NHTSA investigating welds, steering in 2018 and 2019 Jeep Wranglers


News / Saturday, September 21st, 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into thousands of Jeep Wranglers made during the model years 2018 and 2019. The agency wants to determine whether early examples of the current JL generation off-roader suffer from poor frame welds and whether the problem can cause dangerous steering problems. cause.

The Office of Defects Investigation began investigating the issue in October 2018 after a Wrangler owner complained about a frame that had not been properly welded at the factory. Some welds were porous, some were dripped and others were splashed. The unsatisfied owner found a long list of defects at different locations on the Wrangler frame.

Before he decided to start an investigation, the ODI Jeep asked for more information about welding-related problems and about steering problems (sometimes described as a shaky death), some early JL owners reported. They eventually led to a lawsuit. NHTSA has not yet released its findings, but it has found sufficient evidence to indicate framework problems to justify an investigation.

While FCA adheres to the investigation, the documents it shared with NHTSA could not determine whether the failed welds endangered the structural integrity of the Wrangler. That is one of the most important questions that the probe wants to find an answer to. Researchers also want to determine whether the various control problems are related to welding issues.

NHTSA has not disclosed how long the investigation will take. Jeep must start an expensive recall if the probe determines that bad welds make the Wrangler structurally dangerous. From this writing the car manufacturer is not aware of injuries or deaths caused by the alleged bad welds.

If this sounds familiar, it is probably because Jeep has already recalled the fourth-generation Wrangler about frame-related problems. The safety bulletin that it published in October 2018 explained that, in some SUVs, a bracket may separate from the front part of the frame to which it is welded, and cause the driver to lose control. About 18,000 cars were repaired during that campaign.

Jeep has not linked the so-called death wobble to defective welds. Instead, it emphasized that the phenomenon is not a safety issue and that installing a new control valve solves the problem.