How to File a Lemon Law Claim for a Jeep

Unfortunately, Jeep is one of the biggest culprits of manufacturing lemons in the US (along with GMC, Fiat, Cadillac, Dodge, Porsche, Volkswagen, Volvo, Subaru, and Land Rover). Roughly one in every 100,000 Jeeps produced is a lemon—compared to, for example, one in every 11.6 million produced by Toyota. Jeep is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and headquartered in Amsterdam.

Here you can see the available models of Jeep vehicles, how they stand up against other Jeep models, complaints received, and their “Pain Rank” (ownership hassle level) as calculated by

  • Most reliable Jeep: Gladiator (Pain Rank: 0.64, Complaints: 5)
  • 2nd most reliable: Compass (Pain Rank: 15.36, Complaints: 374)
  • 3rd most reliable: Wrangler (Pain Rank: 34.75, Complaints: 1,858)
  • 4th most reliable: Renegade (Pain Rank: 53.84, Complaints: 557)
  • 5th most reliable: Cherokee (Pain Rank: 61.91, Complaints: 1,846)
  • Least reliable: Grand Cherokee (Pain Rank: 70.81, Complaints: 3,038)

Most Common Jeep Problems

Of the 2015 and newer Jeeps, these chronic defects are most likely to result in particular Jeep models becoming lemons:

  • Jeep Cherokee – engine stalls or doesn’t start, transmission, using up excessive amounts of oil, over-the-limit emissions, infotainment system getting hacked, active head restraints deploying without being triggered.
  • Jeep Commander – water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), engine stalls or doesn’t start
  • Jeep Compass – vibrating at high speeds/while braking (“death wobble”), engine stalls or doesn’t start, water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), dashboard lights won’t turn off, transmission
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – transmission, engine stalls or doesn’t start (the most common Grand Cherokee complaint), water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), dashboard lights won’t turn off, valve stem corrosion, problematic EcoDiesel emissions, infotainment system getting hacked, wrinkles/buckles in the leather dashboard, rear impact fires.
  • Jeep Gladiator – transmission, engine, steering
  • Jeep Liberty – water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), vibrating at high speeds/while braking (“death wobble”), engine stalls or doesn’t start, dashboard lights won’t turn off.
  • Jeep Patriot – vibrating at high speeds/while braking (“death wobble”), engine, water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), dashboard lights won’t turn off, transmission
  • Jeep Renegade – water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), using up excessive amounts of oil, over-the-limit emissions, transmission
  • Jeep Wrangler – vibrating at high speeds/while braking (“death wobble”), engine stalls or doesn’t start, water leaks (vents, doors, windows, roof), dashboard lights won’t turn off, the electronic sway bar disconnecting, crash sensor defects, shrapnel upon airbag deflation, poor quality welding, gas overflowing and spilling out at the pump

How to File a Lemon Law Claim for a Jeep

As you can see, most of these models have the same or similar problems. These are some non-specific Jeep problems we see as well:

  • Air conditioning problems
  • Airbags exploding
  • Ball joint problems
  • Coolant leaks
  • Cruise control problems
  • Dashboard problems (“check engine” light malfunctioning)
  • Engine dying while in drive
  • Engine failing to turn off and turn on
  • Engine failing to downshift
  • Engine misfiring
  • Engine RPMs erratic (accelerating on its own, failing to accelerate)
  • Exhaust leaks
  • Fires (commonly caused by transmission fluid leaks)
  • Gas spills over
  • Overheating easily
  • Seat belt sensor problems
  • Shaking, shuttering violently (“death wobble”)
  • Shifting problems
  • Smells like gas inside the Jeep
  • Suspension/strut problems
  • Throttle sensors showing the wrong position
  • TIPM problems
  • Transmission problems (slipping, rolling)
  • Windows won’t roll up or down

Jeep Warranty Terms

In order to pursue a lemon law claim against Jeep, your Jeep must still be under warranty (unless you have other active warranty coverage from the dealership or an extended warranty you purchased). Here are the details of Jeep’s standard warranty:

  • General warranty: 3 years -or- 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years -or- 60,000 miles
  • Anti-corrosion perforation warranty: 3 years (unlimited miles)
  • Federal emissions warranty: 2 years -or- 24,000 miles

There are a few very specific exceptions for certain components with warranty protection of up to 8 years -or- 80,000 miles. If your vehicle does not meet any of these requirements anymore (too old, too many miles), then it’s unlikely the lemon law can help you. Consult an attorney just to be sure.

Filing a Lemon Law Complaint Against Jeep

To initiate a lemon law claim, against Jeep it is essential to ensure that any required repairs are carried out at a Jeep dealership while your vehicle is still covered by warranty.

Negotiating a settlement can vary in duration, but it ultimately leads to the resolution of your lemon law case. If your Jeep qualifies under the lemon law, the lawyer will take your case.

Go to the Jeep Dealer for Repairs

In addition to still being under warranty, for you to bring a valid lemon law claim, all of the repairs must be completed at the Jeep dealer. Even if you yourself are a highly skilled mechanic, and it’s frustrating dealing with Jeep’s notoriously slow in-house repairs, it’s imperative to get serviced at the dealer.

Remember, the dealer will fix your under-warranty defect free of charge. Ensure that the way the dealership words your complaint in the service records is accurate and to the severity you mentioned. In other words, if you complained of the Jeep zooming forward suddenly while in cruise control and then stalling, don’t let them minimize that to “rough shifting.”

Keep Meticulous Records

Start a folder with every receipt, invoice, phone message, anything you sign at the dealership, etc. If your Jeep’s defect can be safely recorded on video, take a video whenever you notice the issue (or photo). Start an incident log noting dates, times, durations, conditions, dealership phone calls, mechanic emails, etc—the more detailed, the better.

Think about what you’ll need to prove in court if it gets to that point, unfortunately. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, it’s important to save receipts for additional expenses you incur as a result of your Jeep’s defects. For instance, if you need to stay in a hotel room for three nights and eat in restaurants that whole time because your Jeep died on a road trip, save those receipts for future reimbursement.

Speak to an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney

If your Jeep continues to experience numerous malfunctions or the same single issue keeps happening over and over, it’s time to reach out to an Orange County lemon law attorney for a case review. You’ll need to share your records (mentioned above) with the lawyer plus your sales contract, pink slip, written warranty (if available), and other legal documentation. If your Jeep qualifies under the lemon law, the lawyer will take your case and begin working to get your purchase refunded or your Jeep exchanged.

Sending Jeep a Demand Letter

The lemon law “buyback” or claim process begins with your lawyer writing a letter to Jeep explaining the defect (s), what has been done to repair the situation, and pointing out specifically which warranty element and lemon law protects you in this case. Your lawyer will communicate to Jeep how you would like the situation to be remedied as well.

Receive a Reply from Jeep

In response to your demand letter, Jeep will typically say one of four things:

  1. Jeep will offer you a refund (i.e., a “buyback”).
  2. Jeep will offer to exchange your Jeep for a different one. If you prefer this remedy, you’ll get a brand-new Jeep, but your payments will not reset and start over from zero—they will continue as normal.
  3. Jeep will offer some hybrid solution or try to negotiate something.
  4. Jeep will say that your claim isn’t valid and explain why, such as saying your complaint does not qualify under the warranty or that you caused the problem yourself.

If you’ve ever had to make an insurance claim, the lemon law process can feel very similar.

Negotiate a Settlement with Jeep

It’s hard to say what specifically this part of the process may entail as each case is different, but it can go quickly (a few weeks) or slowly (several months) and be nerve-racking. Once a settlement is reached, it can still take a sometimes frustrating amount of time to actually have the remedy put into action. Don’t expect that if you accept the new Jeep exchange, you’ll be able to drive to the dealer later that day, pick a new model, and be done with it.

Is Your Jeep Under Recall?

If your Jeep is no longer under warranty, it is possible that the defect you are experiencing has been recalled. If this is the case, that means Jeep should fix it for free, regardless of how many miles you’ve driven or anything else. Here are some recent Jeep recalls to be aware of:

  • Gladiator ‘21-’22 – Faulty fuel pumps
  • Grand Cherokee ‘22 – Defective tail light assembly
  • Grand Cherokee ‘14-’20 – Faulty fuel pumps
  • Grand Cherokee ‘18-’19 – ABS malfunctions
  • Grand Cherokee L ‘21-’22 – Defective tail light assembly
  • Grand Cherokee L ‘21 – Software problem that causes the headlights to switch off
  • Grand Cherokee L ‘21 – Airbags disabling due to a software problem
  • Grand Cherokee L ‘21 – Faulty master lighting switch
  • Grand Cherokee L ‘21 – Radio malfunction due to software problem
  • Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer ‘22 – Airbags disabling due to a software problem
  • Wrangler ‘20-’22 – Faulty fuel pumps
  • Wrangler ‘20 – Fuel supply connector prone to cracking
  • Wrangler PHEV ‘22-’23 – Wrong fasteners for the battery pack

Before bringing your Jeep to the dealer over a recall issue, call ahead and confirm all the details. You can also check for yourself using the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) “active recall” website. This platform will ask you for your Jeep’s VIN and then show you all recalls currently affecting your vehicle.

Is Your Jeep Involved in a Class Action Lawsuit?

If your Jeep doesn’t qualify under the lemon law or for a recall, your third option is to see if your Jeep was possibly involved in a class action lawsuit. If so, you may be entitled to a portion of the settlement.

Settlements in cases like those are not typically huge, but it’s better than nothing. Here are some Jeeps that have been involved in class action lawsuits:

  • Cherokee ‘14-’20 (Gizzarelli, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Compass ‘10-’17 (Nuwer, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Compass ‘17-’20 (Gizzarelli, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Gladiator ‘20 (Flores, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Grand Cherokee ‘11-’18 (Nuwer, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Grand Cherokee ‘14-’15 (Deryl Wall, Justine Andollo, and Danielle & Joby Hackett, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Liberty ‘10 (Spratley, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al, f/k/a Chrysler Group LLC)
  • Liberty ‘10-’12 (Nuwer, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Liberty ‘10-’12 (Velasco, et al v. Chrysler Group LLC)
  • Patriot ‘10-’17 (Nuwer, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Renegade ‘15-’20 (Gizzarelli, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Wrangler Rubicon JK ‘07-’17 (Flores, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)
  • Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon JKU ‘07-’17 (Flores, et al v. FCA US LLC, et al.)

Jeep Lemon Law FAQs

I Bought my Jeep “As Is”…Do I Qualify for the Lemon Law? 

If your Jeep is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, in most cases, it isn’t going to matter if there was a sticker in the window saying “Sold As Is.” If you bought your Jeep used from a licensed dealer, and it was sold as is, again, the manufacturer’s warranty typically overrides that.

On the other hand, if your Jeep has a salvage title, for example, it could be one month old with 100 miles on it and still not be eligible for lemon law coverage. The bottom line is that if you purchased the Jeep knowing there was a major mechanical problem with it, there are not going to be many applicable remedies.

What If I Can’t Afford to Hire a Lemon Law Attorney?

A lemon law claim is like a lawsuit. You don’t need to pay anything upfront or during the case. When your lawyer wins your claim, he or she will send your bill to Jeep, and Jeep will be legally responsible for paying your attorney fees. If it turns out that your lawyer was unable to resolve your claim, you won’t owe anything.

What Can I Do If My Warranty Already Expired?

There are still options if your Jeep is defective and it’s no longer under warranty. Again, check for recalls and class actions, but you can also file a small claims case against the Jeep dealer and/or Jeep’s corporate office. If applicable, you can file a regular lawsuit against Jeep for pain and suffering or physical injuries and losses you’ve incurred as a result of your Jeep’s defects.

These remedies might not necessarily result in a buyback, but they may help reduce some of your financial burden.

Should I Try Mediation or Arbitration with Jeep?

Court cases can seem endless, intimidating, and risky. However, mediation and arbitration often work in Jeep’s favor, and that is why Jeep may be pushing you to try these alternate methods of dispute resolution regarding your defective vehicle. In mediation, you are rarely allowed to have your attorney with you. The attorneys for Jeep have the opportunity, not in front of a judge’s watchful eye, to speak directly to you up close and personal.

Unfortunately, they frequently use this opportunity to intimidate and play mental games with you. Another reason Jeep may try to steer you towards arbitration or mediation is that the lemon law gives you the right to have Jeep reimburse your legal fees, and mediation can be less costly than litigation. Please consult an experienced lemon law lawyer to learn your rights.

If I Bought My Jeep from a Private Party, Does the Lemon Law Apply?

Some lemon laws are federal, and some are on the state level. California’s lemon laws do tend to offer more harsh penalties for auto manufacturers, but the federal lemon laws are more broad. Having said that, unfortunately, California prohibits private party vehicle transactions from being protected under its lemon law. This doesn’t mean that you might not still be able to seek protection under federal lemon laws, but this is another reason to consult a dedicated attorney for clarification.

An Orange County Lemon Law Attorney Can Help!

Hiring a lemon law attorney can help things go much faster in getting you back on the road again. Allow to review the facts of your case in a timely manner, free of charge. Our Orange County lemon law attorney can tell you right away whether you have a valid lemon law claim or not. We are passionate about protecting consumers and keeping roadways and families safe.

Submit your case documents for a fast and free review today, or reach out to us at 657-529-5239.

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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