2019-2020 Jeep Compass Engine Problems

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding problems with the engines of 2019-2020 Jeep Compass vehicles. Vehicle owners are reporting that the engine shuts down immediately after they get a dashboard message stating that the temperature of the coolant is too high. Many complaints state that the issue creates a serious safety hazard that can easily cause accidents.

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Is There a Problem with the 2019-2020 Jeep Compass Engine?

Several serious problems affect the engine of the 2019 and 2020 Jeep Compass engines. Many of these are highlighted in complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as major safety issues.

A total of 94 complaints have been lodged with the NHTSA about the 2019-2020 Jeep Compass engine. Of these, 68 relate to the 2019 model and 26 to the 2020 model.

Problems are varied, ranging from intermittent starting issues to an engine catching on fire. But the most serious problem that consistently recurs is engines that go into limp mode and lose motive power because of an electrical malfunction. In essence, it appears that the malfunction makes the car’s computer respond to a false signal that the engine is overheating.

NHTSA Investigation Opened

The NHTSA is particularly concerned about the high coolant shutdown problem. On December 2, 2022, its Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation into the issue after receiving 15 Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQ) for the 2019-2020 model year. They estimate that as many as 228,971 vehicles may be affected by the problem.

Since the investigation was opened, there have been at least 4 more complaints to the NHTSA.

According to the ODI document, vehicles experience a dashboard message that either says, “High coolant Temperature,” or “Coolant Temperature Too High.” This is followed by an immediate engine shutdown. The document states that in most cases the messages are either “spontaneously self-corrected” or “temporarily corrected after the vehicle was stopped and restarted.” It also mentions one NHTSA complaint that alleges “no immediate restart and the vehicle was towed.”

This complaint, filed with the NHTSA on December 18, 2022, states that his 2020 model began indicating a “high coolant temperature,” after which the engine would shut down. It would sometimes restart after shut-off. When it happened, the radio would also fade in and out. “This happened on several occasions before the vehicle completely shut down.” The Compass had to be towed to the dealership, and the owner was presented with a repair bill of $700 to replace both batteries.

What Engine Problems are 2019-2020 Jeep Compass Owners Experiencing?

Owners report that an alert flashes on the dashboard warning of coolant in the engine overheating. Immediately after this, the engine of the Compass shuts down.

There have been multiple complaints to the NHTSA about this engine issue. It is also an ongoing topic of discussion in the My Jeep Compass forum. The owner of a 2019 Jeep Compass started a discussion on August 25, 2020. Many 2019 and 2020 owners say they have had exactly the same problem, stating that Jeep knows about the problem, but dealerships don’t know how to fix it.

In October 2021, the owner of a 2018 Jeep Compass joined the conversation, stating that he was experiencing “Coolant Temperature High. Shutting Down” messages. This indicates that the problem may only occur after vehicles have been on the road for years. He asks, “Has anyone found a fix? Since my warranty has expired, I’m cautious to put a bunch of time and money into fixing the problem. Like I said, I’ve loved my Compass, but if this is a persistent and unresolvable issue, I may have to part ways with it.”

The most recent comment on the forum is from a Compass owner who says he had the same issue on December 14, 2022, while traveling “at highway speed in the fast lane.” He asks, “Is Jeep going to take this issue seriously or wait until I die and my next of kin goes after you?”

Samples of the NHTSA Complaints About the 2019 Model

Complaints to the NHTSA by owners of the Jeep Compass echo comments made in the Jeep Compass forum. “No dealer has been about to fix” the problem, an owner from California states. He says that “hundreds of others” have had this issue with zero help from Jeep.

He states that his “engine stalled 4 times already this month after a quick error message ‘coolant temperature too high’ was displayed and immediately disappeared.” But this was enough time “for the engine to stop completely.” Afraid that someone “will get killed,” he contacted Jeep, but said they were “no help even though they are aware of this issue.” Even though the dealer could not recreate the problem, he “paid a fortune” for the consultation. “I can’t keep driving like this,(so) I called my old mechanic and he said that only a dealer can do a software update since it seems it is a glitch.” The dealer updated the software, but it hasn’t helped. “Somebody needs to take this seriously before it is too late.”

Another owner states that the problem occurs sporadically, with the engine stopping while driving on the road. He gets the alert, “High Coolant Temperature” while the coolant levels in the reservoir are normal. It “has occurred 12-15 times since ownership,” he says.

An owner who has taken his 2019 Compass to an authorized Jeep service station (Kelly Jeep) “many times without resolution,” says his “2019 Jeep Compass shuts down either while driving or stopped. The message that appears is ‘Coolant Temperature Too High’, which is a severe safety issue, especially when it happens while idling at traffic lights. He adds that he has also had a ‘Throttle Engine Service Disabled’ message.

Samples of the NHTSA Complaints About the 2020 Model

Owners of the 2020 model have also experienced the coolant-engine issue multiple times.

An owner from Arizona whose 2020 Compass has 44,000 miles on the clock says his car wouldn’t start and had “an ECM (engine control module) error code along with ‘engine coolant temperature too hot’. The vehicle fluids levels are perfect, but it just will not start. I called the dealership and was advised they’ve seen lots of these issues but have no clue how to fix the problem. The car will automatically shut down if being driven and this occurs. We read other blogs on this issue and it is truly a hazard.”

An owner from Michigan stopped at a red light and was warned that the coolant was overheating. The Jeep wouldn’t move. He powered it down and then back up until the engine “was revving aggressively.” When he turned it on a few minutes later and “it was fine like nothing happened. At no point was the vehicle actually overheating.”

A complaint from an owner in Colorado states that the vehicle flashed the “Coolant Temperature Too High” frequently, whether the operating temperature was hot or cold. It was in and out of Jeep dealerships multiple times.

“On one occasion the auxiliary battery was replaced and that seemed to have solved the issue for a few months. But the same coolant temperature message and associated issues returned.” On another occasion, it “operated normally for four days” until the usual issues recurred. “I have filed a complaint with Fiat Chrysler. The dealerships have no solution to this issue which in my opinion is a safety hazard, due to the fact the vehicle wants to turn off while traveling at highway speeds.”

What Should You Do if Your Compass is Experiencing Engine Problems?

If your 2019-2020 Jeep Compass has engine problems that involve high coolant warnings followed by engine shutdown, consider contacting Lemberg Law.

All you need to do is call us at 844-928-4443 or complete our online contact form. We will evaluate your case and see if you qualify. It won’t cost you anything because the law says that the manufacturer, in this case, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), must pay the legal bills for lemon law cases.

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
  • Alicia C

    I’ve been dealing with the same thing in my 2018 compass. I almost died last week when it stalled while going through a busy intersection. It happened again today on my way home from work. I don’t know what to do.

  • Nicole s

    I have a 2020 jeep compass. I arrived home no problem then about 4 hours later needed to go to store. I went to start my car and it said high coolant temp and wouldn’t start. It also said my backup light was out, both blinkers were out. And my brake lights were out. Mind you none of the lights were out. It also threw up an esc code. This is very dangerous to drive since it will shut the car off mid drive if it throws codes while driving.

  • Roseanne m

    I have a Jeep compass 2020.
    There’s only 8k miles.
    While driving on a very busy road it totally
    Shut off, in the middle of a 6 lane very busy
    Road. I had to find a very good person help me push off road. Then towed to a mechanic shop 100 miles from my home. They still can’t figure out what’s wrong with it. I’m stuck with a car payment and will cost me another 500 to tow to dealership.
    Total so far 1k without repairs!

  • Andrea W

    Its the 2018 models as well. Today our car would not even restart. Jeep charges an arm and a leg just for a diagnostic.

  • Joe M

    Dash shows high coolant temperature and shuts down during normal driving. I had the auxiliary battery replaced and it did it again in less than 7 days This is an ongoing problem and the Jeep dealership near me can not rectify the problem. I worry constantly about it

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