Cars are indisputably complex. As they age and wear, problems and subsequent recalls arise. Still, with an intimidating name like “Gladiator,” a reliable brand like Jeep, and (most important) a 2020 release year, buyers were expecting more from this pickup truck.
Though the 2020 Jeep Gladiator initially garnered praise, including North American Truck of the Year honors, some drivers quickly ran into trouble. And in a vehicle this large, any problem is a big problem.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is not faring well in this area
With an MSRP of $33,454 — well above that of the year’s pickup offerings from Ford, Chevy, GMC, and Toyota — it’s understandable 2020 Jeep Gladiator buyers would expect the best. Beyond some initial concerns over battery life, it seemed the vehicle met customer standards. Consumer Reports even praised the Gladiator’s reliability.
The Gladiator is certainly at home in the Jeep brand in terms of its style, popularity, and size. Unfortunately, it also has shown its family resemblance through some issues consumers have been facing. The 2018 Wrangler infamously racked up over 800 steering complaints. The vehicle’s tendency to veer frustrated drivers but looked tame compared with the later “death wobble.” This crisis of suspension and steering made for dangerous driving.
Apparently, not to be outdone by its Wrangler predecessors, the Gladiator quickly revealed problems of its own.
Consumers have reported the 2020 Jeep Gladiator ‘wandering’ at highway speeds
Jeep fans were ready to see the Gladiator everywhere: in headlines, their Instagram feeds, and — they hoped — their own driveways. They likely didn’t expect to see the pickup appear on CarComplaints.com so soon after its release. Unfortunately, the 2020 model quickly saw 128 reported problems. Over half of the gripes called out the vehicle’s steering.
In particular, drivers noticed the Gladiator struggled to stay the course while driving at highway speeds. The massive truck would pull toward one side or wander from left to right. The instability demanded constant corrections, which one owner understandably described as “exhausting.”
CarComplaints.com labeled this issue a 7.2 out of 10 in severity. Although no commenters reported extreme difficulty maintaining safe control of the behemoth, it certainly is frustrating — especially so early on in ownership. One driver said he noticed the issue within the first 15 miles of his drive home from the dealership.
Jeep acknowledged the issue but didn’t announce a recall
Responding to consumer complaints, Jeep issued a service bulletin addressing 2020 Gladiator and Wrangler steering issues. Though the report offers much-needed clarity on how to fix the problem, many consumers are understandably disgruntled. The lack of a manufacturer recall means owners experiencing the problem are responsible for fixing it. Jeep will not provide rental cars for use during repairs and will not cover any associated costs.
Because consumers have identified the Gladiator’s problems so early, most vehicles will still be under warranty. But if you encounter this problem down the line, you could be paying out of pocket.
After all, what did Tolkien say? Not all who wander are lost … some are just driving a Gladiator? Something like that.