Jeep Transmission Problems

by Dennis Hartman

The Jeep brand has been known for its off-road capable four wheel drive vehicles since the 1940s. Jeep has been operated as a division of American automaker Chrysler since the 1980s and continues to produce the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee models, along with newer SUVs like the Compass and Patriot. While Jeep is known for the reliability of its vehicles, some models have experienced transmission problems that drivers and potential buyers should be aware of.

Types

Jeep has produced vehicles with several different transmission types, including manual and automatic transmissions. Because of the variety of offerings, Jeep owners have reported a wide range of problems. According to Consumer Affairs, some of the most common issues with Jeep automatic transmissions include rough shifting (especially downshifts) and disconnected transmission linkages between the gear selector and gear packs. Problems with Jeep manual transmissions include loose gear selector levers and cracked clutch plates.

Symptoms and Dangers

The Jeep owners who have reported transmission issues to Consumer Affairs note that most Jeep transmission problems result in a loud noise during driving or shifting. In other cases drivers have reported decreased fuel economy. While this is little more than an inconvenience and warning sign, some other transmission problems create dangerous conditions. Any problem with the shifting mechanism can lead to a risk of the Jeep stalling, putting the driver and others in danger of a crash. In cases where a transmission is leaking fluid for any reason, there is a danger of an engine fire.

Repairs and Costs

Transmission repairs in Jeep vehicles vary in terms of their cost and complexity as much as the variety of the problems themselves. Loose shifter knobs or small leaks in the transmission fluid reservoir can be repaired by a technician in less than an hour and may only cost the price for an hour of labor. Other procedures, such as replacing gears or installing a new electronic control unit for the transmission, may cost several hundred dollars. A replacement transmission is the most extreme option and may cost upwards of $1,000 installed, as of January 2010.

Recalls

Jeep vehicles have been the reason for several recalls enacted by Chrysler to address known issues with transmission systems. These recalls are a matter of public record and summarized on Automotive.com. One such recall took place in late-2009 and involved more than 160,000 vehicles that had been sold without a transmission temperature warning system. A 2005 recall affecting more than 250,000 vehicles was meant to deal with automatic transmissions that had a faulty "Park" gear, which could cause the vehicles to roll downhill while parked.

Warranty Coverage

In many cases, Jeep transmission problems are covered under Chrysler's standard new vehicle powertrain warranty. While this coverage does not apply to problems caused due to improper maintenance, it does include many major transmission problems. In 2007, Chrysler has introduced a lifetime powertrain warranty on select new vehicles, which extended this type of coverage even further.

About the Author

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