News Reviews

Jeep recalls 50,000 vehicles in Australia

You’d think that shifting an automatic transmission into Park would be a fairly straightforward exercise right? Apparently though, it’s not the case with late model Jeep Grand Cherokees. In fact, Jeep Chrysler has issued a voluntary recall on 44,212 Grand Cherokees and 3239 Chrysler 300 sedans stating that drivers “may inadvertently fail to engage the Park position before exiting the vehicle”. The recall seems to be about the design of the automatic gear levers, which are apparently easy to not engage into Park properly. Huh, who woulda thought? From what we understand, it’s the electronic shift levers that are causing the problems. They return to a central position after selecting Drive, Neutral, Reverse or Park, so you think you’ve put it in the right gear, it still returns to a pre-set position, muddying the waters and making things confusing.

Jeep GC Interior

To fix the issue, Jeep Australia is going to “enhance transmission warnings and transmission-shift strategy” via a software update. What that means in reality will probably translate to another warning bell or two and a transmission-shift algorithm to prevent the vehicle from moving under certain circumstances or something until it’s in Park.

Jeep GC rear

The recall coincides with the death of US actor Anton Yelchin (if you’ve seen the recent Star Trek flicks, he’s the bloke who plays Chekov), who was found pinned to a gate post by his Grand Cherokee after it rolled backwards down a steep driveway. A US-based recall of 1.1 million Jeep and Chrysler vehicles was already underway when the actor was killed, but it is unknown if his vehicle had had the recall work done at the time of his death.

Jeep Australia tell us that there have been no reports of “roll away” incidents in Australia, and they urge all customers to consult their owners manual and make sure they know how to properly select Park… Seems kinda obvious to us, but what do we know?

49 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Really is this where we are going??? Why cant we just go back to school and learn to do out job properly.
    If people were taught how to drive and then CONCENTRATED on the job of driving and stop blaming others for their stupidity the world would be a better place.

  • I am surprised how many ignorant comments are coming in, people who have never owned a jeep, people who don’t have the guts to leave a name and people who drive something other than a Jeep who are happy with their drive but bag the Jeep.
    My advice to anybody contemplating buying a Jeep….listen to the people who know them, drive them and own them. Listen also to the negativeity but keep in mind, human nature dictates that unhappy buyers make more noise than happy buyers.

  • No problem with the car, just the clowns who buy these vehicles, and think ( I’ve had cars before I Know everything) I encountered a clown with his new jeep, Had his rear fog lights, at eye level, right in my face. At the traffic lights I told him to turn the fog lights off, because people don’t know if he is riding his brakes. His reply ” I can’t turn them off, it came from the factory like that” I said read your manual you mug. Weeks later saw same car, and yes, he had read the manual.

  • Sorry to see these people criticizing, if anything is American sourced it’s automatically no good according to their logic take a jeep for a drive you might be pleasantly surprised.

    • When I bought my JGC limited in June 2012 the dealer advised that all the Australian imports came from a factory in Austria and not the USA. I have nothing against cars made in the USA. I must say the finish in my Jeep is really first class. Cheers Michael

  • We have just driven 10,700Km across the USA from LA to Orlando in a new Jeep Grand Cherokee petrol RWD with the electronic gear change 8 speed auto.
    Apart from a 10 minute look around the car when picked up and a learn on the go drive to the hotel there was no instruction from the rental company.
    We drove around LA for a couple of days and earned how everything worked from the book.
    I found the foot operated park brake was not effective, you could move the car with it on accidentally and sometimes I had to release and reapply it about every 3 times when we parked, I thought I might bend the pedal it needed so much pressure. That’s probably why the Americans don’t use the park brake.
    The gear change was a quick learning curve, just follow the indication on the dash and lever then no trouble in 10,700 Km. it told us when not in park. You have to have your foot on the brake to put it into park and turn the engine off with a start/stop button, no keys.
    The car was good to drive, GPS did get lost on the I40 twice but was great everywhere else. Power was adequate but my diesel Territory would run rings around it for acceleration and handling and ride. Getting up to freeway speed to slot in to traffic, even trucks, was a bit scary at times. again Territory would leave it for dead.
    It had all the bells and whistles, Electric this and that, heated seats and wheel were a boon in the snow.
    The brakes were great as was the cruise control. It was also great in the city, especially parking, the Americans know how to measure parking spots to suit real cars. The mirrors dropped down in reverse so you could see the curbs.
    Good experience, Good car overall.

  • My wife owns this car and when I mentioned to her that there may be a recall regarding the gear selector her response was “no way, I don’t want them to touch it, I like it the way it is!”. When I explained why she said she has never had such issue in the last 2 years we have owned it. I have driven the car and have never had such issue, you only have to watch the screen in the dashboard to see what gear your in. Its a German transmission and used in other high end cars so it cant be all bad, think people have to remember that there are thousands more Jeeps on the roads than the high end brands so if there was such an issue odds are it will be noticed in the Jeep before another brand. Also the car came with a card hanging off the gear selector clearly stating that this was a new style of gear selector and that it operates slightly different to the old school antique type selector (which lets face it most manufacturers are moving away from) so its up to people move with the times and make sure you understand what your doing before you jump in and take off!. We have owned Toyotas, Nissans, Holdens and an Audi but the Jeep is by far they best car we have owned overall in regards to style, power, comfort, equipment levels, economy and long distance driving but most importantly my wife loves it and doesn’t want anything else so for me its a case of Happy Wife, Happy Life 🙂
    The only time I can recall of this type of incident is when I had to move a friends Toyota Prado out of my driveway and it has the most out-dated looking clunky gear selector that looks like the designer was drunk and could not make the shift straight! I managed to do the same thing where it got stuck in one of the notches where you have to actually shift left or right thinking I was in Park I took my foot of the brake and the car rolled. As out-dated and ridiculous looking I think the selector is I wasn’t blaming the car, it was my bad for not actually looking down to see if it was in park (at least the Jeep has the selector displayed in the dashboard screen and a warning saying ‘not in park’).
    I think its easy for anyone to ‘bag’ out anything that is different but at the end of the day people get comfortable and complacent with what they are used to and it is up to them to make sure they fully understand what they are doing when they encounter something new or different, especially in the car space. Thankfully there are manufacturers out there that actually innovate or try new technology otherwise the world would be a boring place, for people that can’t keep up with that, perhaps they should stick with brands that still use old tech!

  • to those who mock the Jeep, get a life. Unless you’ve owned and driven one your opinion means sh&t. Having owned every major make of 4×4 except a Landy ,I’d put my JK as one of two fave 4×4 ,on par with the 80

  • Marc the problem is people not putting it in park and not applying the park brake. They don’t use park brakes in the US so it is a bigger problem over there. The fix is the trans will automatically go into park if you open the door.

    • Thanks Benno
      I get how you could posdibly forget engage the handbrake, but the car still forces you to put in park before it turns off.
      Anyway they can fix it at the next service.
      Cheers
      Marc

  • Every manufacturer has had to recall vehicles. Forget the ” Brand A is better than brand B” crap, it’s seldom helpful. I know a couple of Jeep owners and generally the only issue they have is with slack after sales service. This can also be true of every dealership if they have disinterested staff. I’d love to own a late model turbo diesel Jeep, Cruiser, Discovery or Pajero but just can’t make the dollars stretch that far at the moment.

  • Don’t own a jc, but understand the recall is to improve safety by engineering safety into the design, so as to remove reliance on the human, who is the weakest link in the chain when it comes to safety. The comments blaming the driver for being too stupid, careless etc while maybe true in some cases, also reflect ignorance. It’s applying ‘heiarchy of controls’ and taking the human out of the equation, as is usually for the best.

  • We had a WG until it was destroyed in a flood (2003 model; Grand Cherokee). It was beautiful to drive with a great Chyrsler V8 tweaked by Mercedes but Chrysler in reality doesn’t give a dam about their customers. They had an Australia wide recall which I think is still in place for over 10,000 vehicles, again to do with software. Apparently the computer (one of five) could inadvertantly activate the air bags as you were travelling down the road and I believe it caused at least one fatality. To my knowledge in true Jeep fashion it still hasn’t been solved and no cars have ever really been recalled. Oh! if only Ralph Nader was still alive. These two bit companies that only care about profits and their bottom line would be put out of business for their lack of concern for human life.

  • I’ve had a similar problem – only thing was I pushed the gear selector all the way forward with engine running thinking it was in park, applied the park brake, pushed the button to open the boot door – at this stage I should have known something was wrong as the door wouldn’t open. Any how in a hurry at the airport dropping somebody off got out of the car to open the boot door manually and still wouldn’t open! Went back inside to check the evic – then I knew straight away. Fortunately the park brake was on and we didn’t get run over as we were at the rear of the car. Jeep GC Limited 2014.

    Love my Jeep but 2 things – the maps are way out of date and on the last service there was still no up date for them and the indicator and wiper controls could be done a lot better – take a look at the Australian and Asian made motor vehicles.

  • We have a jeep, but I’m confused about the reported defect. Are they claiming the car can roll when engaged in park? Or is it that people are forgetting to put it in park? If it is the later I’m confused as to how this happens as you have to select park before the car will let you turn it off???

  • This is what happens when people get to lazy to drive a car….the fix was in the purchase of the car….get a manual transmission next time. If not available, demand one and or go elsewhere. We are at stage that we are trying to automate the automatic. …learn to drive and buy a real car….

  • I have the 2014 GC Diesel what a great vehicle to drive I enjoy the torque, acceleration and the great fuel economy.
    My other car is a Mercedes sedan I always enjoy driving the Jeep more than the Merc.

  • James, it’s the 2014/15 with the 8 speed.
    Michael, fiat bought Chrysler/jeep in 2011. The new 8 speed is from ZF which supplies to lots of high end manufacturers.

  • I have the 2012 GC and have found the foot brake very good. Tested it a couple of times down a slope attached with a 20FT caravan. By the way I paid $73K for mine I wouldn’t
    call that cheap. However It offered a lot more bang for bucks than its competitors.
    Have so far towed a caravan for 15K Klms and no problems. I think in 2012 the brand was still owned by Mercedes or still designed by Mercedes before they sold it to Fiat. Mine still has the 5 speed auto. Its a terrific vehicle. Its possible that Fiat may have dropped the ball since taking ownership.

  • Aaron. “u r playing with yourself”. Since you wont admit what u drive let me guess eg” a Jackaroo” or something sinister eg one of the other types! Since I have had my JC, I, with my partner have travelled to WA/QLD numerous times towing 3100 kgs of caravan trouble free. As for the issue at hand, I have had no such problem with my Jeep,” I will wait and see they send me notification to return my vehicle in for an inspection”. Finally, those who haven’t experienced a JC, “get a life”.

  • Absolutely agree Nathan. Standout performance and comfort, and very strong off road. Great article and great discussion. Perhaps Simon and Aaron are hanging out for the driverless car.

  • Sorry Simon. I have been driving for 25 years and the Grand Cherokee Limited is the best car I have ever owned or driven. Certainly wasnt “cheap” either. Typical bogan know all opinion.

  • Hi. I’ve my Jeep grand Cherokee since 2009. To date I have had “no” such problem than a broken front drive shaft. Jeep admitted it was the first one to break in as many years as I owned my Jeep. As for the Transmission/Brake problem “I admit I have had no such problems”. As for other manufacturer owners, they would not admit the problem if the fell over it! I love my Jeep.

  • Isn’t it amazing how many people who trash certain vehicles and who have never owned one or even driven one have some fix on the car or know somebody’s mother’s cousin’s grandfather’s son-in-law who had one and had a flat tyre they immediately classify them as rubbish.
    Do me a favour. Keep your unwarranted comments to yourself until you know what you are talking about.
    I have owned a Jeep for years and you can have your over priced Toyotas. I am quite happy thank you.

    • Not sure any of the owners are complaining Simon lol. Did you read the comments above? Summary – user error. That’s free. You probably knew that.

  • Sorry Brad but this shifter is an improvement over the previous 5 speed shifter and transmission. And it incorporates sport mode so you don’t have to fumble for it on the console. It’s a similar shifter to those used in Audie and bmws. The recall fix is to engage park whenever the driver door is opened, the problem with this is some drivers like to open the door when reversing trailers or off-roading in tight spots. But they have to fix it for the idiots who probably shouldn’t have a license.

  • Lol at Brads uninformed comment. The shifter technology used on these vehicles is actually German!! On top of that, when you exit the vehicle with engine running and not in park, you get a constant warning chime and the dashboard starts flashing a red warning notice saying vehicle not in Park. Not sure how far manufacturers have to go to protect against user error.

    Yes you can engineer the doors to stay locked unless vehicle is in Park (the GC does this with the tailgate and rear doors) and in the case of an accident, the engine is off and there are fail safe mechanisms in any car that has central locking to unlock the vehicle.

  • I have a BMW X5 with electronic trans shifter, has a big P on top. I haven’t heard of any issues with this system. sounds like user issues to me. Although if you exit the BMW and its not in park it automatically applies the park brake and puts the vehicle in park.

  • Typical cost cutting untested American engineering no way in hell I’d buy this AM crap.
    Also ya can’t engineer doors to automatically lock till parks engaged, what happens in the event of an accident and the doors won’t open.

  • i have a fiat ducato van same stable as jeep Chrysler the automatic does not have a park gear but relies on you to go to manual mode and put into gear also the manual has no reference to the use of the auto and there is no waning lights or buzzers to warn you have to rely solely on the handbrake

  • I lived in the US for 3 years and one of the things I noticed was that many people did not use the park brake. In the US it is referred to as the emergency brake and when I asked someone why they didn’t use it when putting the car in park they said it was for emergencies! On older American cars it was also more often a foot brake rather than a hand brake so maybe out of sight meant out of mind. The other thing I noticed was that there was a tendency of putting the car in park and leaving it running while exiting the car to run a task like collecting the mail, running into the shops, etc. Just do a search for “car stuck in reverse” in YouTube and you’ll get an idea of what happens when a car slips out of park into reverse. You’ll also notice that all of these video come from the US!

  • The Yanks dont use the handbrake as it is designated an EMERGENCY brake. Getting out of the car is not an emergency so they do not use it.

  • Not sure what the problem is because the Jeep won’t turn off unless the transmission is in Park? If it won’t turn off , your not in PARK!!

  • I have a Grand Cherokee and I can not see what all the fuss is about, I took notice of the instructions when I took delivery and then read thr operators manual. In reality it is very simple but I can so there could be an issue if the driver just stepped out of a vehicle with a mechanical type selector, but it all comes down to the operator and not the vehicle.
    It seems to be the case in our present socitity that a poor operator always blames his tools or whatever and not his ignorance.

  • When I first bought my Grand Cherokee, this same incident happened to me, and I blame myself. I stopped the car, left the engine running and got out for a brief moment. The car rolled away. I thought I had put it into Park, but it was still in Neutral. I should not have exited the car with the engine running.
    These cars are already programmed so you can’t switch the engine off unless it’s in Park, so the easy fix is to stop the drivers door from opening until it’s in Park. Having another alarm chime is not the answer, as there are already too many alarms in modern cars, and we tend to ignore them as “another bloody bell”
    The handbrake (foot operated in these cars) is as good as useless, by the way.

  • This is all because Americans are too lazy to use the handbrake. I’d be very surprised if an incident like this ever happened in Australia.

  • I have one of these vehicles and up to reading this article have been trying to simulate the problem. If you put it in Park then there is no issue. Is it more a case of drivers being conditioned to a mechanical selection than an electronic one? I believe so and a need, as with all dangerous machinery, for users to read the instructions and practise safety. Let’s hope the answer is not an alarm that says “are you sure” every time you select something in the vehicle.

  • Can’t roll if the handbrake is used, who would rely only on shifting into Park only to immobilize a 2 .3 ton vehicle on a steep slope. Driver error is partly to blame.

  • Perhaps they should have a chat with BMW: they’ve had an electronic transmission selector for years now with P being a button on top. I wonder if they’ve had any issues?

  • I own this car and it is quite simple to put it into park. Yes you can get it wrong just like any other auto, but it is equally simple to realise you missed the gear when it happens. If you are in drive and want to select park, push the button on top and push the shifter fully forward, it will move through 3 indents. If you only feel 1 or 2 indents then you didn’t make it to park. If you are unsure look at the indicator on the shifter or dash. And maybe even apply the park brake. They don’t do that in the US, but really this isn’t the first shifter ever designed to return to center and not the first shifter that someone has forgotten to engage park

  • So the recall isn’t a defect of the vehicle in any way it’s to inhance a safety feature to help a few that can’t find the big P at the top of the transmission

Get the latest 4X4 updates

Download Our Apps