Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) new generation Jeep Wrangler JL has a problem. Certain Wrangler JLs have defective frame welds that can result in the popular SUV’s track bar separating from the frame, causing immediate steering problems and potential crashes, Japolnik reported.
It is not yet clear which model Wrangler JLs or how many vehicles are affected by the recall, because to date FCA has not made a public statement. We’ll cycle back to update this article with more specifics as news develops.
In an update on the JL Wrangler’s forum on Friday, October 5, 2018, a member with the profile name “Lablue” wrote, “FCA has started the recall UA5 for the track bar weld issue. This affects about 18,000 JL Wranglers. The issue exists on about 4 percent of the recalled vehicles, says FCA. Some of the defective JL’s haven’t been sold yet, FCA ordered dealers to halt sales of the recalled Wranglers until vehicles are inspected and repaired, if needed.”
Lablue also posted what he claims is an FCA Safety Recall Advanced Communication about a 2018 through 2019 JL Jeep Wrangler safety recall and stop-sale order for vehicles included in the recall.
Under the Reason for This Safety Recall subhead, the official-looking document states: “Some of the above vehicles may have been built with a front track bar bracket weld located off the seam potentially resulting in the bracket separating from the frame. The separation of the front track bar bracket from the frame may cause a reduction in the steering response, which can cause a vehicle crash without prior warning.”
Japolnik reported that an FCA spokesperson confirmed “recall notices are pending” regarding track bar bracket weld failures.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not issued a recall for the 2018 Wrangler JL regarding frame welds. However, searching the NHTSA site for complaints about the 2018 Wrangler JL finds 133 complaints about steering and 13 complaints about structure.
If you have 2018 Wrangler JL you can check whether your vehicle is part of the recall at the Mopar Recalls Search site. You will need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to determine if your Jeep is affected. Because this situation is still developing, even if you check today and you do not see a recall for your VIN, it would be a good idea to check again in a few days after FCA issues an expected public statement.