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

Suspension, steering, suspension and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

There aren’t any other SUVs quite like the 2020 Jeep Wrangler. Even FCA claims that it is “never duplicated,” but it might be that other manufacturers simply don’t want to recreate all of the problems. It turns out that this iconic SUV suffers from a faulty electrical system, a defective powertrain and malfunctioning steering systems.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Jeep Wrangler

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

Problems with the Electrical System

The new Wrangler models are meant to head off-road, but that doesn’t change the fact that owners want the latest electrical and technological equipment as well. However, this SUV simply isn’t equipped to handle the demands of modern innovations.

Just look at this NHTSA complaint. “While driving on a highway, and also on local roads, a Service Shifter Error message comes up on the dash display. Right after that, numerous error lights come on, indicating numerous failures along with a Check Engine Light. In addition, the steering locks up making it extremely difficult to steer the vehicle. Makes it very difficult to steer the vehicle when this happens. And, it has happened several times. There are videos online that show this failure on other new Jeep Wranglers.”

It turns out this is only one electrical-related problem plaguing the Wrangler. There is also a massive recall affecting more than 300,000 models. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V191000 states that there is a lingering rear view image that can become distracting to drivers, increasing the chance of an accident. Maybe Jeep thought if it couldn’t get the back-up camera to work properly, it would just create its own images to show.

Transmission Problems

If a vehicle is going to be capable off-road, it must have a strong powertrain, but that’s not the case with the Wrangler.

In fact, here is one Edmunds review that specifically addresses how many times their SUV was in the shop because of the powertrain. “We purchased our new 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited in January 2020.  Since then, it’s been in the shop three times with some sort of serpentine issue.  Each time, the dealer (tried two) has had the car in the shop for a week at a time and each time replaced the tensioner and given it back with the same issue (sometimes slightly improved and sometimes worse).  The techs hear the issue but can’t resolve it. It is currently at the dealer again trying to figure out what is wrong.”

It should be no surprise that there is also a recall related to the powertrain. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V124000 states that more than 30,000 vehicles might have a clutch pressure plate that can overheat. If this occurs, it could also fracture or catch on fire. It’s unlikely that many off-road enthusiasts want to deal with a fire while traveling through the forest on an adventure. It’s no wonder that other automakers don’t want to “duplicate” the design.

Problems with the Steering and Suspension

Probably the largest amount of complaints regarding the Wrangler has to do with either the steering or suspension system, which seems to be related.

Here is another NHTSA review. “My new 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport has excessive steering wheel play resulting in an inability to maintain a straight line at speed on the interstates. Unlike my previous 2018 Wrangler Sahara, or current 2020 Grand Cherokees, which permit total steering control, the Sport moves from side-to-side, i.e., ‘floats,’ in the drafts of tractor trailers as they pass, or in crosswinds, or on bumpy roads. Can’t maintain a straight line in the lane, only able to recover as the vehicle drifts from center. The dealership’s service department says it’s not fixable; Chrysler’s customer concern dept says it’s a ‘factory built wheel assembly and can’t be adjusted.’ As I’ve driven all models of Jeeps for some 30 years, I’m quite disappointed inasmuch as it’s a serious safety issue not being able to fully control the front end at speeds on the highway.”

It turns out; there is another recall about the suspension that could affect the handling. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V042000 states that there was an improper weld to the lower control arm on some SUVs. Because of this defect, the lower control arm could separate from the axle and cause an accident. While enthusiasts claim that some of the handling issues are because this is an SUV meant for off-roading, these malfunctions cannot be accepted. Maybe Jeep should consider recreating the Wrangler without “duplicating” the existing design. It’s time to start over with a clean slate.

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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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  • Beckey

    Was in love with our new 2020 Ecodiesel Jeep Rubicon. Steering was a little wonky, but wasn’t overly concerned. Had it for less than 2 weeks and decided to take it on a Fall road trip. Bad decision. Engine started “jumping” and “heaving” while in cruise control on the highway at 65 mph; then woudn’t accelerate at all. Was able to pull off into a gas station thank God, but electronic throttle control error code + service engine light popped and then it woudn’t even stay started. Engine just keep jumping then automatically would shut itself off. Our whole family stranded almost 3 hours away from home in not the safest of areas. Lemme tell yah, it was Fun fun. Under 500 miles and it’s been sitting at an out of state dealership for almost a week now and they still have absolutely no idea how to fix it. Was told that it lit up with so many error codes they have to get a special engineer from MOPAR to come out… Just in shock that we’re having this issue with a $65K vehicle.

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