A recall, a woman and her kids in danger, and a company's denial. This story has all that, plus, warnings for the vehicle that might be in your driveway right now.
"I was very emotional,” said Ashley Wischmeier from Cleveland. "I'm a mom, and I have two very young girls…It's just terrifying to think this could kill them."
Wischmeier said she was on her way home on a major Ohio interstate when her 2015 Jeep Cherokee shifted into neutral all on its own. She said she lost control of her steering column with a semi near her.
"I was freaking out, which makes my kids freak out," she said. Her 2.5-year-old and 11 month-old children were in the backseat.
Thankfully, Wischmeier was able to get the Jeep slowed down and off the road. She took the 2015 Cherokee to Drellishak's garage. “Our databases told us there were quite a few problems," said Jane Drellishak, who is the shop’s secretary. She helped Wischmeier and she's right.
Our research from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows there's a recall for some 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokees with transmissions shifting unexpectedly to neutral.
However, Drellishak found out more on Wischmeier’s car. “There's (no recall) issued for her particular vehicle at this time. So, now what do you do?"
Wischmeier said she called Jeep customer service.
"She put me on hold to start a case, and the call was disconnected,” said Wischmeier. She called back. “She said, ‘My system is frozen, you're going to have to call us back.’" And she called again. The car was towed to a dealership in North Olmsted. The dealership and the company have said there are two issues here. The problem with Wischmeier's car is a shift control module, which is different than the recall of 2014-2015 Jeeps that had issues with a wiring problem.
Jeep which is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sent us this statement:
"This vehicle is not subject to any safety recall. Its warranty has expired. However, service is available. FCA US strongly recommends its customers regularly check in with certified Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/Fiat dealers to ensure proper vehicle maintenance.
"FCA US continually monitors the performance it its vehicles in the field. Safety investigators are unaware of any trends involving this component."
Even though Wischmeier had a similar automatic shift into neutral, her shift module's warranty has "expired." So, she's on the hook for the repair costs. “(I’m) very angry. Very frustrated. I just don't understand,” said Wischmeier.
Wischmeier wanted to warn you about her experience. “I have two friends with the same car I have. One has kids, and it's absolutely terrifying."
The dealership did a software update on Ashley's car. She is still talking with Jeep about her next step.
Meanwhile, if you want to do a quick check for recalls on your car, here’s a link to the National Safety Council’s CheckToProtect.org project.