Jeep has issued a recall of over 33,000 vehicles due an issue with the clutch pressure plate. Among the affected vehicles are Wranglers made from 2018 to 2020 and the new 2020 Gladiator, each with manual transmissions.
In a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it was revealed that the clutch pressure plate is prone to overheating and cracking. The overheating is caused by friction, which in turn could lead to the plate fracturing. A fractured plate could potentially damage the transmission case, leading to hot debris contacting ignition sources. A fire could result. The NHTSA also reports that a fractured pressure plate could result in a “loss of propulsion” or a severe limit to the drivability of the vehicle.
A total of 33,237 vehicles are part of the recall. Almost all of them are Wrangler models, although roughly 3,500 Gladiator models are also affected. The vehicles all have manual transmissions and were built between August 23, 2017 and February 13, 2020.
The NHTSA cautioned that drivers might notice a burnt clutch smell while driving, or experience “excessive or abnormal” clutch-pedal travel. Both could be a sign that the clutch is about to fail. So far, the NHTSA noted that there have been no accidents and only one minor injury stemming from the issue.
Affected owners will start to receive notices from Jeep on April 22. In the meantime, Wrangler and Gladiator drivers can check the NHTSA recall site to manually see if their vehicle is included in the recall. Jeep has also issued a stop-sale order for any unsold vehicles affected by the recall.