2020 Jeep Gladiator Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, electrical, brake, transmission and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Enthusiasts anxiously awaited the arrival of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. After all, this first Jeep truck was supposed to be a pioneer in the industry. Even the automaker claims it is “Erasing Boundaries.” Still, it didn’t take long for those same enthusiasts to turn on the brand. Once this truck started exhibiting signs of having malfunctioning steering, a faulty powertrain and defective engine design, it became evident that the company was erasing the wrong boundaries.

Click on other model year to view more problems:   2021   2022

Problems with the Steering

No one drives a Jeep and expects to have the same steering as a car. In fact, the automaker is known for its unique ride qualities, so it’s safe to assume that the Gladiator might have the same feel. Yet, owners found the 2020 Jeep Gladiator extremely difficult to steer, more so than the previous Jeep models.

One NHTSA complaint states, “The Jeep wanders at highway speeds without moving the steering wheel. I have to constantly make corrections just to stay in my lane and out of other lanes of traffic. Seems super squirrely when there are higher winds. Also, there seems to be a lot of play in the steering wheel meaning that I can turn the wheel an inch/inch and a half and the truck will not respond while driving at say 45 mph. Not a very fun driving experience especially on longer trips. Wife refuses to drive it. I’ve heard of other people having the same problems and complaining to dealerships, but dealerships say, ‘It’s a Jeep and it’s supposed to drive this way.’ Very unsafe and it’ll be a shame when people start dying from this issue because FCA didn’t want to fix this.”

Because this model is relatively new, there isn’t a lot of service bulletins issued yet. At this time, the company has little to say about the steering issues. Still, other Jeep models have suffered greatly from steering and control issues. The coined term has been known as the Jeep death wobble. It will be interesting to see if the Gladiator has any complaints that relate to the same problem as time goes on. The company needed to issue a recall because of the death wobble and we might likely see recalls for the steering issues of the Gladiator as well. Unless, the company is looking to counteract the overactive steering of other models, but having this truck drive like a brick, which is just as dangerous. It seems they might be overcompensating for their previous disasters.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Fuel/propulsion System


My 2020 jeep gladiator requires constant micro corrections from 35 mph and above, even more noticeable at highway speeds of 50+. Aprox 1 inch or more dead spot in steering before I get a reaction to the wheels. I scheduled a service appointment for 12/9 and from what I have been told my dealer is that jeep has no fix for this problem , they have filed a case with FCA. I personally wanted it documented with the NHTSA, to force FCA to fix this problem, before some one is seriously injured or killed . Vehicle currently only has 1500 Miles. Unacceptable for a $45K+ vehicle

Steering is loose. Needs to be corrected every 2-3 seconds at highway speeds. Windy conditions much worse. Not safe to drive. Not fun to drive. Continually wanders. Vehicle two weeks old. Factory stock.

Loose steering, there is a dead spot in the steering where you have to continually self correct to stay in a straight line.

My gladiator needs constant steering correction to go straight. Steering is loose and the gladiator is constantly wandering right to left.

Steering drifts, requiring constant corrections. The vehicle drifts right and left at road speeds (Highway and city roads) I have already had one ?Near miss?. This is a public danger.

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Problems with the Transmission

Looking at the powertrain on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, we see just as many issues, if not more.

Just look at the incident that occurred, which is documented on the NHTSA website. It states, “Driving on Interstate 70 with approximate speed of 65 mph. Caught on fire. Flames and lots of smoke coming from under Jeep. Smoke entered cab. What I think is transmission fluid left train on Interstate. I have photo.”

Here it is apparent that a transmission problem led to a leak and a fire. This is a scary situation, but not the only powertrain problem plaguing the Gladiator. In fact, besides being a new model, this truck already has a powertrain-related recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V636000 illustrates how the rear driveshaft might not have been assembled correctly and doesn’t contain grease in the monoblock joint. If this escalates and leads to problems, owners might not be able to move the vehicle. Jeep has to replace the driveshafts in their new vehicles simply because they forgot to include grease. How does a company fail to put grease in such a valuable component? Maybe the automaker was too focused on all of the recent lawsuits around other models that it failed to pay attention to the construction of this truck. That means there are probably issues leading to further lawsuits with the Gladiator. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes evident that other vital parts or systems are flawed.

Transmission Problems Complaints

TL* the contact owns a 2020 jeep gladiator. When the contact attempted to engage the select speed control, the vehicle made a metal to metal grinding noise coming from the front driver’s side. The contact stated that the failure occurred twice. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 2,500.

Engine Problems

The motor is arguably the most important part of any vehicle. It must have enough power and be durable enough to last. Yet, the Gladiator is already revealing engine troubles.

Just read this enlightening complaint on the NHTSA website. “While driving for about an hour, doesn’t matter what speed it is, all of the sudden there is hot air coming in from the front feet space by the pedals, you can feel it in passenger side also. (AC is on and blowing cold air and the recirculate button is on) upper vent blows cold air while this happens. I had taken it to dealership to take a look at it but the computer doesn’t show anything so it has not been fixed. In all the years I have owned other vehicles I had never experienced anything like this so this is not normal and very uncomfortable when you are wearing open toe shoes. I asked dealership to drive is so they can experience so they will take a look at it again when the other recall part comes in.”

In this instance, it appears Jeep was right when they labeled the Gladiator as Erasing Boundaries. Instead of creating an effective barrier between the engine heat and the interior cabin, the company decided to erase some of that boundary. Meanwhile, drivers are left with scalding hot feet. In other engine news, Service Bulletin #04-001-19 tells technicians to double-check the oil fill level after performing an oil change. These are the same technicians working on the Jeep vehicles. Let that sink in for a minute to help you understand the caliber of people working at Jeep dealerships.

 Engine Problem Complaints

TL* the contact owns a 2020 jeep gladiator. While driving approximately 65 mph, the floor panel on the front driver’s side became so hot that it burned the bottom of the driver’s foot. The carpet on the floor panel was removed and there was a warning not to remove the carpet because the exhaust system runs under that side of the vehicle. The contact stated that the warning label was not visible unless the carpet was removed. The vehicle was taken to lithia jeep dodge where it was diagnosed that the vehicle was performing according to standards. The manufacturer was contacted via email. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Jeep pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • luar

    bought a 2021 gladiator 3.6l diesel only issue i have when truck is on idle and press the accelerator couple times does a sound like return vacuum anyone have similar issues?

  • Brian G

    I purchased a brand new 2020 jeep gladiator from the day I purchased it the check engine light And the auto stop light kept coming on took it back numerous times and the dealer just kept resetting it finally the fourth time bringing it back now they informed me that it needs an engine with 20,000 miles on it. Can you tell me that there’s antifreeze leaking down the cylinders and that’s kept causing the check engine light to come on give us a code of a misfire. Now they had my gladiator for a month and I’m still waiting for them to get this thing together

  • Christina A

    2020 Jeep Gladiator less than 1000 miles engine light comes on take it to dealership told it had bad cam…come to find out they already replaced cam before I bought it! Not disclosed when I purchased! So now they said it is bad gas and Mopar says to stay in warranty I have to pay for them to drop tank to get out bad gas not covered under warranty! 550.00 I haven’t had it a month! Felt like I had no choice dropped tank! 200 miles later engine light back on! I put $24,000.00 down on this vehicle and scared! Taking it back to dealership tomorrow!

  • Scott O

    I have had multiple issues with my 2020 Gladiator 6 speed manual. The 1st thing was while towing a 3.5K trailer I smelled the clutch burning, complained to the service department issue was not resolved. 2nd thing was the Auto start stop wasn’t working. The dealership said there was a damaged connector under the dash. They pulled the dash replaced this damaged connector. Then I had auto start stop errors and an engine light. complained about these errors 3 times and now it looks like they may have fixed this issue. was in the shop for 1 week for this issue no rental car provided. 3rd thing the input seal on my transfer case blew out and started leaking, took it into the service department for the transfer case locking up two times on me and not allowing the vehicle to move until it was at 2.5K RPM’s then it made a load thud and moved forward. This is when they found the transfer case input seal leaking. It took 15 days to get this issue fixed again no replacement vehicle was provided. 4th thing last night while on a very icy slick intersection the transfer case popped out of 4 wheel drive twice and I almost got in an accident because of this failure. I’ve owned this gladiator since August 2020 and now I have lost all confidence in it’s quality and safety. It has been in the dealership for 3 weeks already, I didn’t buy this to see how well I could get along without being able to use it or to get me into accidents because of silly malfunctions. I live in Fairbanks Alaska and a vehicle needs to be dependable up here or it could cost a person their life.

  • Dale

    Two problems: (1) Engine light is on, and (2) steering wanders at highway speeds. Purchased 2020 Gladiator Sport with Altitude package on 8/20/20. On Sept 3 with less than 600 miles the Engine Light came on.

    Took it to Jeep dealer service department on Sept. 11. After a week they said they didn’t know what was wrong and therefore not covered under warranty. They suspect contaminated gas and want me to pay them to drop the fuel tank so they can test gas. I know the gas isn’t bad (I have a 5 gallon can from the last fillup and retail gas supplier confirmed gas wasn’t contaminated) and told them so. They don’t really care. So I called Jeep Wave customer care 844.533.7928. They have the Jeep corporate engineers working directly with jeep dealer service department for over a week with no solution thus far (today is Oct 6). I have a feeling that this will not end well and might have to pursue other options.

    The Jeep Wave customer care rep has logged in my complaint about the steering problem, but that I want to work with another Jeep dealer service department that they recommend after the Engine Light problem is solved.

  • Russ

    Bought my Gladiator on Saturday and on Monday check engine light came on . Took it to dealership and they reset censor. Drove till 250 mile mark and it did it again . This time they had it for 2 days and said it was fixed . Drove it till 700 mile mark and same thing. This time they have had it for going on 3 weeks. Dealership has sent data to Chrysler in Detroit. They don’t know what the problem is . Dealership told me one bank on engine is only at 30% compression on cold starts. Dealership can not start to fix until Chrysler figures it out .

  • John R

    Our Jeep is at the dealership in auburn Calofornia for 16 days and counting! It will not align! When we bought it 4 weeks ago it had a pull to the right and the steering wheel was off to the left. The steering wheel has to be held on the freeway at any speed over 45mph. They wrote up a due bill when we bought it for alignment problems! Well we should of never bought it, we drove it for 1100 miles and couldn’t keep it on the road. The dealership finally got us into service and said that they would align it and we would have it in the afternoon. They called us a few hours later and said it was ready to go! I was so happy since we out 30,000 cash down on a 45,000 Jeep gladiator, and to top it off it was my wife’s every day driver. So we headed down to the dealership to pick the Jeep gladiator up. When we arrived the head mechanic was in the service drive and talked to us and told us not to worry it was all fixed, the only thing he couldn’t fix was the CAMBER witch was at least 4 degree’s out. Doesn’t sound like that much but it made the Jeep pull and wander to the right! So we drive it home and as soon as we got home my wife said no way I am driving this gladiator like this, it’s a dam lemon! So I called back and told them that I would be back in the morning to talk to the service manager. After a heated conversation I left the Jeep there and told them I will not be paying for a Jeep that can’t stay on the road and left the dam thing at the dealership! They called me that afternoon and said they were going to get it fixed and it would drive like brand new! Well it was already brand new and it drives like a dam drunken 90 year old that has old timers! So they didn’t call me for a few days and then the phone rang! It was the manager do the dealership. He stated that they couldn’t find a fix and that it was probably just a bad gladiator! I said hell ya it’s a bad gladiator. Then he tells me well you need to call Chrysler and start a claim! We are on your side and need to get this bought back. Even though I just bought the Jeep from his dealership 4 weeks ago! Anyways the Jeep is still there and Chrysler has not called me as of today! So I don’t know what they are going to do, so I will hurry up and wait! Counsel is my next step if they don’t so the right thing! Anyways do not buy a gladiator, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike

    My 2020 Jeep dash started to have warning lights on. When I shut my truck and tried to turn it on it would not start. Repair shop stated computer problem. They replaced computer and still had issues. They then replaced all the sensors and still issue. They then decided to change engine and still has a problem. No one at dealership is giving me answers and corporate is letting it drag. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has a little over 12k miles. Has been 10 weeks to this date. Still no vehicle.

  • Brian

    Just had my 2020 Jeep Gladiator replaced by the Dealer. The steering is all over the place, my Uconnect system won’t install the updates so it had to be replaced, They over filled the engine with oil on it’s first service so it had to be drained, my oil pump needed to be replaced ( Back order for 4 weeks so I couldn’t drive it), the A/C systems seals dried out and leaked refigerant, the blue tooth speaker stopped working and had to be replaced, The alignment was off when I left the dealership so that had to be done and the speaker system is having problems with the Amp so it sometimes sounds like all the speakers are blown. It also makes a terrible noise when it’s put into reverse. Total Lemon!! but i live in Canada and we dont have a lemon law.

  • Damon

    The steering is all over the place, I drove a Gladiator for a few miles, Drove fine. Just pickup up a new Jeep Gladiator for my Girl friend it was a rainy day. She said it was hard to drive, I told her it was just stiff.
    That next morning I drove her Jeep, Your lucky to keep it in the same lane.. WOW, I afraid I going to get pulled over. This jeep is a constance struggle to keep it in the lane… These Jeeps should never leave the lot with out repairing this major Problem….. 112 Miles

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