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The Jeep Wrangler has always been famous for off-road prowess – but never reliability. All new for 2018, the latest model carries on a tradition of sub-par jeep engineering with plenty of defects. According to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most common problems are steering, structural and electrical defects.
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Problems with the steering
Being able to steer is, you know, kind of important. Jeep may have overlooked this fundamental aspect of vehicle design when they introduced the 2018 Wrangler JL, which is already overcome with handling problems.
Visit any forum or website, and you’ll see complaints of the JL exhibiting wandering steering, most notably on the freeway.
An owner from Albuquerque, NM, wrote into the NHTSA, “Loose steering and drift while driving. Unable to maintain a straight line without constant steering correction. Very noticeable at freeway speeds as the vehicle will want to drift left or right immediately after correcting steering.”
And the complaint continues on, “As soon as purchased it (the vehicle) and got on the freeway, it felt like driving on ice. Flat out dangerous to drive, right from the factory.”
The cause for these steering woes? A poorly welded intermediate shaft. If you’ve never heard of this component, it connects the steering wheel to the steering gearbox. Should it fail completely, all steering is lost.
That’s why Jeep has issued a recall (NHTSA Campaign Number 18V343000) on approximately 540 Wrangler vehicles for this concern. Dealers have been instructed to replace the shaft as needed.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Steering Problems
THE STEERING HAS A VERY LARGE DEAD SPOT WHERE STEERING INPUT RESULTS WITH ZERO RESISTANCE OR STEERING CHANGE. I CAN MOVE THE STEERING WHEEL AT LEAST 2 INCHES WITH ZERO REACTION FROM THE JEEP, BOTH AT SPEEDS AND NOT MOVING. AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS IT IS DOWNRIGHT SCARY AS IT DRIVES LIKE AN OLD 70’S JEEP/TRUCK. EVERY TINY CORRECTION REQUIRES SUBSTANTIAL SEESAWING OF THE STEERING WHEEL TO CORRECT. THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN WELL DOCUMENTED ON JLWRANGLERFORUMS.COM WITH NO REAL FIX FROM JEEP. THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS…JUST IMAGINE TAKING A CURVE AT 60 MPH ON A TWO LANE ROAD WITH A LARGE TRUCK/SEMI GOING THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION, THIS IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO KEEP THE JEEP IN THE LANE. SIDE WINDS AND PAVEMENT IRREGULARITIES ALSO WREAK HAVOC.
THE STEERING ON A BRAND NEW JEEP WRANGLER JL RUBICON IS VERY LOOSE WITH A DEAD SPOT AT THE TOP. IT IS EXTREMELY CHALLENGING TO MAINTAIN A LANE WHEN DRIVING, ESPECIALLY AT HIGHWAY SPEED. UNDER HARD BRAKING THE VEHICLE WILL PULL ONE WAY OR THE OTHER BECAUSE IT FEELS LIKE NOTHING IS KEEPING THE FRONT WHEELS STRAIGHT, CORRECTING IT IS SCARY AS THE VEHICLE SWAYS SIGNIFICANTLY.
THE STEERING HAS ABOUT 2 INCHES OF PLAY SIDE TO SIDE AND ON THE HIGHWAY AT 70 MPH IT CAN CHANGE LANES ON ME AND TAKES CONSTANT CONTROL ALL OF THE TIME. TOOK IT TO THE DEALER AND THEY SAID YES IT HAS PLAY BUT THAT IS NORMAL. THAT CAN’T BE CORRECT AS OTHER VEHICLES HAVE NO PLAY AT ALL. SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET HURT SOMEDAY IF YOU DON’T TELL THEM TO FIX THIS
Problems with the vehicle structure
Apparently, the welding robots at the Jeep factory are on the fritz. Because, not only does the JK have problems with welds applied to its steering, but also those on its frame.
Unsurprisingly, jeep owners are up in arms over the lousy production work. After all, if the structure isn’t sound, what good is the rest?
One owner from Waterloo, IL, wrote into the NHTSA, “I looked under my brand new Wrangler JK after hearing people complain about bad welds. Sure enough, my welds are awful. A Jeep service technician told me there is no way this should have been able to leave the factory. As of right now, Jeep has not done anything for me. Feel very unsafe in this vehicle. I hope Jeep has a recall soon”
Most owners complain of poor welds near the track bar, a vital suspension component. Jeep has released a recall (18V231000) for the Wrangler’s frame, but it appears to be for a separate issue. In it, the automaker describes a concern with left rear frame section corrosion, which could cause the rear seats to detach in a crash. And that’s definitely not good.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Build Quality Issues
I LOOKED UNDER MY BRAND NEW WRANGLER JL AFTER HEARING PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT BAD WELDS. SURE ENOUGH, MY WELDS ARE AWFUL. A JEEP SERVICE TECHNICIAN TOLD ME THERE IS NO WAY THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO LEAVE THE FACTORY. AS OF RIGHT NOW, JEEP HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING FOR ME. FEEL VERY UNSAFE IN THIS VEHICLE. I HOPE JEEP HAS A RECALL SOON. I?M NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH THIS ISSUE.
MANY WELDS ON THE FRAME TO INCLUDE THE TRACK BAR ARE EXTREMELY POROUS. IF/WHEN THE TRACK BAR WELD GIVES THE VEHICLE WILL RESULT IN A TOTAL LOSS OF STEERING. MAKING IT A HIGH RISK FOR ACCIDENT AND INJURY.
JEEP WRANGLER JL HAS POOR WELDS ON THE FRAME AROUND MAJOR COMPONENTS THAT WILL APPEAR TO FAIL. 2 WELDS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN POORLY REPAIRED DURING MANUFACTURE AND ARE RUSTING AT MAJOR CONNECTION POINTS TO SUSPENSION COMPONENTS. THIS WILL LEAD TO CATASTROPHIC FAILURE WHILE DRIVING UNDER NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS. RECOMMEND INVESTIGATION BY NHTSA AND RECALL. I AM CURRENTLY PURSUING LEMON LAW IN NORTH CAROLINA.
Problems with the electrical system
Today’s vehicles– including “no frills” Jeeps – are riddled with electronics. And that isn’t a problem when the technology is working right. But when it’s not, consumers quickly become unhappy.
Take, for example, this owner from Winsor, CO, who wrote in, “2018 Jeep Wrangler JLU Sport. The recent 5-inch radio update has become uncomfortably hot to the touch. After the update, the radio refuses to shut off.”
The radio, although frustrating, is not a safety concern. But the Wrangler suffers from other electrical problems that are indeed dangerous, as pointed out by a customer in Pewaukee, WI:
“ Cruise control on at approximately 55 MPH – had to brake due to traffic – but cruise control remained on. Only heavy braking eventually stopped the vehicle. Cruise control was fighting the brakes. The brakes won that battle. Took it to the dealer who could not find anything wrong.”
Thankfully, Jeep has addressed the cruise control issue with a recall (18V332000). The automaker will reflash the vehicles main computer, the powertrain control module, to cure the bewildered SUVs.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Electrical System Problems
VEHICLE STALLED IN HIGHWAY, STOP AND GO TRAFFIC FOR NO REASON AND WAS EXTREMELY HARD TO RESTART. A FEW DAYS LATER, THE RADIO AND BACKUP CAMERA WENT OUT AND CAME BACK AN HOUR OR SO LATER. THE RADIO, WHICH CONTROLS ALL ELECTRONICS AND BACKUP CAMERA, WENT OUT AGAIN. DEALER REPLACED SOME SORT OF INTERFACE FOR THE INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM (RADIO) ON 07/30/18. THEN VEHICLE STALLED AGAIN IN HIGHWAY, STOP AND GO TRAFFIC ON 08/03/2018 AND WAS DIFFICULT TO RESTART. THEN, ON 08/09/2018, A BATTERY CHARGE WARNING CAME ON AND THEY REPLACED THE ALTERNATOR. WHAT IS EVEN MORE TROUBLING, IS THESE VERY PROBLEMS ARE ALL OVER THE INTERNET. ALL WORK HAS BEEN COVERED UNDER WARRANTEE BUT I HAVE WASTED THE BETTER PART OF TWO FULL DAYS DRIVING TO/FROM THE DEALER OR WAITING IN THE WAITING ROOM. I HAVE FILED A COMPLAINT WITH FCA (JEEP). IT APPEARS AS THOUGH THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM JEEP ENGINEERS HAVE DESIGNED FOR THESE WRANGLER RUBICON JLS IS FLAWED TO SAY THE LEAST.
2018 JEEP WRANGLER JLU SPORT. THE RECENT 5 INCH RADIO FIRMWARE UPDATE HAS CAUSED THE RADIOS TOUCHSCREEN TO BECOME UNCOMFORTABLY HOT TO THE TOUCH. AFTER THE UPDATE THE RADIO REFUSES TO SHUT OFF. IT WILL ALSO UNEXPECTEDLY SHUT OFF AND THE BACKUP CAMERA WILL STOP FUNCTIONING TEMPORARILY. THERE ARE ALSO MANY OTHER NON SAFETY ISSUES THAT JEEP SEEMS TO WANT TO IGNORE WITH THIS RADIO LIKE THE LACK OF RECEPTION BOTH TERRESTRIAL AND SATALLITE, THE LACK OF DISPLAYABLE CHARACTERS, THE FREEZING OF THE RADIO TO BLUE SCREEN, AND THE LAG IN THE TOUCH SCREEN AND VOLUME. JEEP REFUSES TO DO ANYTHING TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE AND HAS SAID THAT THERE WILL NOT BE ANOTHER UPDATE UNTIL OCTOBER. SEEMS TO ME THAT WHEN YOU BUY A VEHICLE YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WAIT SIX MONTHS FOR A WORKING RADIO.
BACKUP CAMERA NOT DETECTED. STARTED AS INTERMITTENT PROBLEM, BUT IS NOW FULLY NON-FUNCTIONING. DISPLAY SAYS “UNABLE TO CONNECT TO BACKUP CAMERA”. SEEKING DEALER HELP.
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