WATER IS LEAKING INTO MY JEEP

Jeep models Wrangler and Liberty are fast earning a reputation for allowing drivers to experience the outdoors more than in any other vehicle, but not in a positive way. For the past several model years, a multitude of Jeep owners have complained of wet seats, wet headliners, standing water in the floorboards and trunk area, and even water dripping onto passengers from the roof and windshield. Unfortunately, Chrysler has yet to solve its productions issues for water intrusion into new Jeep vehicles and has thus far offered no realistic options for owners experiencing this problem. If you have a Jeep that just won’t keep the weather outside during a rain or snowstorm, you may have a lemon.

A search at the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) website reveals a multitude of similar consumer complaints regarding the Jeep Wrangler and Patriot models for water leak problems. Likewise, at Edmunds.com, with titles such as “I have lake in my Jeep” and “Drip, Drip”, 5 out of 19 owners who posted reviews of their 2011 Wranglers complained of water leaks.

Chrysler would have us believe it is addressing the issue post-production, but a review of its recommended “fixes” leaves much to be desired. Moreover, in recent technical service messages to its authorized dealers, Chrysler’s instructions suggest more of a “band-aid” approach than an actual permanent fix, much to the frustration of Wrangler and Patriot owners.

For the 2011 Jeep Wrangler, for example, Chrysler has issued at least 4 technical service bulletins (“TSBs”) on the water leak issue, 2 of them released as recently as January, 2012 (TSB 23-025-11, 23-029-10, 23-001-12, and 23-046-12). The release of multiple TSBs on the water leak issues gives the first impression of a serious response to the problem. However, a review of the technical information provided thus far recommends only a notching, cutting, gluing and/or taping of existing door and window seals, or in some cases removing and replacing seals with newer seals only slightly modified. For those with a “Lake in their Jeep” the application of duct tape or notches to existing seals brings little comfort in the struggle for dry vehicle interiors.

A recall search at the NHTSA and Safecar.gov for possible fleet wide corrective measures reveals, unfortunately, no recalls yet issued by Chrysler for this prevalent issue, showing Chrysler continues to downplay the issue and has yet to commit to serious efforts towards a cure. This is more disturbing considering that water intrusion is not only inconvenient and uncomfortable for driver and passengers, but poses the very real risk of harm to vehicle components. As your trusted family mechanic can tell you, water inside a vehicle can result in a multitude of negative consequences in the form of corroded electronics, soiled carpet and seats, mold and mildew growth and foul odors, and the corrosion of metal floors, doors, and body panels from the inside out.

As such, Wrangler and Patriot owners are left wondering when Chrysler will take these issues seriously. Judging from the material released by Chrysler so far, it shows no signs of changing its design or production to eliminate the issue in the build, or provide the parts and technical information their dealers require for a realistic chance of correction once in service. Until Chrysler does take this issue seriously, Jeep owners will continue to lament their decisions to buy into the Jeep family of vehicles. If you own a Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Patriot and are tired of wet feet and excuses, you should contact an attorney to determine your rights. You likely have more options than the duct tape, glue and weather stripping you have been offered so far.

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