A class-action lawsuit was just filed in Louisiana alleging the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator corrosion warranties are a “sham.” The lawsuit includes 2018-2021 Jeep Wranglers and 2020-2021 Gladiators. Because it issued technical service bulletins over aluminum corrosion and bubbling paint, the suit alleges Jeep knew there were problems but didn’t fix them.
Allegedly Jeep’s definition of what the warranty covers means it covers nothing
The suit specifies that because the warranty defines a corroded aluminum panel as one that is perforated, it misses all of the other corrosion problems that eventually lead to perforation. These include bubbling paint, flaking, peeling paint, rust, and blistering metal.
According to CarComplaints, the suit says that the plaintiffs overpaid because the premature corrosion is not covered in the warranty. It also says that the plaintiffs then had to pay out more money to get the panels repaired and repainted.
Technical service bulletins are issued by the manufacturer to dealerships to address issues. In this case, TSB 31-001-18 dealt with “Aluminum Body Panel Corrosion Repair” for the 2018 Wrangler. The TSB addressed “inspecting and if necessary removing corrosion and refinishing the suspect aluminum hood, doors, or liftgate panels.”
Aluminum Jeep Wrangler body panels began in 2018
Jeep switched to using aluminum body panels and other stampings to reduce weight. The lawsuit says that “in its brochures, Jeep boasted that the 2018 Wrangler was ‘Lighter in weight,’ noting that ‘high-strength, lightweight aluminum is used throughout the doors, hood, windshield frame, swing gate, and fenders to help Wrangler shed over 200 lb. It’s strong, durable and aids efficiency.’”
TSB 31-001-18 was revised numerous times in 2018 to include Wrangler fenders and also details how to replace affected corrosion. The suit alleges that the bulletin advised using an anti-corrosion pen on problem areas. But only if the panel did not qualify for replacement.
In 2019 Jeep issued TSB 31-001-19 expanding corrosion instructions to include Jeeps sold in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. TSB 31-001-20 was issued in October 2020 to add the 2020-2021 Wrangler and Gladiator.
Why does the suit allege the Wrangler warranty is a “sham?”
The corrosion warranty was to cover sheet metal panels for three years with no mileage consideration. An extended warranty extended that protection out to 60 months for outer-body sheet metal panels. From the warranty, “This warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair or replace any sheet metal panels that get holes from rust or other corrosion. If a hole occurs because of something other than corrosion, this warranty does not apply. Cosmetic or surface corrosion — resulting, for example, from stone chips or scratches in the paint — is not covered.”
That is where the lawsuit takes aim. It alleges that it’s “widely known throughout the automotive industry that aluminum body panels do not perforate from corrosion, and thus, Jeep knew that customers who had purchased the Class Vehicles could never take advantage of the CW to the extent perforation of the panel was a requirement to obtain coverage.”
The suit also contends that the “sham” warranty procedures don’t correct corrosions problems and that it does not address the loss of value. It claims that repainted Jeeps sell for less than original paint Jeeps.
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