New technology brings new potential problems, as many Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 owners have discovered. Owners of these vehicles have come together to file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer FCA Chrysler alleging that the brand’s eTorque engines are defective.
The plaintiffs claim that affected vehicles with the brand’s “mild hybrid” systems are prone to sudden engine stalls and unexpected application of the emergency brake. Vehicles included in the lawsuit include 2019-2022 Ram 1500 trucks and Jeep Wrangler SUVs. Some drivers report receiving error messages instructing them to shift their vehicles into park. Others allege that the cars shifted into park without their input. In all cases, owners are clear that the problems occur without warning.
The class action has yet to be certified, so the plaintiffs have a long road ahead. If you have already experienced issues with your Jeep or Ram’s eTorque engine, you don’t have to wait until the lawsuit is resolved, potentially years from now. Here’s how to spot if your vehicle has a defective eTorque system, why these “mild hybrid” engines may be prone to defects, and what you can do about a faulty Chrysler, Ram, or Jeep.
Are You at Risk of Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler Engine Defects?
The 2019-2022 Wranglers and Ram 1500s included in the lawsuit come with the eTorque engine, which is intended to improve gas mileage. The engines use innovative technology to boost acceleration and recover energy from braking and gear shifting to generate battery charge. The problem is that in doing so, Chrysler has introduced some critical failure points into the engine.
The most obvious problem is that the eTorque system is directly tied to the vehicle’s automatic start and stop functions. If something goes wrong, the “AutoStart” may fail, and “AutoPark” will automatically engage. Theoretically, this is an important safety feature that prevents cars from rolling away if the engine doesn’t start. However, it appears it may be causing vehicles that are actively in operation to stall and then come to a stop unexpectedly.
Chrysler has even acknowledged similar issues in the past. In 2022, the manufacturer released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) for a small number of 2021-2022 Ram 1500 trucks with eTorque engines. The TSB stated the trucks may experience “an engine stall at low engine mileage and mostly low vehicle speed.” It then instructed dealerships to update the software controlling the hybrid system.
This means that if you own a Ram 1500 or Jeep Wrangler, you may be at risk of having your engine suddenly stall while you’re driving.
Why Electric and Hybrid Engines May Have More Problems
The push for hybrid and electric vehicles may be best for the environment, but converting from pure combustion engines isn’t without struggles. Many car manufacturers are feeling the pressure to release new, better, and more efficient engines every year to keep up with the demand for green vehicles. This means that the normal process of incremental improvements is being circumvented.
Instead of slowly tweaking an engine to find potential efficiency gains, manufacturers are releasing entirely new systems like the eTorque engine. Hybrid and electric cars have not existed long enough to become truly standardized, so many of these new systems have been engineered from scratch. The engineers in charge of the design do not have millions of past vehicles to study, so they cannot anticipate every possible problem the systems may encounter.
As a result, current hybrid and electric engines will almost certainly have unexpected flaws that won’t be discovered without heavy use. The only way to find them is to road-test thousands of vehicles, which Chrysler and other manufacturers don’t have the time to do when releasing new engines every other year. In other words, hybrid and electric vehicle owners are doing road tests on behalf of the manufacturers.
Can You Make a Lemon Law Claim for Your Chrysler Jeep Ram Vehicle?
If you discover your Chrysler vehicle has a serious engine defect, it may be your Jeep or Ram is a lemon. If that’s the case, you don’t need to wait for the Jeep Wrangler lawsuit to be concluded. Instead, you can file a claim for your Chrysler engine problems directly.
For a car to be considered a lemon under California law, it needs to meet four criteria:
- It has a manufacturing defect that affects its safety, value, or utility
- It’s still under warranty, which typically means being less than three years old
- It first demonstrated a manufacturing defect within 18 months or 18,000 miles of purchase or lease
- The manufacturer couldn’t repair it in a reasonable number of attempts, or it has been in the shop for 30 days due to manufacturing defects.
If your Wrangler or Ram 1500 meets these criteria, you could be eligible to file a lemon law claim. These claims allow you to request that the manufacturer either replace or refund your vehicle because it does not live up to the promises made when you purchased it.
A lemon claim can be resolved significantly faster than a class action Ram 1500 lawsuit. If you’re eligible, lemon law claims can help you get Jeep or Ram engine stalls repaired, replaced, or refunded without waiting for years and potentially having the case thrown out. You don’t need to accept that your Ram or Jeep is a lemon. At Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys, we specialize in helping California owners hold carmakers accountable for defective vehicles. You can discuss your case with our expert lemon law attorneys by scheduling your consultation today.