Newer Jeep Wranglers and Gladiator pickup trucks equipped with a manual transmission have a wonky clutch plate that necessitated a recall, the NHTSA announced Monday.
In paperwork filed by Jeep, the affected vehicles are said to have a clutch pressure plate that can overheat and crack. This could cause holes or cracks in the transmission case, and allow "heated debris" to be expelled. Coming into contact with other combustible materials could cause a fire, and the spewing of heated debris onto the road could be a hazard to other drivers.
Owners of the affected vehicles might smell burning metal. Parent company Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) claims one crash and zero injuries related to the issue, which will be remedied by a software update that will reduce engine torque when the clutch assembly temperatures increase to such a degree as to damage the pressure plate. At least two fires occurred that were attributed to the issue, based on field reports. Dealers have been ordered to halt sales of new Wrangler and Gladiator models with manual transmissions.
The recall encompasses every model made with a manual transmission since the redesigned JL model launched for the 2018 model year, as well as every manual Jeep Gladiator since it launched for 2020. In total, Jeep will recall 42,887 models of the 2018-2021 Jeep Wrangler and 2020-2021 Jeep Gladiator.
Owners will start to be notified by March 19, and the software update compliance will be fixed free of charge. Customers who paid to repair the problem will be reimbursed upon proof of receipt. Owners can check the status of their vehicle by calling FCA's customer service line at 1-800-853-1403 or visit their recall site; the recall number is Y01. They could also call the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov.