How bad? The headlights may not work.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start. First, the Detroit area factory where it's built stank. Literally. The paint shop was releasing a stinky and potentially toxic odor into nearby neighborhoods. And now the SUV itself has a problem that requires a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall.
Stellantis is recalling 36,929 units in the US plus another 1,300 or so in Canada, all of which are equipped with smart lighting modules (SLM). Unfortunately, an incomplete SLM software update could result in one or both of those headlights becoming inoperable. Headlights that don't work in a vehicle are illegal and highly dangerous.
The defect in these SUVs appears to have started on December 3, 2020 and lasted through July 27, 2021. Since then, SUVs built with the SLM feature have the correct software. It was in late November 2021 when the automaker became aware of a potential defect. By December 2, 2021, company officials had pinpointed the problem and decided to conduct the recall.
The recall notice says Jeep will begin notifying affected owners on January 28, 2022. Owners will be asked to take their Grand Cherokee L to their local dealership. A technician will then simply reprogram the software.
Like with any recall, this will be done free of charge. This is actually the second recall involving the Grand Cherokee L. The first one took place last October due to around 7,000 examples with high-beam headlights that were reportedly difficult to activate.
Recalls involving software-related issues are becoming increasingly common. This is because modern vehicles' main systems are literally computers running software. A glitch in the coding could greatly affect how these systems operate. But the good news is that once a glitch is discovered, fixing it correctly, quickly and relatively cheaply is possible.