In an original investigation into consumer complaints to the government, Consumer Reports has found an unusually high number of complaints related to the fuel system of the Jeep Wrangler, starting in the 2007 model year. The Wrangler problems were highlighted by our statistics department due to the spike in complaints.
One owner of a 2007 two-door Wrangler complained, “My fuel tank overflows when filling tank. Every time. Every filling station we have tried.”
Several owners also complained that their vehicle stalled or wouldn’t start when facing downhill.
The problem mainly affects the current-generation Wranglers, from 2007 and 2008, as well as the previous-generation two-door Wrangler Unlimited from 2006.
Of the 1,339 complaints received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on 2007-2010 Wranglers, as of Monday, 404 were related to fuel system complaints and about ¾ of those made reference to fuel “overflowing,” “spilling,” or being “overfilled.”
Based on those complaints, NHTSA has opened a preliminary investigation into the problem--a first step in the process that can lead to a recall.
Jeep has issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to instruct dealerships how to repair the problem by replacing the fuel tank ventilation hose. The TSB is listed as NHTSA item number 10032006, although it seems to be miscategorized as Engine:Cooling:Diesel. There is no diesel engine available in the Wrangler in the United States. According to the NHTSA complaints, the problem seems to have been fixed starting with 2010 model-year Wranglers. (Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend the Wrangler, both because of its poor on-road performance and its worse-than-average reliability.)
Iif you’re considering a used car, be sure to check for outstanding recalls and service bulletins on the NHTSA website. And make sure all outstanding recalls and technical service bulletins have been performed.
Likewise, if you have a true problem with a vehicle, file a detailed report with NHTSA to aid in facilitating a remedy. We’ll be watching.