US Safety Watchdog Probes Power Loss in 94,000 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Vehicles

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The diligent hand of the U.S. government’s auto safety watchdog, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has been drawn to an eyebrow-raising concern revolving around the loss of automotive power in a staggering number of Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles, specifically more than 94,000 of them. This heightened focus follows a flurry of complaints about these vehicles, which were strangely not part off the initial list of vehicles specified in an earlier recall concerning the same model’s sudden engine shutdown.

This disconcerting revelation spurred the Safety Administration to initiate a recall query on a recent Friday, a conscious step aimed at gauging both the severity of the alleged defect in the popular SUV and the effectiveness of the solution that was presented in the prior recall.

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Giving this issue from 2022 a historical perspective, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had in November that year declared a recall of nearly 63,000 Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles from 2021 to 2023. These vehicles, interestingly, had been equipped with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle engine, technology known for its eco-friendly benefits. Regrettably, as highlighted in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s documentation at the time, these vehicles were prone to experiencing an engine shutdown, a critical issue that might lead to a sudden loss of motive power while the vehicle was in motion.

An update for the calibration software was the proposed solution for the affected owners, but this did little to stem the tide of complaints. Indeed, they continued to stream in unabated. According to a recall query summary that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation made public in the current week, they had registered 68 owner reports in total, all alleging a loss of motor power. Interestingly, these concerns came in for Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles from the 2021 model year and extended to ones as recent as the 2024 model.

Carving out the demographics of the complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noticed an intriguing pattern — the complaints are emanating from both affected vehicles that had the recall remedy deployed, as well as those that were excluded from the initial recall process. Strangely enough, though, the “out of scope” Wranglers seem to be contributing a larger share of reports than their counterparts covered by the recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 94,275 of the 2021-2024 model year Jeep Wrangler 4xes might be involved in this disconcerting saga. A spokesperson from their agency reaffirmed on Tuesday that every vehicle covered by the 2022 recall is under the steady gaze of the ongoing investigation.

Upon speaking with The Associated Press regarding this concerning development, a spokesperson for Jeep’s parent company, Michigan-based Stellantis, said the company was working hand-in-hand with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But this cloud over the horizon isn’t the first for Jeep Wrangler 4xe owners, they have had to weather recalls over the years, a chill ran down their spine particularly in November 2023, when Stellantis issued a recall of more than 32,000 hybrid SUVs citing a potential fire hazard.