2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

This article was written by Brian Jones, ASE Certified Master Tech and Lemberg Law Automotive Contributor

The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee is hailed as one of the best SUVs on the market. Even the company states it helps owners “leave a lasting impression.” However, the impression left on most isn’t favorable. This SUV suffers from a defective electrical system, faulty engine, failing powertrain and malfunctioning vehicle speed control.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2018    2019

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Problems with the Electrical System

In a modern SUV, the electrical system runs everything from starting the engine to playing tunes. When part of this system fails, it isn’t just an inconvenience, but also can create safety concerns.

This NHTSA complaint talks about both. “Center display that contains backup camera images, climate control, radio, navigation and many other functions is inoperable most of the time. This problem recurs daily, and the display is inoperable 90+% of the time. The absence of an operable backup camera display is a significant safety issue.”

NHTSA Campaign Number 20V191000 says that more than 300,000 vehicles might have a rearview camera image that doesn’t change because of a software error. This lingering image can cause confusion for the driver and lead to an accident. After all, when an owner is looking at one image, thinking that’s what they are backing into, they are going to be very surprised when there is actually a person back there. It’s just one more way to “leave a lasting impression.”

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Electrical Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2020 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE VEHICLE WAS AT STAND STILL, HEAT WOULD EXIT THE VENTS WHEN USING THE AIR CONDITIONAL. THE CONTACT STATED HE HAD TO OPEN THE WINDOWS FOR 10-15 MINUTES TO BE ABLE TO ENTER THE VEHICLE, DUE TO THE EXTREME HEAT INSIDE THE CAB. THE CONTACT WAS CONCERN THAT THE FAILURE WOULD OCCUR WHEN EXTREME HOT CLIMATE WEATHER. THE CONTACT STATED NO WARNING LIGHT WAS ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO LOCAL DEALER WERE MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE. DIAGNOSED WITH NEEDING UNKNOWN ELECTRONICALLY TO BE UPDATED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED AS OF YET. THE MANUFACTURER HAD NOT BEEN INFORMED OF FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 298.

Problems with the Engine

The engine on the Grand Cherokee is meant to be powerful and reliable, but the latter doesn’t seem to occur.

Here’s another NHTSA complaint. “After only 350 miles, my engine started sputtering and had to pull over. By the time we stopped the car the sputtering was violently shaking the vehicle. We had to get it towed only for the dealership to take several hours to replace a spark plug.”

A new vehicle shouldn’t need a spark plug replacement after 350 miles. But, it turns out that this isn’t the only problem. Service Bulletin #18-089-19 also talks about the possibility of an evaporator system leak that needs to be checked on these SUVs. Maybe the technicians were distracted while creating this engine?

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Engine Problems:

WITH MY FOOT COMPLETELY OFF THE ACCELERATOR, THE VEHICLE SPONTANEOUSLY ACCELERATES UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. WHILE IN STANDARD OR SPORT MODE, IN SECOND GEAR GOING ABOUT 20MPH, THERE IS A REPRODUCIBLE RPM SURGE THAT CAUSES THE VEHICLE TO LUNGE FORWARD. THIS SOMEWHAT FEELS LIKE BEING REAR ENDED.

Problems with the Transmission

In conjunction with the engine, the transmission seems to be just as unreliable.

In fact, the same NHTSA complaint from above, goes on to say this, “The transmission is extremely rough at all times, it can jerk you back and forth while it switches gear.”

Service Bulletin #21-036-19 talks about rough and erratic shifting between gears. In this communication, technicians are told to reprogram the TCM with new software. Maybe the original software though this was the off-road Wrangler instead?

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Problems:

WHILE I WAS DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD THE TRANSMISSION FAILED AND I HAD TO HAVE THE VEHICLE TOWED AND THE TRANSMISSION REPLACED. THE VEHICLE ONLY HAD 460 MILES TOTAL AT THAT TIME. THE VEHICLE NOW HAS 940 TOTAL MILES AND I AM BEGINNING TO FEEL HARD SHIFTING AND SLIPPING WHILE DRIVING, THAT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE NEW TRANSMISSION THEY PUT IN THE VEHICLE IS GOING BAD ALREADY. I WILL BE TAKING IT BACK TO THE DEALER TO HAVE THEM LOOK AT IT. I WAS ON A CITY STREET GOING STRAIGHT AT APPROXIMATELY 30MPH.

Problems with the Cruise Control

Finally, a look at the vehicle speed control on the new Grand Cherokee shows even more malfunctions that create unsafe driving situations.

One more NHTSA review says, “The contact owns a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds with the cruise control activated, the vehicle rapidly accelerated after tapping the plus sign button on the steering wheel without warning. The contact depressed the brake pedal to deactivate the cruise control. [Dealerships] were contacted and the contact was informed that the cruise control feature operated as intended. The manufacturer was also notified about the failure and referred the contact to the local dealer for assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 1,100.”

Modern cruise control systems should never rapidly accelerate because the SUV is not meant to be a thrill ride, but that’s what this customer got. Then, the complaints were dismissed and ignored. So much for caring about the customer. In addition, there are no service bulletins related to the cruise control, so basically, there’s nothing to see here – everything is normal.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Cruise Control Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2020 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE. THE CONTACT STATED THAT WHILE DRIVING AT VARIOUS SPEEDS WITH THE CRUISE CONTROL ACTIVATED, THE VEHICLE RAPIDLY ACCELERATED AFTER TAPPING THE PLUS SIGN BUTTON ON THE STEERING WHEEL WITHOUT WARNING. THE CONTACT DEPRESSED THE BRAKE PEDAL TO DEACTIVATE THE CRUISE CONTROL.  THE CONTACT WAS INFORMED THAT THE CRUISE CONTROL FEATURE OPERATED AS INTENDED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS ALSO NOTIFIED ABOUT THE FAILURE AND REFERRED THE CONTACT TO THE LOCAL DEALER FOR ASSISTANCE. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 1,100.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Jeep pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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