Rear Diffs Failed in my new Trailhawk and it's not covered under Warranty

Asked by Jun 19, 2017 at 02:53 PM about the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Looking for some advice if anyone is willing to help out. I recently
purchased a 2017 Cherokee Trailhawk. It's still under Warranty with less
than 800 miles on it. I've been taking it out to forest service roads (nothing
too crazy) and I've been loving it.
Last weekend I came across some snowy-muddy-icy trail. Ok, No big deal.
I paused before the patch to turn on "snow mode". Driving about 10 feet
onto the patch of snow I became stuck. Ok, stay calm. Popped on low 4
and locked the rear diffs. Slowly gave it some gas in reverse and heard an
awful growing sound. From there I kept getting error messages that the 4
wheel drive had over heated and was unavailable.
Long story short, 6 hours later I got out of the mess only having front 2
wheel drive available. Took it back to the dealership and they're telling me
they're not gonna cover it, and it will be 3100$ to replace the rear diffs.
I'm pretty bummed. There's no body damage. I wasn't driving recklessly. I
was STUCK. I tried to use the tools available to me on a trail rated vehicle,
which failed, and it's my fault.
Any advice? Was it my fault? Did I f**k up? Are they being harsh? I look at it
as I was using the car to offroad, as it was intended to do, stock tires
turned into skis and the rear diffs didn't help.

2 Answers

76,505

I think you have a case. I would complain directly to the corporate offices.

905

Unfortunately Jeeps trail rated and real world trail rated are not exactly the same. First thing to point out is the tires are meant for on road all season comfort. They are all but useless on slick mud, heavy snow, and ice. That loud grinding sound you heard was the rear differential failing to lock. The locker in the trailhawk is supplied by eaton and is an electrically controlled locker. The vehicle needs to be rolling slightly for the locker to engage. You must engage the differential lock before getting stuck. Snow mode makes the transmission start out in second gear and softens the shift for better traction among other things. But is not designed to be used off road, just in snowy street driving. When 4 low is selected and you have one or more wheels spinning the transfer case will get very hot in a short period of time. 6 hours of beating on your truck to get out of a situation that clearly called for a tow truck, will never be covered under the warranty. Especially if you explained to the service writer how this happened. The owners manual clearly explains how to use these systems and warns about severe damage if not operated properly. We have all been guilty of something like this a time or two. But they are in the right by denying a warranty claim in this case.

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