Jeep recalls stick-shifted Wrangler, Gladiator due to clutch-frying software

Ronan Glon
·2 min read

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Jeep has issued a recall that applies to 42,887 examples of the Wrangler and the Gladiator equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The company explained the clutch pressure plate can overheat and fracture.

As its name implies, the pressure plate is a part that puts pressure on the clutch disc. It's bolted to the flywheel, which is attached to the rear end of the crankshaft, and it's an important piece of the mechanism that transfers the engine's output to the transmission, and ultimately to the driven wheels. Without it, the power flow stops.

The affected off-roaders are equipped with a clutch pressure plate that can overheat and break, which can cause the clutch disc to fracture, and in rare cases start a fire. Documents sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) point out the firm is aware of one accident and no injuries related to the recall.

36,692 units of the Wrangler built between August 23, 2017, and January 22, 2021, are included in the voluntary recall; that's every stick-shifted fourth-generation model built. The campaign also includes 6,195 examples of the Gladiator made from December 21, 2018, to January 22, 2021. Both are equipped with the same pressure plate.

Jeep warned that drivers might get a whiff of burnt clutch before the pressure plate fails. While it wouldn't be far-fetched to assume the company will replace the clutch kit in affected vehicles, it explained that the parts operate exactly as they were designed to; interestingly, it's a software-related issue that's causing them to fail.

Owners of affected vehicles will consequently be asked to visit the nearest authorized dealership, where a technician will "add software to reduce engine torque capability when the clutch assembly temperatures rise to a level that may damage the inner pressure plate." Jeep will begin notifying owners on March 19, 2021.

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