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It has become apparent that after only 2 years of ownership, that my Wrangler JL has developed a corrosion/paint issue. The main issue appears to be where the hinges meet the door panels. I’ll share with you what I’ve read online on Jeep Wrangler Forums and FaceBook groups and share; i) the difference between corrosion and rust, ii) some suggested possible reasons for this unacceptable condition for a relatively new vehicle, iii) the potential warranty concerns for owners iv) if it appears that others are experiencing the same issue, v) FCA’s recognition of the same condition in their other vehicles, and vi) finally discuss what are the options. This information would be of interest to any of you considering buying a JL, or keeping your JL for the long term, and the potential impact on the resale value should you plan on selling your JL. This information can also be viewed in this CheaperJeeperTV episode.
Evidence of My Jeep Wrangler JL Corrosion Issue
Below are images that illustrate examples of the corrosion appearing in only 2 years of ownership of my new Jeep Wrangler JL.
The Difference Between Corrosion and Rust
When discussing the possible Jeep Wrangler JL Corrosion Issue, it is important to understand that all metals, like aluminum can corrode when exposed to air and impurities. This process is also referred to as oxidation. Rust specifically is a term used when discussing corrosion where the oxidation taking place is occurring is metal that contains iron. Given that the possible oxidation issue being discussed in this article involves aluminum hinges and door panels, the term corrosion is used, and not the term rust. Either way, in a relatively new vehicle, corrosion should not be presenting itself as an issue so early in the days of ownership.
Some Possible Reasons for My Jeep Wrangler JL Corrosion Issue
The Jeep Wrangler JL hinges are made of aluminum, and so are the hood, door and tailgate panels. Essentially during assembly, the bare metal hinges are assembled to the bare panels, and then the whole assembly gets painted. There is no material to act as a barrier to the bare mated metal surfaces, but they are sealed by the paint job. It can be suggested that perhaps the seal of the paint may get compromised, allowing exposure to environmental contaminants such as salt or brine, leading to corrosion.
Another possible source of contamination between the bare mated metal surfaces of hinge and door panels, may actually occur in the factory at time of assembly. It has been suggested that any metal dust floating in the air, especially in an auto assembly environment, can land on the metal surfaces then get sealed by the paint job. Manufacturers such as Audi for example build a separate facility where any aluminum metal fabrication is occurring, to avoid such contamination of any aluminum surfaces.
Some say that the primer may not have been applied properly.
Another suggested culprit is something called galvanic corrosion, which is where two dissimilar metals react with each other. In the case of the Jeep Wrangler JL hinges, the hinge is aluminum, but the bolt securing the hinge to the panel is coated steel.
Either way, no matter if one can agree to where the source of contamination is or not, it “is” happening on my Jeep Wrangler JL, and as you will read below, I am not alone in experiencing this issue.
In Canada the Corrosion Warranty is 5 years/ 160,000 kms. In the US it is 5 years/ Unlimited Miles. If I take my Wrangler JL in for corrosion repairs, should they occur after 160,000 kms, I am on my own, unlike in the US, where the corrosion warranty will be honoured for as long as I own the vehicle. The absence of salt use on most of the roads in the US may explain this difference in Warranty policy.
Another warranty concern that has comes to mind is in any language around corrosion warranty involving the term perforation. Aluminum corrosion will build up on the surface, which ultimately protects the aluminum, hence it will not perforate. The paint won’t stay on your Jeep, but it won’t be perforated.
Are There Others Experiencing This Same Jeep Wrangler JL Corrosion Issue
Careful review of online Jeep Wrangler Forums and FaceBook Group discussions will reveal what appears to me as a significant number of surprised and dare I say unsatisfied Jeep Wrangler JL owners, who share their experience after even less time and miles of ownership than myself. Some search examples are found below. Clicking on the examples below will take you to the forum discussions. Review of the numerous entries suggests that I am not alone in this matter.
FCA’s Recognition of the Same Condition in Their Other Vehicles
FCA had put out a Technical Service Bulletin, with instruction of how to address aluminum corrosion issues in some of their other vehicles. The Wrangler JL is on this list. With vehicles as early as 2013 on this list of vehicles with aluminum corrosion issues, it makes me wonder when it is hoped that this corrosion issue will be resolved.
What Are the Options to Address My Jeep Wrangler JL Corrosion Issue
Given that I have a Jeep Wrangler JL Corrosion issue, what are my options? Currently, I am having the paint bubbling-corrosion issue at the hinges repaired under warranty. If, as some posts suggest, should the corrosion reappear after 160,000kms, I would be on my own to address this. JL owners in the US have unlimited miles on their corrosion warranty, and you would think that they might be able to have their door hinge corrosion issue corrected under that unlimited miles warranty. A member on a Jeep Wrangler Facebook group suggested the application of door hinge covers might help address, at least the appearance of this issue, should it appear again later.
The article at this link also provides some tips for anyone wishing to address the galvanic corrosion concern.
I could also consider selling my Jeep Wrangler JL and buy a new Ford Bronco, but there is no guarantee that it won’t have the same aluminum corrosion and paint issue. For example, Ford has had a Class Action Lawsuit launched against it for aluminum corrosion issues of their own.
My Jeep Wrangler JL corrosion issue is something that has been shared by many other Jeep Wrangler JL owners on online Forums and Jeep Facebook groups. If you were someone thinking of buying one you would be wise to inform yourself with current owner experiences and concerns. Read some of the online posts in the links shared above so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you wish to purchase a Jeep Wrangler JL or not. This issue will impact my resale value if I were to consider selling my Jeep, and may cost me more money for repairs down the road.
As for the comment “It’s A Jeep Thing”…This is not a piece of trim that doesn’t fit right, or a bad rattle somewhere that you can’t find. I think in this case, after charging so much for a new JL, well, this is a little too much too early.