Growing number of Jeep owners concerned about frame welding

Welding concerns for Jeep Wrangler
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 18:45:38-05

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular SUV's in the country.

But lately a growing number of owners have been raising questions about the welding on the frames under those vehicles.

And now, the government has decided to investigate.

Benjamin Rutter's 2019 Jeep Wrangler is spotless.

But when recently cleaning the underside, he was puzzled.

"Wow these welds are nowhere near what I expected,” he said.

He knows a bit about welding.

"This is a rear support for the rear wheel," he said.

And said he saw what looked like breaks in what should have been a solid weld.

"You've got an inch or so of completely missed bead." Rutter said. “My biggest fear if I went off-roading and did a full flex on the wheels, that frame rail could completely pop."

Roy Carl is a jeep customizer and restorer.

"They didn't penetrate the metal good enough,” Carl said.

He claims seeing questionable welding on several newer wranglers that came into his shop.

"I think it's a huge safety concern,” he said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has now launched an investigation into frame welding on 250,000 2018 and 2019 Wranglers after 3,000 complaints.

This follows a recall of some 2018 models for possible steering failure due to bad welds.

A Fiat Chrysler spokesman could only tell us "Jeep is cooperating with the investigation," but reminded us the Wrangler "is the most awarded vehicles of 2019."

But Carl says it’s worth having someone inspect your newer wrangler, just to be safe.

"We saw some welds we didn't like and advised our clients to send them back to the dealership," Carl said.

The NHTSA has no reports of frames failing on newer Wranglers.

But if you see questionable welds, feel free to have a mechanic inspect it to give you peace of mind and so you don’t waste your money.