The Truth About Cars » Jeep Liberty The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Jeep Liberty A Second Tesla Model S Burns Tue, 29 Oct 2013 11:30:21 +0000

Click here to view the embedded video.

A second Tesla Model S has burned following an accident, this time near Merida, Mexico. Tesla Motors issued a statement saying the customer was unhurt after crash in which the Model S hit a concrete barrier. The accident occurred on October 19 according to local news reports that say that the luxury electric car was speeding and “hit a raised pedestrian crossing and briefly took flight before crashing into a wall and tree.” Photos and video posted of the crash’s aftermath show the front end damaged and flames burning the car.

“We were able to contact the driver quickly and are pleased that he is safe,” Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokesperson, said Monday in an e-mailed statement. “This was a significant accident where the car was traveling at such a high speed that it smashed through a concrete wall and then hit a large tree, yet the driver walked away from the car with no permanent injury.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last week that it found no evidence that the October 1 fire that engulfed the front end of a Model S in Washington state after the car hit metal debris that punctured the battery pack was not due to any defects or violations of U.S. safety standards.

According to Tesla, both customers plan to purchase new Model S cars to replace their burned Teslas. “He is appreciative of the safety and performance of the car and has asked if we can expedite delivery of his next Model S,” Jarvis-Shean said about the owner of the car that burned in Mexico.


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Jeeps Get Hitched To Prevent Fiery Union Wed, 19 Jun 2013 15:01:23 +0000 2005-2007_Jeep_Liberty_--_08-16-2010

As we reported yesterday, Chrysler will be recalling the 2.7 million  1.56 million Jeeps being targeted by NHTSA over rear-end crashes that can lead to a fiery death. The solution; a trailer hitch out of the Mopar catalog.

Both Chrysler and NHTSA get to walk away from this one without losing too much face; NHTSA appears to have compelled Chrysler to take action on the matter, while Chrysler’s “voluntary” action allows it to maintain that there’s nothing wrong with the vehicles, while also having the PR bonus of making them look responsible and caring in the face of a safety issue.

It’s likely that most of the Jeeps will pass the “visual inspection” and dealers won’t need to install too many of the Mopar factory trailer hitches. And every person that comes in is a potential sales lead. After all, some of these Jeeps are 20 years old by now. Certainly time for a new Jeep, isn’t it?



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Chrysler Stands Down, Recalls Jeeps Tue, 18 Jun 2013 18:47:30 +0000 1993-1995_Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_--_03-30-2012

Facing a looming deadline to comply with a NHTSA request to recall 2.7 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs – some of which are close to 20 years old at this point – Chrysler had decided to comply with NHTSA’s request.

While Chrysler maintains that their vehicles are safety, the auto maker has decided to inspect and, if necessary, repair the affected vehicles, as per their official statement

As a result of the agreement, Chrysler Group will conduct a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.

The issue revolves around rear-mounted gas tanks in the two models and the question of whether or not rear-end crashes can cause vehicle fires. NHTSA has been investigating the matter since 2010 and reports a total of 51 deaths resulting from 37 rear-end crashes in both cars.

Chrysler not only maintained that the Jeeps in question were safe, but mounted a mini-PR war against NHTSA, providing data on rear end crash fatalities. The company may have been right, but public perception may have been such that Chrysler didn”t want to risk going through what Ford did during the Pinto fire controversy. The PR battle would have been unwinnable, given the complexity of the issue and the public’s general aversion to nuance and detail when it comes to any sort of discourse. We’ll have more as this story develops.


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The Flame Wars: Jeeps “Absolutely Safe,” Marchionne Says Fri, 07 Jun 2013 14:29:32 +0000 nhtsa2


Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne jumped, so to speak, into the flames erupting around the rebuffed Jeep recall.  Says Reuters:

“Marchionne Friday reiterated Chrysler’s resistance to a recall of 2.7 million older-model Jeep vehicles, adding that the automaker is preparing to supply the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with information it had requested.”

Marchionne told Reuters:

“We will supply them with a complete set of data. Based on all available data, these cars are absolutely safe and totally in line with what the industry was producing at the time. There is no design defect.”

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The NHTSA And Chrysler. Or: Some Pigs Are More Equal Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:53:37 +0000

In a letter sent (“VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS AND ELECTRONIC MAIL”) to Chrysler on Monday, the NHTSA requests that “Chrysler initiate a safety recall on MY 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and MY 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty vehicles and implement a remedy action that improves their performance in rear-impacts and crashes.” The NHTSA illustrated its request with pictures of burned-out Jeeps, some of which are in this article.

Yesterday, Chrysler sent out a press release, stating that it “does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation.” It is very rare that an automaker flat out denies such a request, especially one that documents scores of deaths. This is not an article about whether Chrysler is right or wrong. This is a story about curious double standards at the NHTSA. 


In 2009, the Center for Auto Safety requested that the NHTSA look into all 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a fuel tank behind the real axle.” Three and a half years later, the NHTSA came to the conclusion, that “there have been at least 32 fatal rear impact fire crashes involving Grand Cherokees resulting in 44 deaths,” along with at least 5 fatal rear impact crashes that have resulted in 7 deaths.” The NHTSA says that after the Pinto and Bobcat disasters of the 70s (which had about half the deaths of the Jeeps) automakers learned and put the gas tank “in less vulnerable locations than behind the rear axle.”

That insight was lost on Chrysler.  The WJ Grand Cherokee, built from 1999 through MY 2004, “was configured with a fuel tank located behind the rear axle,” says the NHTSA. What’s more, “the MY 2002 through 2007 Liberty has a fuel tank located aft of the rear axle and less than a foot forward of the aft face of the rear bumper.” All that “contravened industry trends,” the NHTSA opines.

Chrysler says the NHTSA is wrong, and that the agency’s “initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data.”

The NHTSA countered with a milquetoast statement. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that “NHTSA hopes that Chrysler will reconsider its position and take action to protect its customers and the driving public.”

Why Chrysler is digging in its heels is anybody’s guess. Relocating the fuel tank of 2.7 million SUVs is out of the question. However, the Center for Auto Safety estimates it would cost “Chrysler no more than $300 million to install a 3 millimeter steel skid, a fuel tank check valve and better fuel filler hose,” says CNN. Nothing doing, says Chrysler.

Comments Michelle Krebs of Edmunds:

“Chrysler must feel like it has a compelling reason to take such a bold stand. Since Toyota was publicly humiliated for dragging its feet on recalls just a few years ago, automakers have been quick to recall vehicles at NHTSA’s request.”

Speaking of Toyota, during the unintended acceleration frenzy, the government was more robust in its actions. At the same time the NHTSA looked into burning Jeeps in silence, the anti-Toyota campaign went full blast. Transportation Secretary LaHood asked people to stop driving Toyotas, the company was grilled on the Hill, and sentenced three times to pay the maximum fine. The company eventually was absolved. It was driver error. However, a stunned Toyota recalled everything it possibly could recall, and probably some more.

Some pigs definitely are more equal.

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NHTSA Asks Chrysler To Recall 2.7 Million Jeeps, Chrysler Says “No” Wed, 05 Jun 2013 12:00:13 +0000 2002-2004_Jeep_Liberty_Sport

In a rare display of defiance, Chrysler is refusing to comply with NHTSA’s request to recall 2.7 million SUVs, and is publicly challenging NHTSA on the validity of the recall.

NHTSA asked Chrysler to recall Grand Cherokee models made between 1993-2004 and Liberty models made between 2002-2007,  due to a defective fueling system that can lead to vehicle fires in rear end crashes. The agency has even blamed the alleged defect for as many as 51 deaths. But Chrysler has dug in its heels, issuing a statement and a white paper on NHTSA’s findings, stating

“The company does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective…We believe NHTSA’s initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data, and we are committed to continue working with the agency to resolve this disagreement.”

In its own statement, NHTSA said that the Jeeps “…may contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.” NHTSA has been investigating the models for some time, and Chrysler was first notified of the matter in September 2010. Chrysler has also been the subject of numerous lawsuits regarding the alleged defect.

According to Automotive News, The main point of contention appears to rest with rear crash standards. The two models were compliant with contemporary safety standards, but since 2008, the standard for rear impact fuel leakage had doubled. In addition, proposed modifications would apparently increase the risk of fires during side impact crashes, which are more prevalent.

While the matter may appear to be a squabble between Chrysler and NHTSA over arcane vehicle regulations, the subtext is much more interesting. A major OEM – an American one at that – is taking on NHTSA over a potentially touchy recall subject. Vehicle fires, lawsuits and deaths are all part and parcel of this story, and Chrysler is about to wage a bloody battle against NHTSA – these unpleasant topics will surely come up at some point.

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Jeep Says Capacity, New Cherokee, Keys To Sales Growth Thu, 21 Mar 2013 15:20:41 +0000

Jeep is counting on the new Cherokee to help continue its streak of year-over-year sales growth, but the brand is facing production related challenges that could torpedo their quest for three consecutive years of sales growth.

Despite adding jobs at their Toledo plant (including 200 new positions for Wrangler production and a third shift to build the Grand Cherokee), Jeep is facing capacity constraints.

Jeep’s Mike Manley told Automotive News that expansion was inevitable if the current sales pace kept up

“At some stage you get to a point where you have to make significant investment to [add] capacity,” Manley said, “and when we get to that point, we’ll be able to make that announcement.”

Meanwhile, the upcoming 2014 Cherokee is expected to play a big role in Jeep’s growth this year (Chrysler is targeting 800,000 units globally, up from 700,000 last year), but AN is reporting that the May 23 production start date will be delayed by two weeks. That, plus refreshes to the Compass, Patriot and Grand Cherokee (which feature, among other things, new transmissions) and the cessation of Liberty production, have led to a sales decline over the past five months.

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Car And Driver Nails The Jeep Cherokee Fri, 22 Feb 2013 17:20:27 +0000

Remember the Jeep Cherokee rendering we posted last month courtesy of Car and Driver? Well, we had it on good authority that the rendering was very accurate. Turns out our sources were right. Jalopnik has photos of the new Jeep Cherokee undisguised and it is dead on. The styling is polarizing, to say the least. Some day it looks like a Jeep Juke, but I see more Cayenne.

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Jeep’s Toledo Plant Winds Down Liberty Production Thu, 09 Aug 2012 15:11:22 +0000

The last Jeep Liberty will be coming off the line on August 16th, as the rugged 4-door Jeep makes way for its upcoming, car-based replacement.

The next Liberty (or Cherokee…or whatever it’s called. Nobody is quite sure what moniker will be used) will have a “Trail Rated” version meant for off-road use. But it will also be car based, sharing the same Alfa-derived architecture that the Dodge Dart uses. The SUV die hards will no doubt protest. The people of Toledo are undoubtedly pleased that 1,100 jobs and $1.7 billion are being invested in the plant for the new Jeep.

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Automotive News Spills The Beans; Confirms Chrysler 100, Jeep Liberty Based On Dodge Dart Platform Mon, 14 May 2012 13:09:40 +0000

An article in Automotive News lavishing praise on the Chrysler/Fiat merger of equals marriage inadvertently spilled the beans on a couple upcoming products from Marchionne’s minions.

The AN piece, which focuses on the birth of the miracle child known as the Dodge Dart, briefly touches on the car’s platform, known as CUSW. Discussing the ability for CUSW to underpin both C and D segment vehicles, AN states

“Some of those next vehicles are already out in testing, including the successor to the Jeep Liberty that will be built at Chrysler’s Toledo (Ohio) North Assembly plant and a Chrysler 100 hatchback that will join the Dart on the line in Belvidere, Ill. Both of those vehicles are expected in 2013.”

That should provide more grist for the online automotive content mill for the next few weeks. At the very least, all those spy shots of jacked-up Alfa Romeo hatches conclusively prove that the newest Liberty is going to become an American pseudo-Q5 (in the same way that the Grand Cherokee is an American-flavored premium SUV) while the Chrysler 100 exists largely as an offering to Lancia.

If the new Liberty really is going to be a smaller version of the Grand Cherokee – an off-road capable SUV that’s primarily concerned with luxury and on-road manners, then re-naming the car as a “Cherokee” makes a lot of sense. The 100 now looks to be a go after a series of long, drawn out teases from Sergio himself.

And with that said and done, let’s pour one out for the mail Jeep.

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Dodge Dart Platform Will Underpin Chrysler 200, Jeep Compass Replacement Wed, 25 Jan 2012 16:16:49 +0000

A USA Today interview with Sergio Marchionne revealed some interesting details about Chrysler’s future product plans – among them, a wider adoption of the Dodge Dart/Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform, a possible small hatch dubbed the “Chrysler 100″ and Alfa Romeos built on American soil.

The upcoming replacements for the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 will ride on a version of the Dodge Dart platform, though nothing was said about earlier reports of the Avenger being axed. The Jeep Compass and Patriot will also use these underpinnings, with Marchionne stating “It’s gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car.”

A compact hatchback, dubbed the Chrysler 100 is being considered, and if approved, the car would be badged as a Lancia in Europe. Alfa Romeo’s on-and-off plans to come to America are still in motion with a planned 2013 debut, with American built Alfas being exported to Europe eventually. Marchionne also talked of new, lightweight vehicles and a 1.8L 4-cylinder motor with a turbocharger than can produce as much as 300 horsepower.

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Piston Slap: At Liberty to Go There? You Know… Mon, 29 Mar 2010 15:31:57 +0000

TTAC Commentator cc-rider writes:

Hi Sajeev- I am a huge fan and advocate of TTAC.  I have a co-worker and friend in dire need of some good advice from the best and the brightest. She has a 2002 Jeep Liberty with 110,000 miles.  Last week her car had to be towed to her mechanic.  She found out the engine is toast.

Turns out it is a victim of engine sludge.  After the fact, it seems that this is a fairly common issue with the Jeep 3.7 V-6.  It seems that a new engine would be $3,000 in parts and at least another $2,000 to be installed.

In my opinion, it seems pointless to spend that sort of money on a car that’s maybe worth $4,000.  She doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on another car- maybe $2,000 at most.  She doesn’t put many miles on in a year and goes mostly to and from work.  I am very familiar with the Nissan SR20 engines and am partial to them.  I was recommending she find a used 1st generation Infiniti G20.  They seem to give a huge bang for the buck at that low price point.

I’d love to hear everyone’s take on her situation.  By the way, she is in the NYC metro area for anyone with a cheap ride for sale.

Sajeev Answers:

So she’s just a “co-worker and a friend.” And you’re only “partial” to SR20 mills?  Uh-huh.

I call shenanigans! The first-gen Infiniti G is a wonderful car that’s over 13 years old.  When a dude recommends an ancient ride to a girl that (probably) has no feelings for it, there’s more than meets the eye.  Recommending an old car makes you an instant caregiver: you probably enjoy that person’s company, and they’ll occupy more and more of your time quite soon.

Sorry to bust chops: I won’t recommend my favorite cars to my…uh…friends who happen to be women. And nothing more than that, of course. But if a girlie rolled up in Fox Mustang (Fox anything, for that matter) and wanted my digits, I wouldn’t show her the door. Word is Bond.

Ok, seriously.  The Liberty is a goner because of the reasons you correctly stated.  Unless she really loves the beast: get a used motor from a junkyard (like LKQ or for about $1000, and spend another $1000-ish for labor. It has a warranty, low miles and probably won’t sludge up: if you run a motor flush and religiously change synthetic oil from here on out. There are 3.7L motors that run fine with proper upkeep in brutal urban traffic, I’ve seen that personally.

Otherwise, yes, dump the Liberty and seek alternative transport.  You should help her make that decision, yet narrowing down the field doesn’t mean recommending antique Nissans. Once that’s done, find a clean example of whatever ride she likes and buy her dinner to celebrate her new set of wheels. And if someone finds out they are “partial” to more than SR20 engines after a few sips of vino, so be it!

(Send your queries to

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