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Woes mount for 9-speed automatic transmission, latest recall covers 82K Jeep Cherokees

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2014 Jeep Cherokee (Image courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Jeep will recall nearly 83,000 Cherokee SUVs for a troublesome transmission that has plagued the vehicle since its debut.

Last month, Jeep said it would recall 2014 Cherokees equipped with a 3.2-liter V-6 and 9-speed automatic for faulty clutches that could shift the car into neutral without warning. Jeep said it is unaware of any injuries related to the problem.

Jeep recalled 2014 Cherokees once before for similar transmission issues and has issued several updates to dealers to address poor shift quality or erratic behavior. In 2015, Jeep authorized replacements of many transmissions in 2014 Cherokees and 2015 Cherokees built before March 3, 2015.



Car and Driver reported similar complaints and issues with many other vehicles equipped with the ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic that range in severity. Owners of Fiat ProMaster City vans; Acura TLX sedans; Jeep Renegade, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Fiat 500X, and Honda Pilot crossovers have all reported some issue with their related 9-speed automatics, which were supplied by ZF.

In many cases, the transmission software was updated, but many owners have complained to federal regulators about the transmission's behavior. In one case, an owner of a 2017 Acura TLX reported that the car was stuck in third gear, would not accelerate, and all of the car's warning lights were illuminated. The car stopped, but would not reverse.

In 2015, ZF supplied tips for driving cars equipped with its 9-speed automatic and said American driving styles, and the transmission's adaptive learning could be attributed to lumpy shifts. In 2016, a wider recall of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Land Rover, and Acura vehicles blamed a bad wiring crimp in the transmission that dated to July 2014. Since then, Jeep said it has replaced thousands of transmissions.

Jeep said it would begin notifying affected owners next month to bring their vehicles to dealers. Jeep didn't say what the fix would be for those cars, but said a remedy is under development.

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