2022 Land Rover Defender Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

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

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

The 2022 Land Rover Defender is hailed as an off-road champion. The automaker states it is “capable of great things,” but sadly, many customers are having trouble just getting the basics accomplished. Among the top complaints are a faulty electrical system, defective exterior lighting and poor visibility.

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Problems with the Electrical System

When it comes to having a functional electrical system, there are no excuses for sub-par equipment in a luxury Land Rover, such as the Defender.

Yet, this NHTSA complaint tells people to expect otherwise. “My vehicle had been at the Land Rover South Bay Service department from 11/3/21 to 11/10/21 because the suspension fault indicator had come on the prior week and the air suspension had temporarily failed. In addition, it occasionally does not start when I press the start button with my foot depressing the brake pedal and the key is in the car. It is a brand new vehicle with about 1,750 miles. On 11/11/21 I was driving the vehicle down a hill at approximately 40-45 MPH when the automatic emergency braking system self-activated for no reason. The vehicle came to a rapid, abrupt stop and the closest vehicle in front of us was at least 20 yards ahead. There were no obstacles in the road.”

The complaint goes on to say. “Luckily, there was no vehicle following me or we would have been rear-ended. There was a red hazard signal with a red exclamation mark that appeared on the display near the speedometer and an audible alarm sounded. I immediately brought the vehicle back to the Land Rover Service department and they did a ‘scan’. They informed me that they did not detect any faults or any history of a problem. I love this vehicle but I am now obviously concerned about driving it. I informed the dealership that if this happens again I will return the vehicle and request a refund.”

From the minor to major electrical systems, everything seems to be glitchy in a new Defender. Even Service Bulletin # SFCC_OCT2021_21 shows how the wireless phone charger doesn’t seem to work with the iPhone 12. Basically, this luxury SUV is “capable of great things” unless owners choose to use the best phone on the market. Then, they are simply out of luck.

Problems with the Exterior Lighting

Vehicle lighting is designed to provide the driver with plenty of visibility while helping other people on the road see the SUV. However, the Defender models have some severe issues with lighting.

Here’s an outline given through an NHTSA complaint. “1. Both rear taillights extinguish when a bright light if flashed at them. The taillights will not come back on until you power cycle the vehicle. I am able to replicate this issue with a handheld flashlight. 2. At night if my taillights are not visible, then this can be hazardous to the safety of others on the road and myself. 3. I have not had an authorized repair facility inspect the issue but have read that this is an issue with other Defender models and that a recall has been issued for the clear taillights that come on the Defender X trim 4. There is nothing to alert you of the issue. I saw people report this issue in a Defender forum and decided to try it on my personal vehicle. I was able to replicate the issue.”

It turns out that there is a recall on the Defender models because of the poor lighting. NHTSA Campaign Number 21V435000 says that the rear taillight assembly can fail because of a voltage spike. When the assembly fails, the turn signals, tail lights and brake lights can fail to work properly, leading to on-road danger. Owners can get “great things” out of this SUV, unless they want to drive at night.

Problems with Windshield Cracking

It seems that the visibility is just as good as the lighting, causing people to have trouble seeing what’s happening on the road ahead.

A final NHTSA complaint states, “My windshield broke in only owning this car 30 days. I hear from other people that this is [their] 3 time replacement. I think this is a design issue and should be looked into.”

While Land Rover is discussing some visibility issues, none of them have to do with breaking glass. Instead, Service Bulletin #SSM75429 references how the glass roof opening panel won’t work any longer. If owners were hoping to get some fresh air or sunlight for the drive, they might need to think twice. It’s simply not capable of actions such as this, no matter what Land Rover claims.

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 Land Rover 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.

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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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Chris L

    I bought a Defender 110 from Stratstone in Stockton U.K. After owening it for just under a year the windscreen has cracked from the bottom edge, I’ve contacted Stratstone via their chat line and I’ve been been told they don’t fit new windscreens and they don’t know who does and have totally ignored the fact that the screen has cracked without impact!!!!! “How about that for Land Rover after sales” also when I picked this vehicle up I was kept in the show room buy a young “so called salesman” for two and a half hours! After eventually being given the keys and driving part of the way home I opened the sun roof to find there’s a squeak on the opening device. I also ordered side steps which they said they’d ran out of but said I would be contacted when the steps came in, also before I left the garage I showed the so called sales person that one of the out plastic door panels was not fitted quite right but we agreed that when the side steps were getting fitted that they’d see to the door panel also.
    I’ve now had the vehicle almost fifteen months and I’m still waiting to be contacted!!!! Wished I’d never parted with my twenty two year old Landcruiser. Thanks Jaguar Land Rover.

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