Jeeps recalls over 60,000 cars due to engine shutdown problem

Chrysler, a subsidiary of Stellantis resulting from the 2021 merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group, has issued a recall of 62,909 Jeep Wrangler 4Xe SUVs due to a powertrain issue that could shut down the vehicle while in motion. This can cause a serious hazard on the road and has been responsible for at least two accidents and one injury. Carscoops first reported the recall on December 5th, followed by Car & Driver on the 7th. Other automotive blogs also reported the recall shortly thereafter.

The Jeep Renegade and Compass initially introduced the plug-in hybrid powertrain, which was added to the Wrangler in September 2020 and marketed as the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Unlike gas hybrids, which reduce fuel consumption by running the engine with electric motors through a common gearbox, plug-in hybrids are series hybrids that only use battery-driven electric motors to transmit power to the drivetrain. They’re considered a midway step between gasoline-powered cars and fully electric vehicles and offer an additional margin of comfort to drivers who experience range anxiety but want the savings of an electric hybrid vehicle. According to the EPA, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe has a combined gas mileage of over 49 MPG/e, making it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class.

Jeep has not specified the exact problem with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, but the recall affects nearly all vehicles of this model built between September 2, 2020, and August 17, 2022. The company has indicated that the vehicles could experience “an engine shutdown condition caused by diagnostic reactions to faults caused by loss of communication.” According to the NHTSA, the sudden engine shutdown has resulted in 196 warranty claims, 65 field reports, two accidents, and at least one injury. Despite this knowledge of the problem as early as 2021, no action was taken by Stellantis until late 2022.

Jeep notified dealers and owners of the recall on January 12, 2023, but did not issue a “stop drive” order to drivers with affected vehicles. However, Jeep issued a “stop sale” order for unsold vehicles until the fix was rolled out. The NHTSA estimated that 100% of the vehicles involved in the recall were defective, a defect that appears to be a software problem related to the transmission control module and auxiliary hybrid control processor. The fix is a software patch to both systems, and there is no information suggesting that the problem recurs after patching.

The Wrangler has encountered four recalls since its release in 2020, including the communication loss engine shutdown issue affecting all of the vehicles, a recall for a defective fuel pump that could cause a similar engine stall in the diesel-powered version of the truck, and two other recalls for inoperative side marker lights and a loose fastener recall for the 200-amp fuse housing. If you own any vehicle described by these recalls, contact your Chrysler dealership for servicing.

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