An official investigation is now underway.
If you're the owner of a 2018 or 2019 Jeep Wrangler and/or Wrangler Unlimited, then you need to pay attention to what's currently happening. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has just announced it's opened an investigation into thousands of Wranglers built during those model years due to concerns they may be the victims of bad frame welds. This problem can also lead to dangerous steering issues. If this situation sounds somewhat familiar then you are correct.
The Office of Defects Investigation has been examining this issue since October 2018 after a JL Wrangler owner complained about their vehicle's frame, specifically that it hadn't been welded properly on the production line. The complaints stated some of the welds were porous, some weld drips and splashes, and lack of weld penetration. All of this can seriously affect the SUV's structural rigidity.
The ODI did not immediately begin its investigation after receiving this complaint, but rather requested additional information from Jeep regarding weld and previous steering complaints. Remember the "death wobble"? That led to a class-action lawsuit against FCA.
The NHTSA has not yet released its official findings, but it has enough evidence to open an investigation, which FCA is complying with. Unfortunately, the documents FCA shared with the NHTSA did not have enough information to determine whether the improper welds could compromise the Wrangler's structure, hence one reason for the newly opened inquiry. In addition, investigators want to determine whether those previous steering issues are related to faulty welding. No time frame has been given as to how long this investigation will last, but what's for certain is that this could lead to a costly recall on Jeep's part.
Fortunately, the automaker is not aware of any related injuries or fatalities due to faulty welds and let's hope it remains that way. For the record, the all-new Gladiator pickup truck is not involved in this investigation. Unfortunately, this is not the first time there have been concerns over the fourth-generation Wrangler's frame. Jeep previously recalled 18,000 JL Wranglers in October 2018 for another frame-related issue. As for the death wobble, Jeep claims there's no safety concern and installing a new steering damper solves the problem.