More than 130,000 Cherokees could pose a fire risk due to an electrical short in the power liftgate module.
On Tuesday, Jeep announced a new recall for its midsize Cherokee, noting 2014-2016 model year vehicles could pose a fire risk. The problem, according to what the automaker told U.S. regulators, is that the power liftgate module (“PLGM”) is located in an area that is “vulnerable to water intrusion”. If water makes its way into the module, it could short-circuit, causing a fire whether the car is running or not.
Through April 27, 2023, Jeep says it is aware of 50 incidents, including 23 warranty claims and 21 field reports, potentially related to the defective power liftgate module. However, the automaker also says it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem in any market where it sold the Cherokee. FCA US (the U.S. division of larger automaker Stellantis) began investigating the issue in January 2022, after an “increasing trend in cargo compartment fires” in 2014 and 2015 models.
This campaign is related to an earlier recall
Back in 2015, FCA recall R67 (NHTSA recall 15V-393) attempted to solve the same issue in early KL-generation Cherokees. This campaign notes the PLGMs are still failing, even after dealer technicians took remedial action. Vehicles that don’t have power liftgates equipped are not impacted by this recall.
At the moment, Jeep does not have a remedy for the situation. All affected vehicles — 132,099 in total — were manufactured between February 27, 2013 and September 9, 2015. Vehicles built after that period did not have their PLGMs relocated, but they are “more robust” to water intrusion, according to the NHTSA defect report.
Jeep urges 2014-2016 Cherokee owners with power liftgates to park their vehicles outside for the time being. If possible, they should park away from structures and other vehicles. The automaker says it will notify dealers and owners about this recall on June 30, 2023.
You can find out more about the issue through the NHTSA’s website, or FCA’s own recall page, at least once we’re closer to that June 30 notification period. FCA’s number for this recall is 49A, while the NHTSA designates this campaign 23V-338.
Another note to Jeep Cherokee owners: There’s another open recall on similarly-aged vehicles for a power takeoff unit fault, which you can learn about here. Depending on what model you own, your car may not have both recall issues. However, vehicles with the affected PTUs also likely have power liftgates, so it’s something you’ll want to double-check with the automaker’s customer service line or your local Jeep dealer.