The love has been lost on the smaller Cherokee.
Everything's grand with Jeep these days. Grand Cherokees and Grand Wagoneers continue to dominate popularity among those who want seven slats in their teeth. But even with their popularity, it seems they can't escape the close watch of the NHTSA.
The latest model to be investigated by the federal agency is the Jeep Cherokee. It's been around since 2013 and is due for a redesign that can't come soon enough, with the brand only issuing small updates to keep it fresh. Until then, it continues to perform with a spotty record in the reliability department. A recent draft by the NHTSA calls for a fix that could affect 1.3 million Cherokees.
According to the report, the parking brake control module is to blame. It could become perceptible to water exposure, risking a short and premature activation of the parking brake, even if the vehicle is in motion. That's a safety no-no.
Models affected by this issue were built between 2014 and 2020; that's almost all of the Cherokees sold in that timeframe, with the NHTSA estimating 1,341,055 vehicles are affected. This certainly isn't the first time Jeeps have been prone to recalls, but the sheer volume and the fact that it's happened so late in the vehicle's lifespan are cause for concern.
This has not become an official recall yet, as the agency is still investigating after receiving more than 80 complaints from owners and evaluating all the repair invoices to find commonalities.
This is a potential issue the brand has been aware of, as back in 2016, a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) was issued for the replacement of the EPB module. Whether that was directly a result of similar water-related incidents, however, has not been published.
The NHTSA seems to be very interested in Stellantis at the moment, as it has further investigations into multiple vehicles from the manufacturer. It's looking into the 2019-2021 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan for a transmission fault that could, again, stall vehicles, while a position sensor in the camshaft could also cause a stall in 2016 models of the Dodge Journey and Jeep Compass.
The latter three haven't been subjected to recalls yet, but when the federal safety board is involved, it's never a good sign. If a recall is requested, an additional 300,000 vehicles could be affected.
With Jeep being an off-road brand touting its ability to go anywhere, perhaps it should look into a snorkel for every module made. We hope the brand is learning from its mistakes to constitute a design around the fact that computers don't like water.