2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Rear Tailgate Crack
April 25, 2013
Last week I was startled by a loud and annoying pop and squeak coming from the cargo area of our 2012 Jeep Wrangler on my way to work. The sounds were largely confined to rough sections of L.A. freeway and the occasional drainage dip near my neighborhood.
I'm pretty sure I've heard a much quieter version of this sound once or twice before, but it didn't scream "problem" like it did this time.
It didn't take long to find the culprit once I decided to have a look. The hinge area of the tailgate has starburst cracks radiating out from a pair of exposed spot welds on the interior side.
Further inspection revealed four more broken spot welds nearby. These circular cracks look more like punched holes than starbursts, but the two pieces of metal they're supposed to join are now detached, just the same.
So we took the Jeep to a dealer for an assessment (and an oil change.) It's back in our hands, but we're still awaiting word on whether or not this is a warranty issue.
To me it seems like it should be. Yes, there's a lift kit and harder suspension under our Jeep, but it's a Mopar-blessed one. And the larger wheels (which are made for larger tires) are also Mopar pieces.
Also, the elevated position of the third brake light more than clears the top of our 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires, which says to me they're not taller (and by extension, heavier) than the designers expected.
We'll let you know how it all turns out. But one thing is clear: it's only going to get worse.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 32,044 miles