If A Wrangler Explodes In The Middle Of A Beach And Jeep Doesn’t Care, Does It Still Go Boom?

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So, I own a Jeep. I’ve had it since 2007. It’s been extremely reliable and, with the exception of this strange ticking noise that will inevitably catch up to me, it’s been great. One might even say I love it and all of its 4WD, Jeepy goodness.

Now that I prefaced this with some Jeep-loving, let me tell you about someone who probably doesn’t feel the same. And I can’t say I blame him given that his Wrangler is about as useful as an idea in North Korea now. jake_jay on Reddit uploaded the following photos (and accompanying descriptions) with the headline, “Wrangler explodes, Jeep not interested.”

The car was an unmodified 2011 Jeep Wrangler which done less than 28,000kms (17,500mi) and still had over a year left on the warranty.

We were driving home from the beach and noticed some black smoke coming from under the hood…

Within 15 mins the interior of the car was on fire. We think this was one of the airbag canisters exploding

The entire car was engulfed within 20 mins

Jeep concluded this wasn’t a defect with the car, and didn’t offer us any compensation even though there was more than a year left on the new car warranty

What was left after the fire

Pretty sure this isn’t what Jeep is referring to with their “It’s A Jeep Thing.” Maybe the Ford Pinto, but not Jeep.

So what happened? Whose fault is it? I have no idea myself – I just write articles on the Internet – but another guy said he witnessed the same thing happen. Also on the beach.

User novacog said, “The fire dept said they got these calls fairly often from jeep catching fire on the beach. Something about the transmission over heating. You’d think they would fit some sort of fail safe to shut the car off if the transmission is overheating so much its going to cause the car to ignite.”

I was ready to accept the diagnosis that Jeeps are simply allergic to sand, but then user DriverKey settled it:

“The ATF in the automatic transmissions gets so hot it starts to boil. The boiling oil comes up and out the dipstick tube, and lands on the header where it catches fire. It’s actually incredibly common (a quick search on Google will turn up tons). Many of these were just driving down the road.
Some Jeeps have a trans temp light to tell you when the oil is getting too hot, but in a lot of cases it doesn’t come on until the oil is already boiling. Jeep is refusing to accept that it’s a problem despite the number of them that are catching fire. The only real solution is to add a trans cooler to keep it cool (relocating the dipstick tube would probably keep it from catching fire, but you would still cook your transmission).”

So there you go. I’m not telling you that your Jeep is going to spontaneously explode, and I’ll probably drive mine worry-free, but you should probably at least be aware of potential Jeep infernos.

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