Car engines are delicate compared to the intensity of the work they perform. Your car’s engine is a finely tuned machine, and it needs to operate like one, or it could cause you some serious problems. That’s why Jeep Cherokee owners should be concerned about the potential for a recall related to water leaks in the car’s engine.
Any leak can be a severe problem, but water is particularly dangerous due to the potential for electrical shorts. Keep reading to learn why Cherokees may be recalled soon, what problems these leaks can cause, and what you can do if you think your car may have already suffered a serious leak.
Investigating Jeep Cherokees for Dangerous Leaks
Through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal government has officially opened an investigation into 2014-2020 year model Jeep Cherokees regarding potential water leaks. The NHTSA has received more than 80 complaints on the exact same issue: unexpected and unwanted activation of the emergency brake. These issues appear to be linked to a water leak within the vehicle’s engine block short-circuiting the electronic brake module.
According to reports, two common situations result from this defect. The first and less dangerous occurs when the car is parked or turned off. The leak damages the electronic brake module, and when the driver attempts to start the vehicle or shift into drive, it permanently shorts out. The driver is unable to make the car move.
The alternative is much more dangerous. Drivers will be operating their vehicle like usual, and the emergency brake will suddenly activate for no apparent reason. The leak has caused the brake module to short out while in operation. This forces the car to stop immediately, regardless of how fast it was going. It can lead to Jeeps stopping on crowded highways, at busy intersections, and many other dangerous places.
The NHTSA’s investigation will determine whether the leak is actually causing these malfunctions and, if so, whether it’s Jeep’s fault. Depending on the investigation results, Jeep may be required to recall affected vehicles to prevent the leak or replace the brake module with something waterproof.
The History of Water Leaks in Jeep Engines
Water leaks have become consistently more dangerous as cars have become more reliant on electrical systems. Modules stored in the engine compartment aren’t typically designed to be waterproof since the entire engine block is supposed to be protected from the elements. As such, a water leak that comes in contact with electronic components can cause them to short out, exactly like what’s allegedly happening with the Jeep Cherokee.
This isn’t the first time Jeep has had issues with water leaks, either. In 2015, the manufacturer recalled more than 163,000 Cherokees due to a similar short. Water leaked into the power liftgate control modules, causing them to short out. This posed a fire risk and prevented the liftgates from working. It should be noted that within the engine block, the liftgate and the brake module are extremely close today. What affects one often affects the other as well.
Furthermore, Jeep has issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) specifically connected to the brake modules for these cars. The TSB suggested that the brakes may experience corrosion, causing them to fail and activating the parking brake. While it doesn’t specify anything about a leak, in most cases, corrosion on an electronic component is caused by water.
These details suggest that Jeep is aware of a potential leak within its Cherokee vehicles and that it might cause the emergency brake to engage. Should the NHTSA discover that Jeep has been ignoring these issues and a recall is necessary, Jeep will be required to repair cars experiencing the problem for free and may face severe fines as well.
How to Identify Water Leaks in Your Cherokee
Leaks are never good, and they can be hard to identify. The sooner you confirm that your Cherokee is experiencing a water leak, the sooner you can get it fixed and potentially prevent a dangerous accident when your brakes short out. Here’s how to find out if your car’s engine is suffering from water winding up where it shouldn’t be.
- Pay attention to engine temperature. Your car’s radiator is usually filled with water to help keep your engine cool. If your car’s engine temperature gets too high, it might be a sign that the radiator is leaking water somewhere.
- Place cardboard under your engine. If enough water leaks into your engine, it will also leak out. For instance, if the leak comes from your radiator, you’ll notice a large wet spot on the cardboard as the liquid escapes from the bottom of your car. If the wet area has no smell, color, or greasiness, it’s probably water.
- Open the hood and look for water. If you’re worried about water leaking into the engine from outside, you can check the conditions under the hood. After a rainstorm or car wash, pop the hood and see if you notice any moisture or steam. Just don’t touch anything if the car has been running since it will likely be hot.
- Regularly have your engine checked by a mechanic. Finally, if you’re worried about corrosion, have your mechanic periodically inspect the brake and liftgate modules. They’ll tell you if they notice any corrosion so you can get the leak repaired before it shorts out something important.
Your Jeep Cherokee May Be a Lemon
Keeping delicate electrical components from getting wet is a fundamental expectation of any manufacturer. If your Cherokee has suffered from a brake failure due to corrosion more than once, it may qualify as a lemon under California law. If so, you can pursue a lemon claim to hold Jeep accountable for your car’s manufacturing defect.
Reach out to the experts at Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys by messaging us online or calling our Ventura, California office at 866-761-2317. We’ll help you determine whether you have a lemon on your hands and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.