NHTSA Launches Recall Query Into 94,000 Jeep Wranglers as Loss of Motive Power Complaints Continue

NHTSA Launches Recall Query Into 94,000 Jeep Wranglers as Loss of Motive Power Complaints Continue
The Jeep logo is shown in the south Denver suburb of Englewood, Colo., on April 15, 2018. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

NEW YORK—The U.S. government’s auto safety agency is investigating a potential “loss of motive power” in more than 94,000 Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles, after receiving complaints for cars outside the scope of an earlier recall involving an engine shutdown condition in the same SUV model.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it opened a recall query on Friday “to assess the severity of the alleged defect” as well as the effectiveness of the remedy provided in the previously announced recall.

Back in November 2022, the NHTSA announced a recall of nearly 63,000 model year 2021–2023 Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles equipped with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle engine. At the time, NHTSA documents warned that these cars may experience engine shutdown that could result in sudden loss of motive power while driving.

A calibration software update was provided as a remedy to impacted owners, but more complaints still piled up since. In its recall query summary published this week, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation noted that it’s identified 68 owner reports alleging a loss of motor power for Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles of model years 2021 now through 2024.

According to the NHTSA, these failure complaints involve both vehicles that already received the remedy for the 2022 recall and those not initially included—although the current rate of reports is higher among the “out of scope” Wranglers than those that were later covered by the recall, the regulator noted.

The NHTSA estimates that some 94,275 model year 2021–2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xes could be affected. At this time, all vehicles covered by the 2022 recall are part of the investigation, an agency spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

When reached by The Associated Press, a spokesperson for Jeep’s owner Stellantis said that the Michigan-based company was cooperating with the NHTSA.

The engine shutdown issue isn’t the only recall that Jeep Wrangler 4xe owners have faced over recent years. In November 2023, Stellantis announced a recall of over 32,000 of these hybrid SUVs for posing a potential fire risk.

By Wyatte Grantham-Philips