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Recall: JK Wrangler mail-carrier buckles may break

by David Zatz on

Jeep is recalling a relatively small number of 2011-18 Wranglers with right-hand-drive (11,463 in the US—but none outside the US) because the driver’s seat belt buckle mounting strap can come out of the seat frame. This recall, #VA6 (NHTSA 19V68), only affects U.S.-market Jeeps with the steering wheel on the right side of the car—all of which were built for rural mail carriers (the driver’s seat is on the right so the driver can easily put mail into postal boxes along the road).

2018 Wrangler JK at ToledoJK factory. Oddly enough, we don’t have a photo of a mail carrier.

Standard Wranglers are not part of the recall, because they have an extra mounting bracket. The vehicles were built from October 13, 2010, to the end of the 2018 model year (March 27, 2018). The recall is U.S.-only, possibly because no issues have been reported in Canada (the number of RHD Wrangler sales in Canada, if any, is unknown).

Mail carriers tend to lean across the seat as they stuff mailboxes (in a way that normal drivers wouldn’t), which may have exacerbated the problem.

The problem was discovered after a single complaint by a mail carrier using a 2015 Wrangler. FCA identified the problem, a fatigue failure near the mounting hole, as the NHTSA reported a second problem on a 2016 Wrangler, then a third. The company checked field data and found that only US-market right-hand-drive vehicles were affected. Eventually, they found 32 reports of the issue including 17 warranty claims—but no injuries.

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