anyone who enjoys off-roading will tell you, there’s bound to be some water along the way, which is why the Jeep Wrangler should be leak proof. Wrangler owners, however, have long complained of significant water leaks that have resulted in mold, rust and corrosion, even under normal driving conditions. Water leaks have also been reported in parked Jeep Wranglers after heavy rains.
Water leaks can result in corroded electronics, soiled carpeting and seats, mold and mildew growth and the corrosion of metal floors, doors and body panels from the inside out. In the Jeep Wrangler, water leaks commonly occur where the front door meets the A-pillar, between the rear hardtop panel and the B-pillar, through the windshield header seal, the cowl side panel and the dashboard.
Fiat Chrysler has not yet resolved the water leak defect and our office has received hundreds of complaints from Jeep Wrangler owners about wet seats and headliners, soaked floorboards, standing water in the trunk, and water dripping into the cabin from the roof and windshield. Wrangler owners have been forced to rely on workarounds rather than a permanent fix.
Chrysler has not yet issued a recall but instead has produced technical service bulletins recommending fixes such as notching, cutting, gluing and/or taping of existing door and window seals, or removing and replacing seals with newer, slightly modified seals. These methods are proving to be ineffective at resolving what may be a design flaw in the Jeep Wrangler.
If your Jeep Wrangler is continually experiencing water leaks that have gone unrepaired by the dealer, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Jeep Wranglers have a long history of transmission and power train problems, not the least of which is the transmission can start slipping or get stuck in a particular gear.
The device in the car door makes the windows go up and down. Consumers have lodged numerous complaints for window regulators repeatedly failing. The regulator will fail and the glass will be stuck in either the open or closed position. Fiat Chrysler has never issued a recall over the defective window regulators, which can cost hundreds of dollars to fix.
The Jeep Wrangler is not known for its fuel efficiency, averaging between 15 to 20 miles per gallon depending on if you're driving in the city or on the freeway.
Jeep Wranglers from the 2019 model year (and earlier model years dating back to 2012) can suffer from the so-called “death wobble”—a rapid oscillation/vibration in the vehicle’s steering and suspension components that results in the steering wheel moving very quickly from side to side. It typically happens after the car has driven over some sort of bump or other road imperfection at relatively high speed (more than 45 miles per hour) but it can start in other circumstances too.
The defect has earned its name because the shaking is so severe that the steering column feels like it’s breaking apart, the vehicle is hard to control, and you can only get the wobble to subside by slowing down or coming to a complete stop.
In an attempt to get ahead of the issue, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has issued a new Service Bulletin that promises owners suffering from wobble a free-of-charge installation of a new steering damper or stabilizer that’s intended to manage the vibrations generated by the front axle and suspension system.
But auto design experts are skeptical that the tacked-on component can solve for a fundamental design defect caused by a solid front axle and a suspension system subject to loosening connections as the vehicle racks up the miles. The severe shaking from each death wobble just makes those connections weaker and leads to more wobble incidents.
Jeep owners will receive a letter in the mail offering them a new steering damper, but for now the issue is being treated like a Service Bulletin and not an official recall. FCA denies that the defect creates a safety issue, but the drivers experiencing death wobble strongly disagree and believe it’s only a matter of time before injuries or fatalities are caused by the problem.
If you own or lease a 2019 Jeep Wrangler (or other recent model year Wrangler) that is malfunctioning or has been repaired more than once for the same issue, The Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. These SUVs are known to suffer from death wobble and other major steering and suspension system defects and failures. If you are experiencing these or other issues with your Wrangler, you may be entitled to a new car, a full refund, or a cash settlement depending on your particular situation.
In May 2016, Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 500,000 2007-2016 model year Jeep Wrangler SUVs. Problems in the airbag system could prevent the devices from deploying during collisions. The defect was caused by the clockspring that forms part of the circuit that helps control the airbag function. Excessive exposure to dust and dirt, typically from off-road driving, may compromise the clockspring and prevent driver-side airbag deployment.
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