Jeep Wranglers’ clutch pressure plate (model years 2018-2021) and Jeep Gladiators (model years 2020-2021) have gotten hot enough to overheat, fracture and cause fires in both models. This has led to recall involving 47,200 vehicles equipped with manual transmissions. No one has died or been injured due to the issue, but engineers are reviewing warranty claims, accident reports and other field data.
This February of 2021 recall is the second recall to address this issue in less than a year. The initial recall in March of 2020 determined that the plate reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If it warps and breaks, it can cause holes or cracks or break the transmission case. It impacts the vehicle’s ability to move and could leave fragments on the road, causing a hazard to other vehicles. The extremely hot pieces of the clutch plate could contact flammable material, causing a fire. The initial report also noted that the driver might notice the smell of something burning and detect changes to the clutch pedal’s movement.
Jeep owner STELLANTIS, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, authorized a second recall after a clutch plate caught fire. The manufacturer claims that there are no defective clutch parts and plan to resolve the issue by reducing engine torque by using new software.
No evidence yet of resolution
The manufacturer claims that the new software will fix the issue, but owners may need to file a Lemon law claim if this is not the case — there are already instances of buybacks occurring. Damage to the drivetrain is both dangerous and expensive, so owners of new Wranglers or Gladiators may need the help of a Lemon law attorney, mainly if there is evidence that the fix does not work.