2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, Electrical, Engine and Transmission issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When consumers look for a family-friendly SUV, many of them rely on the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It’s been an American icon for years, and stands on a solid reputation for quality and reliability, until recently. New models of the Grand Cherokee claim the company is “Raising the Bar.” Sadly, we can’t agree with that, unless you think that defects with the electrical system, powertrain, fuel system or vehicle speed control help to set the vehicle apart from the rest.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Fuel/propulsion System
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Transmission

The powertrain consists of every part of a car that helps it to generate power and transfer it to the road. One vital part of this system is the transmission. It’s responsible for moving the power from the engine to the wheels. When the transmission isn’t reliable, you are left with rough shifting and a terrible ride. That’s what drivers of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee continue to find.

One driver wrote this on Edmunds, “At 5,000 miles transmission started jerking.  Brought it in and they said it needed a software update.  At 8,300 miles transmission failed.   Very disappointed in quality.”

While the company didn’t have a lot to say about this problem, there was a recall related to the transmission. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V280000 discusses how an incorrect transmission park lock rod in the transmission stops the vehicle from being put in Park. What we’ve learned so far is that the Grand Cherokee either won’t go or won’t park – it doesn’t sound like you can get this SUV to do much that you want. It’s like trying to get a two-year-old out of a toy store.

Problems with the Electrical System

The Internet lists pages upon pages of complaints related to electrical system problems with this SUV. For some people, it’s almost as if the vehicle is possessed, with a mind of its own. While radio stations switching on its own and backup sensors going off for no reason is mainly a nuisance, it could lead to an accident. If the driver becomes distracted because of the malfunction, a crash is imminent.

One owner wrote this on Edmunds, “Just before that the radio and navigation system shut down while driving without prompting. The SUV shut down after remote starting. Then the remote start app didn’t always work. I tried to get assistance but there was no support. Then the jeep shut down after key remote start, sometimes it would not start with key remote start or it would shut down after getting in the vehicle. Driving back on a 20 miles trip the jeep smelled like it was on fire to the point I stopped.”

FCA issued a recall surrounding trouble with the voltage regulator. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V524000 indicates that a voltage regulator chip in the circuit board that may fail, leading to a stall or a no start condition. In this case, you see that the electrical issues are more than just a nuisance, but severe safety concerns. No one wants to stall in the middle of an intersection; this is an embarrassing and dangerous predicament.

Problems with the Engine

If the nervous system of the car is in bad shape, what does the heart look like? The engine is the main component under the hood. It must be functional in order to produce the results desired.

Again, look at this Edmunds review to see what the customers think about the engine. “I bought a brand new 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, It has 2501 miles on it, and it’s in the shop waiting for a new motor, that is on back order for 2 months.  Problems with the block, had some manufacturer errors, there are some bubbles in the casting.  The oil of course leaked out these bubbles.  Called the Jeep company, I get a case number and told I will be called back, on the next business day. Still haven’t received a return call. Finally heard back from the Jeep (Chrysler) Company, Talked to the Case Manager.  The engine was expedited and the shop received the motor in about 3 days, instead of 2 months.  I let them know I was very unhappy and I wanted to trade this vehicle for another new vehicle because I did not want to deal with potential future problems after replacing the motor.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I was basically told that they would do nothing more, no swapping it for another vehicle, no buying it back, unless it became a legal matter.”

There are no service bulletins or recalls related to the engine troubles, but that doesn’t make them just disappear. The problems are real for current owners. The company was also very clear to this customer – nothing was going to be done unless it became a legal matter. That just goes to show what they think of their paying customers. Again, they continue to raise the bar – to poor customer service.

Problems with the Fuel System

The fuel system must be in good working condition in order to keep the vehicle running the way it should. Owners of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee find numerous problems related to the fuel system.

One driver on the NHTSA website wrote, “Had several issues with this rented vehicle still running after pushing button to stop vehicle when parked. Family members told me your car is still on at least three times. Had issues when stopped at an intersection. The vehicle seemed to die & was very delayed when starting to go again – required more pressure on gas pedal than usual.”

Just like with other complaints, it turns out that the fuel system also faced a recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V048000 addresses the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk equipped with a 6.2L Supercharged Engine. It turns out that fuel line may separate and could cause a fire. To remedy the problem, FCA technicians must replace the fuel line. No one wants to deal with a car fire unless you are fed up with the issues you are experiencing and would love to see the SUV totaled.

Problems with the Steering

Beyond the parts that make the vehicle work, it’s also time to consider the other systems that are needed for a comfortable ride. Steering is one of those parts that needs to work correctly in order to keep the occupants safe and on track.

This Edmunds review discusses issues with these components. “This vehicle had a faulty steering module from the factory and the dealership from which I bought it refused to address it. I had to take it to another dealer to have it replaced.”

This is one area of the SUV that the automaker chose to ignore. There aren’t any safety recalls or manufacturer communications right now. Instead, they hope owners don’t recognize the trouble despite the fact that everyone driving is using the steering system. It’s tough to ignore when something feels awkward or broken with this system. Until the steering wheel starts separating from the column and ending up in people’s hands, it’s likely there won’t be any word from the manufacturer.

Problems with the Suspension

Even though this is at the end of the list, there is nothing insignificant about the suspension. These parts must work properly together in order to ensure on-road safety and comfort.

A quick peek at a NHTSA review reveals that isn’t the case with this vehicle. “Service Air Suspension Immediately is the warning on my Jeep and many people’s Jeeps since 2015. The issue is a constant problem and Chrysler has no answer. Where is the recall?”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see that Jeep has nothing to say about this situation. They haven’t issued a recall nor given any indication of how to repair the defect. It proves that Jeep is raising the bar – by being one of the automakers with the most malfunctioning systems available.

Problems with the Vehicle Speed Control

The vehicle speed control is responsible for automatically controlling the speed of a motor vehicle. On certain models of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, it appears this system is faulty, leaving drivers in dangerous predicaments.

One driver wrote this on the NHTSA website, “My 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk throttle stuck open and began accelerating after removing foot from gas pedal. This issue is not related to the floor mat recall as I have already had the recall performed on the vehicle by the dealership. This could have caused a serious injury or death. I had to press the ignition to turn the power off and slam hard on the brakes to stop the vehicle from continuing to accelerate.”

The owner referenced NHTSA Campaign Number 18E097000, which stated that the vehicle floor mats trap the accelerator pedal. Since that was already resolved for this customer, it’s unclear what caused the problem. Still, this isn’t the first time Jeep struggled with vehicle speed control problems. The recall designated with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V332000, the automaker acknowledges trouble canceling cruise control. It’s caused by a short circuit in the wiring system and requires a software flash. Overall, it appears the Grand Cherokee isn’t sure what it wants to do – go, stop, start on fire or continue barreling down the highway at crazy speeds. If you drive this vehicle, get ready for the ride of a lifetime.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • jay

    2018 jeep grand cherokee high altitude 53k miles…dashboard completely bubbling and looks horrible. Also an evap system issue which I’ve brought to dealer 4x in a month and they wont fix though I paid for repair

  • Wallace

    It’s my fault! I should have trusted my gut and NOT purchased another pre-owned Jeep Grand Cherokee (shaking my head!). I thought CarMax would be a reliable place from word of mouth. My pre-owned 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Trailhawk is unsafe and unreliable because the vehicle ** would not start ** on three occasions within 18 months of ownership. Also, the “auto start” feature on the key fob works intermittently. Thankfully, I was in safe locations when the problems occurred, but two of those locations were in public, away from home. Also, the dashboard has indicator lights that come on randomly such as engine or start/stop or “check air suspension” or check ABS. The dealer has not been able to find or diagnose the problem, yet I keep paying out of pocket fees. My problems would occur with no warning, so there would be no time to get help. I contacted Chrysler on 8/8/22 and they were no help; they just directed me back to a dealer to pay another out-of-pocket diagnostic fee. They expressed no concern for my safety, did not acknowledge my frustration, and said a supervisor was not available to speak to me. All recall work was completed prior to my owning the vehicle. I do not trust my own vehicle and I need to travel frequently through desolate and arduous terrain. I am likely going to get rid of the vehicle because (1) I don’t trust Chrysler or government systems to help me in the timeframe that I need help, (2) I need to do my job and have a peace of mind, and (3) I need to know that I and my family will be safe. I just filed a report with NHSTA.

  • Dee

    I have a 2018 grand cherokee with 40000 miles, everything I accelerate, I hear a vibration coming from the dashboard. We are on a year with this vibration, everyone who gets in my car hears it but the JEEP mechanic. It’s has been to 3 different dealership and they all don’t hear it. I have video after video after video of the sound for them and they allay we do t heR it when we text drive the vehicle. I still have warranty but I bet if I didn’t, they would find the problem quick! I hate jeep, don’t buy one! If anyone knows how to help me or thinks they know what my piece of crap jeeps problem is, please help!!!!

  • Brenda

    I bought 2018 jeep grand Cherokee LIMITED. It had 43thousad miles. Air bag light came on. They sold it to me anyway. Now nothing in steringwheel works. No controls. Took it back to carmax they took it to jeep Chrysler dealership parts are in back order. But you can have it back drive it we will let you know when parts come in. Are you crazy this is Wisconsin winter is comming NO AIR BAGS.!!! No cruise control no controls at all in steering wheel. For $45 THOUSAND DOLLARS I wanted more…I’m 51 first new car. After this experience I will buy beaters with heaters….at least carmax is giving me my down payment back….they said no open recalls I found 8.

  • Brady O

    We purchased a 2018 grand Cherokee in 2019 it only had 30,000 or so miles on it. My wife drives it daily but not much with Covid. So we have had the Jeep about 1.5 years. It now has 37,000 miles on it. It has been in the shop numerous times and now has left us stranded. The Jeep had to be left at a dealership 300 miles away because it would no longer drive. The electric went crazy and the dashboard lit up like the 4th of July. The dealer ship states it is a power steering control module that will cost 4500$ to replace and we are out of warranty. We already had to have the radio stuff replaced. It’s got the start drag sound on cold days. It already lost an ignition coil. Had to replace battery. I’m sure all this is connected in some way or shape but Fiat Chrysler is acting as if we will have to pay for repairs on something that it seems everyone is having problems with. I get if it was something we failed to do maintenance on it’s our fault. But I believe this is a quality control issue in manufacturing. No place in the manual does it state I need to do regular computer chip maintenance. If I had 100,000 miles on the car or it was 15 years old I get a part might wear out. But we are talking about a basically new car. Sounds like a lemon to me. But I’m not sure how to prove it.

  • TJ B

    Yesterday morning I started up my Jeep and the radio & air conditioner immediately started shutting off and on and going haywire for the entire time I drove it. I tried shutting both radio & fan off but it didn’t matter. I shut the Jeep off and turned back on and it was fine. Then I was at a stop and the run stop shut it off then when I went to go…. Nothing. It said unable to restart to put in park & restart. I did but nothing. Tried jumping but battery voltage would not go past 11.5v. Replaced both batteries & it started right up C & the dash lit up like a Xmas tree I got not even a 1/4 mile and the engine was still running but would not do anything when I put the gas even though in drive. Day then said ‘stop vehicles will shut off’ but when I tried to shut it off it would not stop. It ran for about a min then shut off. Now the new batteries are dead and won’t charge when tried to jump. It’s got 61000 and have not had any issues until now. Can anyone please help?

  • Chantelle

    Purchased a 2018 Grand Cherokee in 2019 as a dealer demo. With 2020, working from home and went from diving 80kms/day to only grocery store once a week. 2021(40,000kms total) had a cold snap of -40C for a few days Jeep still started and ran but the car starter was having issues. Drove around on a Tuesday about 20-30kms. Next day was completely dead and had to use the manual key to open the doors. Towed to dealership (thankfully roadside assistance so no charge), they charged the battery for a full day and said they couldn’t find anything wrong with it stating something must have been left on. Just over a week later wont start again throwing errors to have all electrical systems serviced. Towed again to the dealership. They replaced the battery and then recommended I utilize a trickle charger going forward due to the draw on the battery from the electronics.

  • Glenn

    While driving on the expressway, the car seemed to lurch forward. It did it several times in my 50 mile drive home. Today it hasn’t done it. I did not shift gears nor pump the gas.

  • Alcruz

    I have the same issues with a jeep cherokee 2018 ..A lease car that i been paying por ywo years now . can i Ask Chrysler Capital for a refund of what i have payd ? Help me resove this please ..My wife is a Renal paicient for 2 yrs and a half receives Dialisis . That is why a leased that car to Florida Dodge Jeep ..I don’t know what todo can anybody help me ?

  • Clay D

    I leased a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit new in late July 2018. After a few months i noticed a vibration/rattle sound in the back of the vehicle. since then i have brought it into the shop 4 times for this same issue. they have yet to locate or fix it. I have numerous videos showing the rattle over a long period of time and have the shop invoices as well. Is this something you can help me with?

  • Lidia A

    Purchased a 2018 Jeep grand cherokee and has many electrical issues that have been worked on but it seems that one things gets fixed and another one appears. We have contacted Chrisler and they said they would make it right, but after not receiving phone calls when they say they would call back or not call us at us is making us feel neglected and they dont want to deal with us and the problems we are having with the suv.

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