The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 615 complaints so far about the 2007 and 2008 Jeep Wrangler over issues of fuel spillage. The complaints say that when the Wrangler is being refueled, there's nothing that stops the fuel from spilling over onto the ground, all over the car or even on the person doing the refueling once the tank is full. NHTSA received so many complaints that the agency opened up its own investigation in August, 2010 to look into the matter.
After more than seven months of testing, though, NHTSA hasn't uncovered an issue that would require a recall. That is, of course, exactly what Chrysler has said all along. The Auburn Hills-based automaker contends that the issue only presents itself when the plastic o-ring on the inlet check valve swells from being exposed to fuel with a concentration of ethanol greater than 10 percent.
In the end, the big question is how so many complaints made it to NHTSA's desk when this really isn't such a wide-spread problem. NHTSA claims that the buzz surrounding this issue came from the Internet, which could explain why the number of complaints was so high. The agency claims on its website that "ODI suspects that the NHTSA safety complaints submitted by subject vehicles owners may have been influenced by Internet-related publicity both before and during this investigation." Don't look at us. Follow the jump to read over the over NHTSA investigation results.
[Source: NHTSA, MyFoxDC via The Car Connection]
Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
JEEP / WRANGLER 2007-2008
JEEP / WRANGLER 2-DR 4X4 2007-2008
JEEP / WRANGLER 2-DR 4X4 RHD 2007-2008
JEEP / WRANGLER 4-DR 4X2 2007-2008
JEEP / WRANGLER 4-DR 4X4 2007-2008
JEEP / WRANGLER SAHARA 2007
JEEP / WRANGLER X RHD 4X4 2007
Manufacturer : CHRYSLER GROUP LLC
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:FILLER PIPE AND CAP
FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER
FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER:STORAGE
FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY
FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:FILLING/CHARGING
Date Investigation Opened : August 23, 2010
Date Investigation Closed : February 16, 2011
ODI found the rate of warranty claims related to fuel spit back on the subject vehicles is lower than other vehicles previously recalled to correct defects related to fuel spit back. Although the rate of complaints reported to the agency on the subject vehicles is higher than or similar to the rates experienced in previous investigations where safety recalls were conducted, ODI suspects that the NHTSA safety complaints submitted by subject vehicles owners may have been influenced by internet related publicity both before and during this investigation. A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted. Accordingly, this investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists. The agency will monitor the issue and reserves the right to take future action if warranted by the circumstances. See attached report for additional information. In addition, Chrysler is initiating a lifetime warranty program, at no cost to the consumer, to address the fuel spit back problem in approximately 135,000 model year 2007-2008 Jeep Wrangler vehicles built from March 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008. Chrysler will notify all affected vehicle owners of this action. Consumers should refer to the warranty and service bulletins and sample owner notification letter available in the investigative file. The vehicle build date can be found on the certification label located on the driver door or door jamb.