Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has announced a safety recall on certain 2018 – 2020 Model Year (JL) Jeep® Wrangler and 2020 (JT) Jeep® Gladiator vehicles equipped with a manual transmission. The clutch pressure plate may overheat and fracture. Approximately, 33,237 vehicles are affected by the recall.
According to FCA, in some circumstances, the clutch pressure plate may become overheated through friction, which may lead the pressure plate to fracture. A fractured pressure plate may crack or fracture the transmission case, allowing heated debris to contact ignition sources on the vehicle, potentially leading to a vehicle fire. A fractured pressure plate may also lead to a loss of propulsion, or generation of road debris.
If the heated clutch components ignite a fuel source, a vehicle fire can result, which increases the risk of occupant injury and injury to persons outside the vehicle, as well as property damage. Also, a cracked or fractured transmission case can generate road debris and/or result in loss of propulsion, which can cause a vehicle crash without prior warning. In some circumstances, the operator may smell a burnt clutch odor, or have excessive or abnormal clutch pedal travel prior to the failure.
• On November 27, 2019, the FCA US LLC (“FCA US”) Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance (“VSRC”)
the organization opened an investigation as a result of customer inputs for fire incidents on 2018-2020 MY Jeep
Wrangler and the 2020 MY Jeep Gladiator vehicles.
• On December 10, 2019, FCA US VSRC investigators and FCA US Powertrain engineers traveled to the FCA US Toledo assembly plant to study the transmission and clutch assembly process.
• On December 17, 2019, FCA US VSRC conducted a scene examination of a vehicle fire that appeared to be
related to the transmission.
• On January 22, 2020, FCA US VSRC reviewed a warranty returned transmission and clutch with catastrophic
• On February 5, 2020, FCA US VSRC Materials Engineering Lab completed an analysis of the transmission
components and determined the clutch pressure plate reached 1100-degrees Celsius demonstrating the
pressure plate is a competent ignition source. The supplier duplicated the failed pressure plate demonstrating
the pressure plate was not a fire effect.
• In early February 2020, FCA US VSRC conducted packaging studies and reviewed supplier records to
understand the history of the transmission and clutch failures.
• On February 10, 2020, the clutch supplier conducted testing to reproduce pressure plate failure due to
exposure to high heat.
• As of February 20, 2020, FCA US is aware of 13 CAIRS and 13 field reports related to this issue.
• As of February 20, 2020, FCA US is aware of 35 warranty claims related to this issue.
• As of February 20, 2020, FCA US is aware of one minor injury related to this issue.
• On February 25, 2020, FCA US determined, through the Vehicle Regulations Committee, to conduct a
voluntary safety recall of the affected vehicles.
The remedy for this recall is still under development. The recall is expected to begin April 22, 2020. Owners may contact FCA customer service at 1-800-853-1403. FCA’s number for this recall is W12. FCA has a longstanding policy and practice of reimbursing owners who have incurred the cost of repairing a problem that subsequently becomes the subject of a field action. To ensure consistency, FCA, as part of the owner letter, will request that customers send the original receipt and/or other adequate proof of payment to the company for confirmation of the expense.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.