DETROIT, Mich. — Jeep recalled its Wrangler and Gladiator models due to the increased threat of fire from an overheated clutch pressure plate. The vehicles could overheat and catch fire, according to Med News 365. The threat of a collision and risk for fire are two of the most common and most severe dangers associated with defective vehicle components. The driver and any passengers may suffer relatively minor to significant injuries, depending on speed and other factors if the vehicle crashes. With a risk of fire, the most significant danger is an explosion. Debris flying away from the exploding engine could strike people in the area. Anyone in the car could also suffer burns in a fire that could be deadly, or lead to long-term treatment and recovery.
The Jeep models under recall at this time are the 2018 to 2020 Wranglers and the 2020 Gladiator pickup-style vehicles with manual transmissions. The defective clutch pressure plates in these vehicles are designed to transfer the torque generated by the engine to the transmission. When the clutch pressure plate does not work correctly, the continuous friction generated by the faulty part could overheat and, at a minimum, crack the transmission case. If the transmission case cracks, then debris could enter through the crack and infiltrate the transmission, thereby causing a fire.
The driver might notice a burning smell if the clutch plate catches fire. Also, the clutch pedal might move further down than before to disengage the gears if there is a problem with the clutch pressure plate.
Jeep is in the process of developing a fix for the problem. Owners of the recalled models should anticipate receiving notice about the recall from the manufacturer at the end of April. Jeep would install a new pressure clutch plate as part of the recall repair. No repairs will be made under the recall program until Jeep determines the best strategy to repair the defect.
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