||04-20-2013 02:47 AM
My first JK, my first new vehicle and well my first lemon...
Greetings fellow wrangler owners...
New to the forum and to the wrangler crowd, but life long Jeep owner. I've always loved my Jeeps no matter what challenges they may have brought me in the past (probably really a sickness...). But, my 99' WJ was getting long in the tooth after many years of supporting camping trips, hunting and fishing excursions and of course supporting my daily driving needs. I'd held off over the last few years from purchasing a new Jeep since the demands on the pocket book with 3 kids in college was taking precedence over my own selfish needs :angel: . In any case, it was time to get a new vehicle for myself and the wife was pushing me to get the vehicle I want rather than the vehicle I need (God bless her).
This was kind of exciting for me, especially when I thought of one fact... I've never bought a new vehicle for myself before. Now it's not something I think everyone needs to cross off their "bucket-list", but it's kind of nice getting something new ...for yourself. Not that my wife and I haven't bought new vehicles before, but they've always ended up as her DD. So it was fun to go out and start researching that new purchase, with of course the wife's blessing :D .
So, after months of soul searching (... and reading tons on various forums). I splurged with a purchase of a 2013 JKUR that was available on a local dealer lot. After a bit of negotiation via email, ... I got the price I wanted and went in pick it up. I was happy to say the paper work was all ready to go when i got there and 15 minutes later the sales guy and I were doing the final walk around ...then I was off. I swear the grin on my face was visible for miles (even though it was dark...) and I can honestly say it was the first time I splurged on something and not had some sort of buyer's remorse after completing the purchase.
A few days later I drove my oldest daughter to another dealership to purchase a Jeep Compass (Her first new car...) and when we returned home she mentioned to me that she smelled a 'buring' smell like something electrical had got hot. Well, I could faintly smell what she was talking about... but honestly at the time I thought it smelled like new paint being burnt and I chucked it up to burning-in some of the painted parts that where close to heat sources. I didn't investigate (probably should have...) and over the next few days I didn't notice a smell or notice any other issues. One thing I did notice after this event was that the door locks didn't have any illumination when the driving lights were on. This seemed peculiar at the time, but I convinced myself that they didn't have any illumination to being with and chucked it up to... 'hey, well its a Jeep not a Lexus.'
Then one Saturday morning, when I took my new Jeep to the car wash to get the salt off the body and undercarriage. I noticed that the EVIC controls wouldn't allow me to change the in dash display (i.e. flip through temp, milage, settings screens, etc.). I began to check through various buttons and the following would no longer operate; horn, steering-wheel audio controls, sway-bar discos, lockers, heated seats, hill descent, hazards, and inverter. Well being the engineer that I am... I did some research on similar issues and found that a few folks with 11's and 12's had issues with the EVIC and other controls stop working and attributed it to an issue with an electrical contact or switch in the steering column (I believe... can't remember at this point). Some folks had some success hitting their steering column at the 2 o'clock position... while other had success just honking their horn (... the one on the jeep ;) ). But after going several rounds with the steering column... nothing seemed to work. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to take it into the dealership for service and it only had 500 miles on it.
Well Monday morning came (none to early for me...) and I hopped into the JK to drive to the dealer. Much to my chagrin, ... now the dome lights and the display on the 730N where not working. I messed around with the controls to see if it was something I had done when I was beating... I mean 'fixing' my electrical problem previously. Although, the dome lights where now in fact out... the display was just unusually dim and I was able to improve the visibility of the screen... but the auto-dimmer functionality seemed to be effecting the display (more than it should in any case.)
With this new fuel to my fire, I made straight for the dealership and handed it over to the service department. When I told the service manager what was going on, ...well I don't think he believed me at first. But I showed him what was going on and he apologized profusely ( which made me feel a little bit better... ) gave me a rental to use while they looked at it. So off to work I went with a new Dodge Avenger (what a pile...) and waited for the service department to call.
I used my time waiting well and researched MN lemon laws and discovering what my legal rights were as a new vehicle owner. To my surprise, I was shocked at how little "teeth" are in the MN laws. To summarize... to officially engage the legal directives in the lemon laws you had to have a vehicle in for repairs, for the same issue, 4 times during its warranty period (or in the first 2 years of ownership)... OR the owner looses 30 business days of use of the vehicle (i.e. its in the shop) during the same warranty period. Then upon reaching either one of those two triggers, you then have to allow the manufacturer one chance to fix the issues again. After which, you can then pursue arbitration through the manufacturer's arbitration policy and process. Nothing I was discovering here was giving me warm fuzzies. But I decided to let the process work and wait for the service call.
That afternoon I received a call from the service manager telling me that the CPU in the dash was blown along with a fuse (I can't remember which position it was ... but I can look on my service sheet if someone is curious). However, the real issue is that to replace the dash CPU... the dash needs to be sent to Chrysler to have your odometer downloaded onto a new one and then they ship the new dash panel back. The service manager told me that it would take a couple of days and that he over-nighted the dash that day to Chrysler and was hopeful that they would turn it around in a "day or two". So I was resigned to fact I had to drive an Avenger for the next few days while I plotted my argument for a replacement vehicle.
Fast forward through several calls checking in with the dealership on status over the next week or so... with the responses always being "It should be tomorrow..." or "We're escalating with Chrysler...". After 10 days of this process, I started typing a letter to the CEO of Jeep, but thought better of it since I hadn't really escalated things with my dealer yet. So I chose to send a letter to the owner of the dealership about what was going on with my new vehicle and expressing my dissatisfaction with my new purchase. The email was sent out after business hours so I suspected it would take a day or two for anyone to contact me. Much to my surprise, the owner of the dealership called me promptly at 8am the next morning. He also apologized for my situation and before I could even get into a conversation about a replacement... he informed me that he called Chrysler last night and again that morning. He said that because Chrysler doesn't hold stock of those parts (they are manufactured upon request...), there is typically a longer delay to perform dash replacements. But, in lieu of my inconvenience he got Chrysler to give me a extended bumper to bumper warranty for 6 years 100K (to match the drive train...).
I was a bit surprised to get the extended warranty without even requesting anything. Yes, I had expressed my displeasure... but I was saving the discussion for what I want for a face to face conversation. But, I felt the dealer stepped up for me and frankly I like the idea of having everying covered for 100K :thumb: . So I thanked the owner and kept driving the loaner.
Well... surprise, surprise, surprise. The dealership called me back the next afternoon and told me the dash magically showed up and that my Jeep was ready to pick up. (Note: My suspicion here is that the owner after pushing for the extended warranty also informed Chrysler they would be picking up the tab on the miles I was putting on the loaner car... thus the quick turn around by Chrysler). So I brought back the loaner and picked up my Jeep. After testing out all the functionality, I was satisfied that it truly was working as it should and started to try to forget the whole incident.
I'm not that lucky... About a week later driving to work in a snow storm... I suddenly get a whiff of ozone which caused an expletive to sneak out of my mouth (they never really have that much problem escaping as I'm trying to lead on here... :rofl: ). But wouldn't you know it... all the same controls are now out again (good thing I have that extended warranty :facepalm: ). I immediately call the service department and tell them I'm coming in... I also put a call in to the owner (he gave me his cell...) and told him that the issues had returned and that I would like to talk to him once I get to the dealership. Again, to my surprise... the dealer called me back in about 5 minutes... apologized and informed me that he has already called Chrysler and is starting the process to get Chrysler to provide a replacement vehicle. :dance:
I can't tell you how that impressed me... In neither case did I ask for anything... but in both cases I felt the dealer had my back and was being an advocate for me with Chrysler. Now, I'm not trying to shed mountains of praise on the dealer for doing what I think is right. But it sure is nice to have someone go to bat for you without having to ask or push for those things. So after a few conversations with Chrysler, the dealer got back to me later that day and informed me that Chrysler agreed to buy back my current JK and provide me with a new one. Since the dealer didn't have any identically featured models available... Chrysler was going to have to build one. While this wasn't thrilling to hear (build times can be long...) I was happy I could select any other options I wanted for the new build (4.10 gears here I come). The dealer promised to push me to the head of the build schedule (... sorry fellow JK'ers who had builds pending :cool: ) and try to get the Jeep here asap.
Fast forward 3 weeks later... Yes, my new Jeep was built and being shipped for delivery April 1. I was impressed again the dealer came through as promised (builds can sometimes take 60-90 days or more). It was hard to wait for those last few days... but the light at the end of the tunnel was finally getting brighter.
The day finally came and I got the email from Jeep saying the Jeep had arrived at the dealership. So I contacted the dealer and they informed me that while in fact they did have the jeep... they had not rec'd the "swap" paperwork to complete the transaction. :banghead: The dealer informed me they had contacted the local Chrysler Rep to get the status of the paperwork and indicated that he had given the Chrysler "Impartial Services" case worker all the info he needed and the "package" should be at the dealership in a couple of days. (Sound familiar)
Well a couple of days turned into 2 and half weeks of chasing Chrysler caseworkers around (who I swear are told not to listen, much less return a voice message...). But the day finally came this last week for me to pick up my new JKUR and although a happy day... it has taken a bit of steam out of my excitement (mostly because of all the mods I had planned on having done by now...). In the end all is good and I'm getting excited again as I plot out my build.
One last little surprise was still in store for me before the end of this story. Yesterday morning as I was heading out to work (again in a snow storm... gotta love MN) and as I was setting my coffee into the cup holder I noticed a "new" feature on my JK. The cup holders have lights in them... which is something that never worked on my previous JK. Additionally I noticed these "new" features; back-lit face plate and LEDs on the door locks. All of which didn't work on the jeep I swapped. Why does this matter... well, it really doesn't ...other than for those of you out there that are inquisitive like me. I suspect that the cabling was shorted somewhere in the feeds to those components and caused the whole issue. So all of you looking for a deal at an auction, if you see a almost new 2013 up for sale I'd check to see if those cup holders are lit... otherwise steer clear.
PS... I still love Jeeps :doh: