Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator Recalled Over Toasted Clutch

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
jeep wrangler and gladiator recalled over toasted clutch

Jeep is recalling 33,237 Wranglers and Gladiators equipped with manual transmissions because the clutch plate can overheat and fracture. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recall report, the callback encompasses all Wranglers sold with a third pedal from the 2018-2020 model year, with the same being true for the 2020MY Gladiator.

The document suggests that an abundance of pressure could place the clutch plate in jeopardy, causing it to fracture and potentially break the transmission case. If the issue devolves to that point, Jeep says there’s a chance “heated debris” could contact ignition sources and cause a fire. Driving around with a snapped clutch plate won’t make for a smooth commute and will undoubtedly lead to additional damage the longer it’s left unaddressed.

Telltale signs that your vehicle may be about to have an issue include the always unpleasant burnt clutch smell and excessive or abnormal travel of the clutch pedal.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance office launched an investigation last November. In the two months following, they apparently narrowed down the issue — noting at least one fire and extensive damage to another vehicle’s transmission. Testing indicated that the clutch pressure plate had reached 1,100 degrees Celsius, with additional tests showing the scenario was repeatable with help from the supplier.

FCA says it’s currently working on a fix and will begin notifying owners on April 22nd. Repair will be free of charge, with the manufacturer asking affected Jeep owners to keep their receipts. Any attempts to fix the clutch problem prior to the recall should also be covered.

[Image: FCA]

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4 of 34 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Mar 14, 2020

    Is this a VW or a Jeep? I was a bit confused with all of the "no people just don't know how to drive a manual right" talk...sounded alot like some of my interactions with Volkswagen in years past.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Mar 14, 2020

    Saw a Gladiator while walking past my local FCA store. It had just been taken off the transporter. On the window, in that grease pencil they use, was Do Not Trade and Send for up Trim. Clearly signs of success !

  • Silverfin Silverfin on Mar 15, 2020

    Everyone who values reliability in a vehicle knows that Jeep Wranglers are junk and have a horrible reliability record. So the fact that they used substandard parts in the clutch plates is consistent with all the other failures of the Wrangler and should come as no surprise. I would like to have a vehicle with this capability but every time I mention this to someone they pull me aside and tell me their Jeep reliability horror stories. The MOAB edition was even said by one co-worker to mean "the mother of all bombs". He now happily drives a Toyota Forerunner TRD. Sure wish the US would import the Suzuki Jimmny...I would live with its quirks and 100 HP knowing that it is well built in comparison to the Jeep and will not fall apart.

  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Mar 17, 2020

    About 8000 miles on my OG-edition 2dr, soft top, manual, and no clutch issues yet. A low percent of these may be user error but "you're doing it wrong" is not going to lead to a recall - there is a weakness in the system. I suspect many manual buyers are repeat Wrangler buyers and/or repeat manual buyers. I had to order mine, when I went buying last year there was only 1 2DR MT within 100 miles. I'm not worried. I'll take a replacement of a wear item any day.