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Grand Cherokees may be rolling away (0.003% so far)

by Bill Cawthon on

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into complaints that Jeep Grand Cherokees have rolled away after being shifted into Park. The agency has had 14 complaints involving 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokees with the eight-speed, paddle-shifted, automatic transmission and has responded with  Preliminary Evaluation PE 15-030.


There have been 14 claims in all, representing 0.003% of 408,000 vehicles, some with the engine on, some with it off.  A Chrysler spokesman reported that they knew of no such claims with the Dodge Durango “or other FCA models.”

Automatic transmissions keep the vehicle in place through a simple device called a “parking pawl.”

The Jeeps would not be the first cars with automatic transmissions to have this problem; in the 1970s and 1980s, Fords were recalled for slipping from Park to Reverse.  More recently, Honda has recalled nearly 900,000 cars for the same reason; and BMW recalled 45,000 2005-08 cars. Last year, Ford again had a recall for the same problem, with 92,000 cars affected.

Owners can help to avoid the situation by applying the parking brake firmly. There is no recall so far and the company and NHTSA are still both investigating the reports.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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