2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler JL facing recall over frame weld separations

Steering response might diminish or disappear entirely. It's a big deal.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read
2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
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2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

It's unclear exactly what can trigger the track bar's separation, but vigorous activities like off-roading certainly won't help.

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When a part is welded to a vehicle's frame, it's reasonably expected that said part will remain welded to that vehicle. But when it doesn't, as is the case with certain Wranglers, it's time for a recall.

Fiat is set to issue a voluntary recall for an unspecified number of 2018-2019 JL SUVs. Since many of these vehicles remain on dealership lots, the automaker has issued a stop-sale for affected vehicles still in dealer possession, according to documents posted to the JL Wrangler Forum. These vehicles cannot be sold or delivered until the recall work is completed. A spokesman for Fiat Chrysler confirmed the forthcoming recall, that the number of affected vehicles is "not big" and that no accidents or injuries have been linked to the problem so far.

The issue stems from a part welded to the vehicle's frame. Evidently, some of the recalled Wranglers might have been constructed with an improper weld connecting the front track bar to the frame, which in certain situations could cause the track bar to separate from the frame. If that happens, the vehicle might suffer from diminished (or no) steering response, which greatly increases the risk of an accident. The track bar, sometimes referred to as the Panhard rod, is a rigid bar that connects the vehicle's axle to its frame, preventing unwanted lateral movement of the axle.

At the moment, it is unclear how Jeep plans to remedy the issue. According to Jalopnik, which contacted several owners who reported track-bar issues, at least one owner is in the process of having his vehicle replaced. Whether Fiat Chrysler will attempt to repair some of the affected vehicles, or replace them all entirely, has yet to be confirmed. There's precedence for outright replacement -- after recalling 293 examples of its SUV for missing B-pillar welds, Subaru offered full replacements for all affected vehicles.

Affected owners will receive notifications via first-class mail. At least some dealerships have already received FCA's recall notice, according to Jalopnik, which was posted to the JL Wrangler Forum earlier on Friday. That notice says that the recall should begin in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is modernized yet still rugged

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