By on June 22, 2016

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side

A software fix issued to Jeep dealers sheds light on how Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to stop the accidental rollaways plaguing many of its vehicles.

The dealer service document, issued for recalled 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees with the confusing Monostable shift lever, was obtained and published by Jalopnik.

FCA voluntarily recalled 1.1 million vehicles in April after the shifter, which sometimes stays in gear after drivers think they’ve shifted into “park,” was linked to hundreds of rollaways and 41 injuries. That was before the shifter became the focus in the recent death of actor Anton Yelchin.

Yelchin died this past weekend after his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee apparently rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a brick gatepost. The vehicle — one of the models equipped with the problematic shift lever — was found in neutral, with the engine running.

FCA didn’t exactly say what the fix would be at the time of the recall. In a statement, it mentioned that a warning chime (which sounds when the driver’s door is ajar and the transmission is out of “park”) would be upgraded and combined with “a transmission-shift strategy to automatically prevent a vehicle from moving, under certain circumstances, even if the driver fails to select ‘PARK.'”

The Jalopnik document provides details on the bigger fix. Called “Auto Park,” the feature updates the software of the transmission control module, powertrain control module, radio frequency hub and instrument panel cluster. The four modules must be reprogrammed in a certain order, with the fix taking about two hours to complete.

Once installed, the “Auto Park” feature “eliminates the possibility of the driver inadvertently failing to place the transmission into ‘PARK’ prior to exiting the vehicle,” according to the manufacturer.

Because the Monostable shifter on FCA’s eight-speed automatics is electronic, a vehicle could be programmed to automatically shift into “park” under certain conditions.

On Monday, FCA said it would investigate whether the shifter issue was a factor in Yelchin’s death.

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65 Comments on “Is ‘Auto Park’ the Cure for Runaway Jeeps?...”


  • avatar

    The problem is it’s hard to not accidentally shift when I don’t want to.

    I accidentally go from D to N when I’m driving at high speeds because my knee/leg bumps the shifter forward. Not a problem with the 2016 shifter.

    There is no “sensation” of going from P to R and then to D like you feel in a traditionalautomatic. The 2016’s shifter fixed this entirely.

    The Shift paddles have no lockout. The 2016 models fixed this.

    My recommendation is to replace the entire shifter with something that won’t have the issues present with the monostatic shifter.

    I don’t want “seat sensors” that lock the car into park. My neighbor’s BMW seat sensor malfunctioned and he couldn’t even drive it.

    I should be able to drive in forward or reverse with the door open. I should be able to leave the car in N even when I’m outside of it. That’s how car washes need it to be.

    Go talk to a typical employee at a dealership in the service department. Many of them will tell you that they “thought” the car was in Park or Drive and accidentally reversed. Or some combination of the 3.

    The 2016 model’s traditional Automatic shifter is ultimately the “cure”.

    If FCA really wants to make me happy, all they need to do is make it so the shifter does absolutely nothing unless the silver button is pressed and held.

    Then bumping it wouldn’t matter.

    All of this – however – won’t matter when I have the TRACKHAWK.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      I don’t think anyone would disagree with that assessment, a polystable shifter is the hardware solution for the problem. That’s one of the reasons why the 2016 cars went back to that design, in my personal estimation.

      However, when it comes to recalling 1.1 million vehicles, tearing up the interior to retrofit in the polystable shifter is certainly cost and time prohibitive, and potentially just not feasible depending on the actual mounting scheme. I’m not in a position to know. But the software/calibration solution they’re rolling out sounds very much like it simply puts FCA’s vehicles on par with competitive offerings which utilize a monostable shifter, which is an outcome I think we can agree is adequate considering the circumstances.

      I’ll add tat making the button required for any movement of the shifter presents its own problem. The button makes accidentally skipping Neutral and going into Reverse impossible when you’re intending to shift into Neutral. If I press the button for all movement I lose the reverse lockout in the shifter.

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s why I like gated levers as in my Mazda. I have to move fore/aft AND sideways to get into/out of Reverse and Park.

      • 0 avatar

        If you look at the Jeep’s design, it would be possible to simply remove the shifter along with its plate and replace it with something else that’s safer. It’ll cost a lot of money…yes – but it will save lives.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “If you look at the Jeep’s design, it would be possible to simply remove the shifter along with its plate and replace it with something else that’s safer. It’ll cost a lot of money…yes – but it will save lives”

          Securing your vehicle when you exit is a fail safe way to ensure you don’t get run over.

          This guy is dead SOLELY due to his own negligence. Nothing more.

          Whether you drive a ’55 Chevy, a ’76 Toyota, or a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you still need to secure your vehicle before you exit. The shifter is different, not faulty.

          Blaming the shifter is like people blaming their GPS when they drive into a lake because it told them to take the next right. Nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      BSTR,

      All of the “automatic” car washes around here require you to be inside the car with the engine running and the tranny in neutral.
      These places are OK in the winter when you need to get the salt film removed from the car, but don’t do a good job inside the door frames, trunk lids, wheel wells, wheels etc.
      Otherwise, I just wash the car in the driveway. It’s more work, but there is no comparison in results especially if you need to wax.

      • 0 avatar

        The car washes around here have you hand the car over to the dude to deal with it – but either the one where he deals with it or you sit inside simply has you leave it in N and send it through. The car wash nearest me (now) lets the car be unoccupied in N as it goes through.

        The problem with many of these electric shifter units – of various designs, is they don’t like being in N if the engine is off.

        Many refuse to do anything making towing harder.

        My Chrysler 300 had a regular automatic and even it refused to be out of N when the car was off.

        • 0 avatar
          NickS

          “but either the one where he deals with it or you sit inside simply has you leave it in N and send it through.”

          What is the exact procedure on those unoccupied car washes? I find it VERY odd that a car wash might require the driver to first shift to N and then exit their vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            pdq

            Here in Southern California, you drive the car up to the vacuuming station and turn off the vehicle. You tell the attendant what package or wash options you want, he gives you a ticket which you take to the cashier to pay for the car wash.

            Attendants then vacuum the vehicle and one of them drives it into the car wash itself and onto the conveyor system – then they turn it off and get out (car in Neutral)http://www.belanger.com.au/wash-systems/car-wash-equipment/conveyors/

            Conveyor pulls vehicle through wash/wax/dry machinery and at the end of the wash, the conveyor drops down below ground (like an escalator) and wash employee drives car out to the drying area on the lot. The pavement at the end of the conveyor line is angled so that the car won’t just roll away.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3T76GwZgGM

            Hope that makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        I remember once as a student in Ann Arbor having a wad of cash in my pocket and so using the full service car wash. I think it was called “Big Daddy’s” at the time. It was a half hour in a waiting room watching it go through on a conveyor belt as they had taken out some of the things from the interior to clean by hand and sent the car by its lonesome down the track in neutral. Once done, they drove it back around and handed me the keys. Such places appear to still exist checking the web – the building’s there, it appears to just have a new name, still selling “full service” car washes.

        • 0 avatar

          Where I live, I frequent a car wash that sounds very similar to the one pdq describes with one difference: They do not kill the engine once the car is on the conveyor. They leave the engine running and the car in neutral. Apparently they’ve had some issues with cars not restarting after being washed so they leave them running so they can drive them away quickly.

          Seems like that proposed fix is going to cause some real headaches at the car wash.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            Same as the ones here in the upper midwest. Though I know of one where you ride in the car through the conveyor system.

            Most have windows so you can watch the car go through the wash.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnson Schwanz

      I always wanted to ask you, bro: Is your username based off the Funkmaster Flex mixtape series from a few years ago?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ? How the hell could FCA ever release a vehicle with this crazy shifter ?! .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar

    The same way Audi did when they released the A8.

    Since the A8 had it first.

    I red-flagged this part years ago. In 2008 and again in 2013.

    I think it’s not their design, they only put it in because it looked cool.

    In a video/explanation I made, I stated – before this tragedy – that there is a “death threshold”. A term I’ve coined that means that there will be NO immediate activism or political change until a certain number of people die – prompting an outcry from the public – resulting in immediate political change.

    In this case – 50 injuries weren’t enough.

    But a single movie star everyone liked.

    Why didn’t they listen?

    I could have saved Chekov.

  • avatar
    RHD

    So many cars end up in the junkyard when the automatic transmission breaks down… and so many fatalities are caused by slushboxes. If Yelchin had a 6MT, he would still be alive making movies.
    My personal preference for a manual gearbox gets more support every day.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      I rolled a Hellcat down my driveway when my kids distracted me from putting the foot brake on (or possibly released it when I was letting them sit in the driver’s seat). But it was in 1st gear, so it rolled down a total of 10 feet over the course of 4 hours…Every time I came out and opened/slammed a door it must have budged a little. Each time I came out again it seemed a bit farther down the driveway, but it was one of those “huh, I thought I pulled up farther” moments every time.

      There’s an analogy for the slippery slope in there somewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      “So many cars end up in the junkyard when the automatic transmission breaks down”

      Have any of these IDIOTS tried…I don’t know…replacing the Transmission?

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        When a car has 150K and is worth two grand, and a new transmission would cost much more than that, it goes off to the happy cruising ground in the sky (via the crusher).

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      ” If Yelchin had a 6MT, he would still be alive making movies.”.
      .
      ? seriously ? .
      .
      You’re proposing that he could have left his Jeep idling in neutral with the Park Brake off and not had the same result ? .
      .
      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Of course not, Nate. When you drive a manual transmission, you automatically understand how the vehicle works. You wouldn’t leave it idling in neutral with the parking brake off, because you know it could roll, and you obviously couldn’t leave it idling in gear.
        Yelchin was obviously not paying attention to what he was doing with his car, and his poorly designed gear selector contributed to the tragedy. My opinion is that he would have been less likely to get crushed if he were actually engaged in driving his car, instead of kind of going along for the ride.

        • 0 avatar
          CarnotCycle

          Issue with shifter isn’t a technical problem, but one where new user experience disrupts old pneumonic by removing a feedback (the notch-shift).

          I have manual transmission car(s), and one specifically has a engine start/stop button in addition to e-key. I have stall-lurched that car after tapping the e-key then letting up the clutch with motor still running – because just messing with the key checked a box in my mind that car was off, because every other MT car I’ve ever owned worked that way. Thank God I did that in a golf course parking lot with nothing but lawn for twenty feet in front of car, and not in my garage (which would’ve lurched car into a wall/tool shelf), or a parking lot (lurching into car in front of me).

          Chekov not so lucky in setup for essentially different version of same kind of pneumonic mistake. This is cautionary tale for engineers when judging whether to re-invent a decades-old user-interaction with any kind of machine, especially if it doesn’t improve functionality in any way (what was Jeep’s rationale for new shifter being ‘better’ than old one anyways?).

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          manual transmissions are going away, deal with it. You’re “more engaged with driving” nonsense isn’t going to bring them back.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          @ RHD :
          .
          Understood and agreed it was in the end , Operator’s fault .
          .
          However , I also look at this shifter design and the many reported incidents (even by Dealer Employees who presumably should know better) and thinks it is deficient .
          .
          -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      He stepped away from a running car he left in Neutral, which happens to manual trans cars too. Except since it was on fairly steep driveway, there seems to be more to this story.

      Did the “Hill Start Assist” fool him just long enough to let him get between the truck and the pillar? I know the “HSA” is supposed to be disabled in Neutral, but it seems to be a combination of things that went wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Mike- In my car(Dart, manual) the hill start assist wouldn’t hold long enough to fool anyone into getting out of the vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There’s no other possible explanation. In 2 seconds, I can make it to the back of my F-150 from the cab. And I’m an old guy. There has to be reason Anton let off the brakes and it held there momentarily, before rolling back all of a sudden.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Not an argument at all, but that’s just not possible.

            He could never stop, shift(to neutral/park), remove his seatbelt, open the door– and run around to the other end of the car to be crushed to death– in the few seconds hill start would have held his vehicle.

            Does the driveway go up, or down hill? Was he reversing into the gate, or facing it?

            If he were driving uphill– the car door would have smacked him before he even cleared it if he were relying on hill hold assist. That thing only holds momentarily. It is not something you can even time- let alone something that would hold long enough fool an attentive driver into exiting their running vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s uphill to leave his property, and he was pinned behind it. With no application of throttle, the HSA holds the brakes for 2 or 3 seconds, plenty of time to step behind it, (going downhill) if in a hurry. But who says he couldn’t shift 1st, undo the belt, open the door, and let go of the brakes last? He was going from the house to the gate, then getting out, so he likely wasn’t wearing the seat belt.

            The HSA holds the vehicle too long if you ask me, and unnecessary in an automatic. But it’s supposed to release once you step on the gas.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    My 2015 Mercedes C300 has Auto Park. Turn off the ignition or open the door, & it automatically goes into Park. It also automatically sets the electronic Emergency Brake. When you are ready to go, put it in gear, lightly tap the accelerator pedal, & the Emergency Brake goes off automatically. Nice feature. I’m sure other Benzes & cars have this.

    • 0 avatar

      Features like this are OK so long as I can defeat them when I need to.

      What if you’re at a car wash?

      Or on a Dyno?

      Or purposefully need to defeat it for whatever reason.

      What if I’m a cop and need to use my car as a battering ram and bulletproof shield while advancing on hostile gunmen? I should be able to put it in D and move behind the cover as it idles its way towards them.

      The Polystable shifter and traditional shifters worked nearly flawlessly. There’s alsways some margin of error, but I knew early on the margin of error with these monostatic shifters was to great.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        This is why I take the Captain Adama / Galactica approach to critical systems.

        I kid you not, I know of a faith-based rural shelter / recovery center for abused women (basically a functioning farm) where they keep an old 1970s Dodge diesel truck on hand in case the Tribulation hits and Step 1 is the midwest getting EMP’d. That’s my kind of prep right there.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Wheel

        BTSR,

        I haven’t had any reason to defeat it, but you can if you want. I go through car washes all the time, roll into the wash, put it in Neutral like any other car. The Emergency Brake & Auto Park do not come on in those cases.

        Chassis dyno? Zero need for that. It’s a lease/company car, any work that needs to be done is at the dealer, & it’s 4matic AWD, so you would need a special dyno anyway. I’m not even sure if the dealer has a four wheel dyno.

        Want to let the car idle away after getting out in your cop car scenario? Feel free. Open door, put foot on brake, put it in Drive, & push the button to release the Emergency Brake, watch car drive away.

        After you live with the features for a couple of days, they become second nature & you don’t think about them anymore.

        • 0 avatar

          Why make something unnecessarily complicated if you don’t have to ?

          BMW Took a lot of flak when the 745 debuted and they quickly reengineered it in order to make the electronic functions simpler to use .

          The manual transmission -by the way -is unnecessarily complicated.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Wheel

            For 99% of the population, it’s not complicated. It works like any car from the 60’s with a mechanical connection.

            All done driving? Put it in Park, turn off car, get out. Emergency Brake sets automatically.

            Ready to go? Get in car, start it, put it in Drive, & go. Emergency Brake comes off automatically.

            If Anton/Chekov got out of the car without putting it in Park, the auto park & auto emergency brake features would have saved him.

    • 0 avatar
      iMatt

      That is a recipe for developing dangerously bad habits.

      Perhaps this Star Trek fellow’s other car was also a Merc?

  • avatar

    I am the only person who uses his emergency brake when I park?

    • 0 avatar
      jmp2006

      No, you are not. But, it seems that you and I are in the minority.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Only in my manual car. Never in my automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I do it in both my automatic and my manual car.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “I am the only person who uses his emergency brake when I park?”

      Personally I just make sure that the vehicle is in park before I exit. Crazy, I know, but it is quite effective.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      “I am the only person who uses his emergency brake when I park?” .
      .
      Yes and no :
      .
      I grew up in serious snow and salt country where the park brake cables would routinely freeze solid , making it impossible to release the park brake so it was normal to never use the park brake from mid Fall until early Spring .
      .
      This guy lived in Sunny Southern California so no excuse , he wasn’t necessarily ‘ stupid ‘ but surely he was *ignorant* , there’s a HUGE difference between the two .
      .
      Not using the park brake and not allowing the car to move slightly until the slack is taken up before putting the car into park or second gear , is also ignorant as it beats up the slushbox’s parking pawl , not that most care .
      .
      FWIW , if you’re in the Rust Belt or own say a classic 1963 Ford Galaxie you really like and want to preserve , it’s a simple thing to remove the park brake cables and wire brush them clean of rust and dirt etc. then pull them until the Bowden housing is clear of the normally covered cable , then allow to soak a day or two in a 1″ bath of fresh , clean Polyglycol typ Anti-Freeze , work them back and forth a few times whilst submerged to really work the coolant in and marvel at how easily they slide , re install and adjust and never have a sticky/dragging/locked on Park Brake ever again .
      .
      Or , buy some old WPC thing with a band brake on the back of the tranny , it’ll never seize but it also won’t help you slow down or stop if the foot brakes ever fail…..
      .
      BT,DT , not fun .
      .
      -Nate

  • avatar
    1audiofile

    It is sad and unfortunate Anton died. On the positive side, his death will potentiallysave many people from Iinjury or death. Because he was an actor Jeep takes the problem seriously and will fix it before any one else dies.

  • avatar
    jmp2006

    To answer the question, though, ‘Auto Park’ is not the cure for runaway Jeeps. Less idiots who don’t know how to operate their own vehicles is the cure for runaway Jeeps (and other runaway cars for that matter).

    • 0 avatar
      NickS

      “Less idiots who don’t know how to operate their own vehicles”

      Calling the end user an idiot is not a good career plan for an automotive engineer (if you are into that sort of thing). Clearly many people have had issues, accidents and now death and it looks like the common element there is a problematic shifter design.

      Cars are far too complex these days, and OEMs must make sure they make the car’s behavior as predictable and easily understood to the driver as possible. That means that the complexity in the electronics and software running on a car has to be reduced to very simple and clear signals to the driver, i.e., alerts on a screen, warning lights, indicators, audible warnings, etc, depending on severity. In cases where there is potential for unsafe operation or danger, you program your systems to pre-emptively take corrective action or shut off the dangerous condition.

      What you call an idiot is a human that cannot be expected to think at all times how the complex systems that make up a whole car operate and where they don’t exactly line up in total agreement with one another.

      You should look up human factors engineering.

      • 0 avatar
        jmp2006

        I’m not an automotive engineer, but I’ll continue to call end users idiots because most of them are. We are continuously looking at more and more technology to save our asses. We love the convenience of new technology but then will be the first to criticize it when it didn’t save our ass from some dumb shit that we did. Sometimes I’ll be wrong, but I’ll continue to put blame on the end user before the technology.

        – My Tesla moved by itself – ummm, no, your dumb ass put it in auto park or some shit and walked away.
        – My Jeep ran over me – well, that’s because you’re a moron and you left it in “Neutral” instead of “Park” and engaged the E-brake, like you should have.
        – My computer is acting funny and I swear I didn’t do anything – well, that’s because you downloaded that virus when you pulled up that new porn site.

        We can continue to try to make better idiot-proof technology, but sadly, we will also continue to create better idiots.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ” I’ll continue to call end users idiots because most of them are.”

          Yup. It’s called Insufficient User IQ.

          Something Jonathan Gruber referred to when he called Americans stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          Trichobezoar

          Hey, it’s still nice to see auto manufacturers stand beside the cars they sell.

          It’d be even nicer to see them stand behind the cars they sell, but that’s understandable.

  • avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    FCA should flip through some archived Chrysler Corp. dash designs from the ’60’s. I’m referencing the famous “Push-Button Automatic Transmission.” It was a great idea then and is a great idea now.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    In addition to slamming it into park and or setting the parking brake when the driver’s door gets opened, there needs to be audible clicks, 3 clicks from Drive is Park, 2 clicks and you’re in Reverse.

    Plus through the infotainment speakers, “Hey Jackass, You’re Ajarring The Door With The Thing NOT In PARK???”

  • avatar

    and so someone dies they solve the problem

  • avatar
    shaker

    Maybe JD Powers should actually do something useful, like vetting design changes for safety.

    We know that the under-funded federal regulators can’t evaluate “cosmetic” design changes for potential lethality, only an unknown number of regular people + one celebrity meeting their makers will trigger action.

    How about a “proactive” set of rules applying to all manufacturers/critical automotive controls (that must demonstrate universal characteristics), so that any deviations would *improve* usability.

    When a person uses an elevator anywhere in the world, they pretty much know how to use it – a design that would exchange “up” and “down” buttons, or arrange the floor number buttons randomly purely for aesthetic purposes would be viewed as fairly “idiotic”, not the users pressing the wrong buttons.

    • 0 avatar
      Hoon Goon

      How about people read the owners manual, you know, to like learn about their cars?

      I agree that the design is lame. Did these idiots not know how lame it was during the test drive, or were they too busy checking out the bluetooth?

      personal accountability: What does it mean?

      **Another disclaimer – HATE FCA products**

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    A couple of questions, How does Audi not get dinged for having the same shifter?

    Does the Jeep not have a manual parking brake? Regardless of if you place a car in park you should engage the parking brake. Even elctronic parking brakes have a switch to engage them.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I’m sure the Audi shifter isn’t half assed. Attempting to walk away from a car not put in Park isn’t a normal, everyday move. The Parking Brake is not normally necessary, if not overkill, especially when parking an auto trans on less than extremely steep spots, and or, straight up ice.

      It’s tough to feel sorry for Chrysler, even if it ends up costing them tens or hundreds of millions. They try to pass this junk off as technical advancement, when it’s only there to make assembly cheaper/faster/simpler, with less, or total avoidance of mechanical, moving parts.

  • avatar
    Hoon Goon

    I agree that FCA should have designed a “better” shifter, but here is the deal: I am as sympathetic to people getting smashed by these things as I am someone who wadded up their car having fun. When are human beings going to take responsibility for their own lives and safety, rather that wait on Uncle Sam and Corporation X to protect them from their own stupid selves?

    I have read all the “reports” out right now and all this equates to is IDIOTS going out to buy a car and think all they need to do is put gas in it and take it to the dealer. Is it so hard to ask someone to learn how to operate the damn machinery that they purchased? Should they be operating a 5,000 LB machine if they can’t figure out how to properly park their car?

    This may have not been an optimal design, but to expect Gubbmint and CEO to save IDIOTS from themselves at great expense. My solution is for FCA to send all owners a notice to read their friggin owner’s manual, but I guess reading and learning is too hard. Definitely not recall material.

    For the record, I have nor ever will own anything FCA. They have never produced anything of interest for me and I don’t think they ever will.

    This country needs more Darwin, not less. Have you looked around lately? It’s getting pretty bad, car lovers.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    Last August, on my semi-annual trip to Los Angeles to visit my cousin, my rental car was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. I loved the vehicle and more than once thought that I would love to own one if not for the reliability issues. But that damn shifter drove me insane!!!

    Anyone who has driven in ‘The Valley’ (Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Canoga Park in particular) has probably noticed the lack of left turn signals at intersections. Here in Georgia, almost every intersection has a green left turn arrow (left-turning vehicles have the right of way) followed by a green light (left turns can be made when oncoming traffic, or lack thereof, permits). Not so much in the parts of LA where I drive. Divided streets are also fairly common, which make U-turns a routine part of driving.

    On my second day driving the Jeep, I found myself caught in a very difficult position. I was attempting a U-turn but the road was too narrow for the Jeep’s turning radius, requiring a 3-point U-turn. In other words, I couldn’t quite make a full U-turn, so I had to back up a bit before I could proceed in the opposite direction. What would have been routine anxiety quickly turned into a full-on panic attack as I fought with the shifter attempting to get it into Reverse. I was blocking oncoming traffic and have been hit at any moment (and it would have been my fault)!

    I quickly decided that my only safe course of action was to simply drive over the curb that was blocking my U-turn. The Jeep was 4wd and it was a rental, so why not? Thankfully I didn’t damage the vehicle or cause an accident, but that freakin’ shifter was/is very dangerous! It’s also very frustrating when shifting from one position to another, such as backing out of a parking spot then trying to shift into Drive from Reverse. I could see how leaving it in gear could happen. In a ‘keyed’ car, you wouldn’t be able to remove the key from the ignition without the lever being in the Park position. But what safeguards exist for cars with push-button/keyless ignition???

    The design of the shifter used in the 2014/2015 JGC was idiotic. I’m glad to see that the 2016 has a conventional shifter once again. I wonder if the 2014/2015 models could be retro-fitted with the knob/dial used in the Dodge Durango?

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  • Mark Baruth, United States