2021 Jeep Compass Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, airbag, and steering issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Jeep is known for making capable, sporty SUVs, so how does the 2021 Jeep Compass stack up? According to the manufacturer, the 2021 continues to deliver the “legendary off-road capability” Jeep is famous for. But owners with SUVs that suddenly shut down for no reason have lost confidence in the vehicle wherever they drive. Most complaints link this issue to an error message that states the coolant temperature is high.  

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

The most common problem owners of the 2021 Jeep Compass are reporting relates to vehicles suddenly shutting down. Most owners regard this as an electrical system issue. But various other components and systems also feature in complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They include the engine, powertrain, steering, forward collision avoidance, fuel/propulsion system, airbags, exterior lighting, land departure, brakes, and vehicle speed control. Of these, airbags and steering problems are significant. There are also several complaints about a lack of fuel economy from owners who bought the vehicle because the automaker advertised its superior fuel economy.

Additionally, there are several unrelated complaints filed as unknown or other problems. These range from a 2021 Compass constantly blowing hot air to another that suddenly burst into flames.

Of course, as always, many complaints are regarded by owners as being due to problems that are caused by two or more components.

2021 Jeep Compass Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
17
Electrical System
11
Engine
5
Power Train
4
Fuel/propulsion System
3
Steering
3
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
2
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
2
Service Brakes
2
Air Bags
1

Problems with Vehicles that Shut Off

Typically, just before the 2021 Jeep Compass shuts down, drivers get a message, “Coolant Temperature High. Shutting Down.” But some don’t get any kind of warning.

Vehicles That Shut Off After High Coolant Temperature Warning

An owner from New Jersey states that his Jeep Compass “has turned off on me a couple of times as I have been driving.” It has happened while driving at speed on the highway as well as in the parking garage at his place of employment. Each time, the brake coolant message displayed before the SUV stopped running and immediately locked. Each time, he had to restart the Compass to continue driving. “My safety and others were put at risk as it could have caused a major accident on the parkway that I take to and from work.” But, the dealership maintains “nothing is wrong with my vehicle.”

An owner from Florida tells a similar story after having the Jeep shut down “on multiple occasions” after getting the coolant temperature high error message. “So far I have been able to turn it off and it comes back on. I have taken it to our local Jeep dealer and they basically said there is nothing they can do. The safety issue is that it has just stopped while I am in motion in the middle of traffic risking a collision from the sudden stop. The dealer had it for 3 days and was unable to recreate the problem or find any issues.”

After shutting down three times, an owner from South Carolina complained to the NHTSA saying, “It almost caused me to wreck all 3 times.” The complaint states that the coolant was at a normal temperature every time and twice, he was “able to turn right back on and continue driving.” But on one occasion, “I had to sit and let the car cool down for 30 minutes before it would turn back on (it was the middle of summer).”

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Some Vehicles Shut off Without Warning

An owner from Puerto Rico states that the vehicle turns off completely when it’s in fuel economy mode. “I have to change the transmission to park to turn it back on. This happens when I stop at a light, at a stop, or just stop to wait for someone to cross the street. Both the dealer and the manufacturer are aware and have not been able to find the reason why this is happening to the vehicle.” The complaint, lodged with the NHTSA in May 2023, goes on to say, “This situation has been occurring since 2021.”

Another owner, who states that the Jeep “has the automatic shutoff for the engine when idling too long” couldn’t restart the engine when the SUV shut off. Furthermore, the parking brake wouldn’t disengage and the vehicle had to be towed.

An owner from Illinois states describes how the vehicle shut off suddenly at a four-way intersection without any warning. “The indicators on my dashboard panel were blinking on and off. It also said my car was on but it was not.” While the driver got the SUV into neutral, the emergency brake wouldn’t release. After 20-30 minutes stuck in the middle of the road in an industrial area, it started.

Airbag Problems

According to an owner from Pennsylvania, when the SUV was t-boned, “my airbags didn’t deploy and I smashed my head on the window.”

An owner from Arizona was driving at about 40 mph in the rain when the Compass “spun out of control and crashed into a side barrier.” The airbags failed to deploy and a police report was filed. The owner related the crash to balding tires since the tires had been rotated a month before the crash. The manufacturer claimed that the failure was “related to the parking brake being engaged.”

Steering Problems

Reported steering problems are unrelated, but nonetheless serious.

An owner from Washington reports that “the steering wheel sometimes pulls strongly to the left or the right, making it more difficult to control the direction of the vehicle. This is particularly problematic when on a freeway with narrow lanes and lots of traffic. Sometimes it simply pulls left or right for a brief moment. Other times, such as when going around a tight curve at a high speed, it pulls strongly for a protracted time.” While it is an intermittent problem, the complaint states that typically it happens “a few times an hour.”

Strangely, an owner from Georgia who experienced the Compass turning off independently, was told by the dealer that the steering module had failed and needed to be replaced.

Unexplained Problems

One of the most alarming complaints is listed as an unknown or other problem. While decelerating, an owner rear-ended a car and the Compass “went up in flames then blew up. We are not sure why this happened or what failed for this to happen. Had I not gotten out to check on the other vehicle I could have been seriously injured or worse.”

An owner from Tennessee states that the Compass was “constantly blowing hot air during hot summer days.” The main problem is that the air conditioner doesn’t work when the hot air blows and it starts to fog up the front door windows, affecting visibility.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

If you think you have a lemon, Lemberg Law will assess your problems free of charge. The law makes Jeep pay lemon law legal fees, so you may be able to get your lemon out of your life. After all, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form, and we’ll see how we can help 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
4 COMMENTS
  • Tarvo M

    Translation: A nightmare new jeep compass 2021 driven 25000 km oil leak from crankcase, oil leak between shaft seal. Start stop does not work. The stabilizer bar rattles, the gearbox does not work normally.

    Original: Õuduste unenägu uus jeep compass 2021 sõitnud 25000 km õlileke karterist, õlilekeveovõlli tihendi vahelt. Start stop ei tööta. Stabilisaatori varras kolksub, käigukast ei tööta normaalset.

  • Bengt H

    Kjøpt demo Compass S 2021 modell. 22′ km. Bilen lever sitt eget liv om natten. Parklysene kommer på el motoren summer og speilene kommer ut. Noen som har opplevd lignende.

    Translation: Purchased demo Compass S 2021 model. 22′ km. The car lives its own life at night. The parking lights come on, the engine buzzes and the mirrors come out. Anybody who has experienced similar?

  • Grace V

    I purchased 2021 jeep compass 12 miles on when purchased its 2022 check engine light is on warranty 60000 a course i have 64000 it never fails. It’s getting harder to start I have the oil change religiously a censor went out a month ago What next, I’m single I thought I had a good car so many problems.

  • samantha

    my compass started to leak oil early on. it has stalled on me once when turning. it has a 60000 mile powertrain warranty. i have it scheduled for the dealership at 9 am monday. i get nervous about this bc i didnt buy it at this dealership and i have struggled with dealerships not wanting to work on a vehicle and then making it out that it is my fault. i really wish i could get out of this compass. i need something dependable as i drive often.

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