2021 Land Rover Defender Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Windshield cracking & exterior lighting issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Land Rover Defender has been around, on and off, for a very long time. Launched in 1990, it took the place of Land Rover’s original workhorse, the Land Rover Discovery. It was sold in the U.S. from 1993 to 1997. And, in 2016, the manufacturer stopped production of the Defender. It made its reappearance in 2020 with a total redesign.

Historically British in origin, Land Rover is owned by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Automotive PLC. Recognized as the UK’s largest multinational automobile producer, it is headquartered in Coventry. However, Jaguar Land Rover Limited is confusingly a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors and has been since 2008.

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

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Land Rover Defender

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Exterior Lighting

According to Automotive News Europe, Land Rover hasn’t been able to meet the nearly 100,000 orders for the 2021 Land Rover Defender. In an article published on 29 June 2021, they report that this problem is further compounded by the lack of availability globally of semiconductors. The result is a complete shutdown of the production plant in Nitra, Slovakia.

In a 1 November 2021 article, the publication says the JLR order book stands at 128,000. The article also says that JLR reports a loss of $413 million because of “chip supply constraints.”

But, there are 2021 Land Rover Defenders out there and complaints to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) aren’t going unnoticed.

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Land Rover Defender

There are a total of 6 complaints about the 2021 Land Rover Defender L663 90 and longer L663 110. The most common problem is a windshield issue, mentioned a total of 5 times in 3 categories. These are Structure, Visibility, Visibility/Wiper, and Unknown or Other. The other issue relates to exterior lighting.

Additionally, there have been 5 recalls. Of these, 2 relate to the electrical system and powertrain, and to exterior lighting. The other 3 relate to seats, child seats, child restraint equipment, and seatbelts in general.

2021 Land Rover Defender Windshield Problems

There are several issues relating to windshields that are mentioned in NHTSA complaints.

Windshield Cracking

The most common windshield problems relate to windshields cracking, which leads to safety issues. But NHTSA complaints claim that JLR denies there is a design fault and refuses to issue a recall.

A major concern here is that some owners may think a cracked windshield is simply bad luck, not realizing there is an issue. But some complaints say that cracks develop spontaneously without any external impact. And car owners reportedly have had windshields crack more than once in the same car.

One complaint tells of 3 cracked windshields in a car with only 15,000 miles on the clock. This Florida-based Land Rover Defender owner also shares information from forums where people are complaining they have had to replace 4 or 5 windshields.

“Land Rover knows these are defective and won’t admit/recall, just passing this (cost) off to customers.”

Another complaint says, “JLR fails even to acknowledge any issues and denies any design fault or responsibility.”

A third complaint mentions that the windshield cracking at about 1,500 miles, caused electrical issues. The dealer didn’t repair the windshield and told the owner Land Rover was “unable to assist.”

Weather Stripping Not Secure

A different type of windshield complaint states that the passenger A-pillar isn’t tight enough to prevent air from passing under the windshield’s weather stripping. This causes air turbulence and a flapping noise on the windshield when driving at highway speeds.

2021 Land Rover Exterior Lighting Problems

A recall issued in June 2021 was prompted by turn signals, brake lights, and tail lights failing to illuminate. But this only applies to a maximum of 2,622 2020-2022 Defender vehicles that have smoked rear light assemblies.

What Land Rover says happens is a voltage spike that is triggered by a bright light shining on the back of the SUV. Because the Land Rover lights don’t illuminate, it can reduce other drivers’ visibility and increase the risk of a crash.

The complaint to the NHTSA, made in July 2021, describes the same scenario but with 2 x 2021 Defender 110 SE models that don’t have smoked tail lights. Because of this, the complainant’s car doesn’t qualify for the recall that replaces rear light assemblies at no charge.

What to do if your 2021 Land Rover is a Lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If the defect you identify makes a substantial impact on the value, safety, and/or use you can make of your Land Rover Defender, you may have bought a lemon. If so, you need a lemon lawyer to help you fight for your rights.

We have helped many clients get replacement vehicles, buy-back deals, refunds of towing or rental fees, and even cash settlements when they found they had bought a lemon. Contact us and we’ll evaluate the impact of your problems and advise what we can do to help you.

It won’t cost you anything to fight Land Rover because the law makes the manufacturer pay. Call our Helpline today.

Complaint Data

DateFeb 22, 2023
Bought a used 2021 defender with 5k miles and at 12k miles my windshield while driving makes a huge popping sound and I look to see that it cracked right down the middle, startling me while driving at night. There was absolutely nothing that hit the windshield. It was a clear night driving with no other drivers on the road nor anything above me that could have fallen out of the sky. Land rover wouldn't take responsibility had to pay 2k out of pocket to fix this at 12k miles only having the car 2 months.
DateFeb 06, 2023
6" hairline crack in windshield, no impact detected.. Just appeared one morning.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateDec 17, 2022
Windshield has hairline and becomes 2 differnt hairlines after a small peeble hit it now on my 3rd windshield it happened again another hailine crack that keeps growing land rover does not want to be responsible
DateAug 29, 2022
The windshield spontaneously cracked from the middle of the pillar on the driver's side to the center of the windshield. No rock strikes.
DateAug 09, 2022
2 complete windshield replacements needed since taking delivery june 2021. This incident was a small chip from a rock on the road that then spread across bottom half of drivers side windshield. These incidents are not isolated, seems other owners are reporting the same thing on this vehicle.
DateJun 27, 2022
Windshield crack from no none source, appears to be pressure related. Happened at highway speed. Reading defender forums this has happened to many customers, some 2-3 times
DateJun 23, 2022
Windshield cracked for no reason. Ie no chip caused by rock, etc. Happened while I was driving with no traffic.
DateMar 20, 2022
Shortly after buying the car a small people hit the windshield while driving on the highway and broke the windshield right in the eyesight of the driver side. It was a little larger than a quarter in size and took 3 months for replacement due to back order. 2 weeks after the replacement the windshield spontaneously cracked while driving from the middle base of the windshield up and towards the passenger side about 20 inches long. Nothing hit the car, it just cracked. No heater or defrost was on. It took 6 months for replacement due to land rover ordering the wrong windshield and back orders. During this time the windshield got 3 more chips from pebbles/small rocks while driving. 2 weeks after this replacement a small rock hit the windshield on the driver side and chipped it about the size of a nickel. I am getting this filled tomorrow. This is clearly a defect with the windshield as I have had maybe 2 broken windshields in my life up to this point.
DateMar 07, 2022
12 inch crack developed overnight. No signs of rock hit or any other impact.
DateFeb 09, 2022
Component: windshield issue: under adverse temperature conditions ( e. G. High temp or low temp ) the windshield can develop a sudden crack, without any external impact. Conditions: above 95 deg f or below 30 deg f ; status: vehicle could be stationary, or in motion; hazard to occupants: yes; safety concern: yes, if the vehicle is in motion the size of the crack can develop very fast and create a catastrophic failure which may impact the occupants. Jlr - fails even to acknowledge any issues and denies any design fault or responsibility.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateNov 03, 2021
2 cracked windshields, car has only 15k miles- tons of defender owners on fb groups and forums same- some one 4th and 5th windshields- current wait to new ones from uk is 2-4 months. Land rover knows these are defective and won'y admit/recall, just passing this off to customer. A new windshield is 00 a pop- people getting hit paying high deductible, getting pulled over, poor visibility, some have cracks so large that they can not operate their vehicle. Currently, I am in wait, no eta for my 3rd new windshield- I have a large crack and 2 small chips from all separate incidents. Huge safety issue, bc cracks interfere with driver assist dates of cracks: car has only 15k miles 1. May 29, 2021 2. August 18, 2021 people on new defenders group on facebook have started survey for owners with the problem - and forums have tons of issues. Imagine all the owners who have only had one crack and just think it's bad luck and don't realize there's an issue?
DateOct 29, 2021
The contact owns a 2021 land rover defender. The contact stated that the windshield cracked without impact, causing electrical issues. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer where it was diagnosed but not repaired. The manufacturer was informed of the failure and told the contact that they were unable to assist. The failure mileage was approximately 1,500.
DateSep 30, 2021
The passenger a-pillar on the vehicle is not secure tight enough to the vehicle or the windshield allowing air to pass underneath the weather stripping that lies on the windshield. When driving at highway speeds this allows the air turbulence to create a flapping or tapping noise on the windshield caused by the weather strpping.
DateSep 20, 2021
Problem statement: windshield issue: the windshield developed a sudden crack while the vehicle was stationary, with no external impact or action conditions: stationary, outside temp: 97 deg impacting: visibility and safety features such as cameras, sensor, and lane departure assist
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateJul 12, 2021
We have two 2021 defender 110 se north american specification models and these do not have the smoked tail lights as are on another recall. When subjected to a bright light, the entire assembly of tail, brake and turn signals fails on one side of the vehicle. This is also repeatable on the rear lights on both left and right sides of both vehicles. Since the current recall only appears to cover those vehicles with smoked tail lights the recall needs to be extended to all models.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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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