2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: Communication Breakdown
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on February 15, 2016
"It's been three days. Let's just go in and demand the key."
This was Mike Schmidt's suggestion regarding our long-term 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk and its visit to Glenn E Thomas Jeep in Long Beach. By this point, the Renegade had been in the shop three days and it was still unclear how much longer things would take. We weren't going to wait any longer.
We agreed to meet at the dealership within the hour.
This all started when the Jeep returned from Detroit. Social Media Editor Travis Langness drove from Los Angeles to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show. Features Editor Mike Magrath took up the reins for the return journey.
While he was on the road, Magrath sent an email that read, "The Jeep needs a trip to the shop sooner rather than later." This was followed by a list of the Renegade's issues.
The most notable concerns were a hard pull to the left, noisy brakes and a hard shift from park to drive when the transmission was cold. We didn't know how deep these problems might run, so we agreed to just take it to a dealer and have them look it over.
On Monday morning, I took the Renegade to the Jeep dealer just a mile or so from our office. The service advisor told me he wouldn't be able to look at it until Thursday. I returned to the office and started looking at other options.
We didn't want anyone driving the Jeep until these issues were fixed, so finding a dealer that could see us immediately was a priority. Schmidt suggested I call Glenn E. Thomas Jeep and see if I could get an appointment that day. This dealer is located about 30 miles south of the office, but, conveniently, right off the freeway. We'd previously serviced our 2015 Dodge Viper GT here. I called the dealer and asked to be transferred to the service department. I was on hold for so long that the system routed my call back to the main number.
This happened three times.
Frustrated, I hung up the phone and went to the dealer's website to see if I could make an online appointment. They had a number of available spots, starting around 11:00 a.m., so I made the appointment and headed to Long Beach.
The service center was busy when I arrived, so I waited about 20 minutes before I managed to talk to someone. I explained the issues to the advisor and handed over the keys. She told me there were a number of ECU updates that would be taken care of while the Renegade was there.
I didn't expect the whole thing to be resolved that day, but 24 hours later, I still hadn't received any updates. I called the dealer after lunch on Tuesday and again waited and waited for someone to pick up. Finally, I managed to leave a voicemail for my service advisor asking for an update. I heard back an hour later.
The front brake pads and rotors were being replaced under warranty. There is a known issue involving noisy front brakes. The parts wouldn't be in until Wednesday. I asked about the other issues and was told that they were still working on it.
Another 24 hours later, there was still no word.
It was Wednesday around noon and I was less than pleased. It had been two days and the only update I'd received was a reply to a voicemail. Other than that, I didn't know where we stood. The service advisor had given me her direct line, so I dialed that number to avoid being lost on the telephone loop.
Instead, I got voicemail.
Thirty minutes later, she called back. I asked her to finish the brakes and not to worry about the transmission or the alignment. I just wanted the Renegade back in our hands. She said it would be ready to go by the time the service center closed.
I called Stokes Tire Service in Santa Monica and made an appointment for an alignment at 8:00 a.m. the next day. I missed the appointment; the Renegade still wasn't ready.
I got a ride to the dealer around 4:30 p.m., found my advisor, and asked when the Renegade would be ready. She told me that they were performing the software updates and that it might be a little while. I asked if it was going to be ready tonight, but she seemed doubtful.
So here I was stuck at the dealer. I called Schmidt to give him an update. I also called my wife to let her know I may need a ride home. Both of them shared my displeasure with the state of things. I pulled out my computer, got a Pepsi from the vending machine and tried to work.
An hour later, I was informed the Renegade wouldn't be ready tonight.
Left without a ride, the dealer offered me a rental from Hertz. I accepted and headed home in a white Dodge Charger (I turned down a Jeep Patriot 4x4 that was originally offered).
By 10:30 the next morning there were still no updates. I called the dealer and was told my advisor wouldn't be in until 2:00 p.m. This is point where I called Schmidt and he suggested we just show up. He said he would be willing to sit and wait until the key was back in our possession.
We both arrived at the dealer within a minute of each other. I had just dropped off my rental and received a ride back to the dealer while Schmidt was coming from his house. We waited for the first available advisor and asked if the Renegade was ready. He went to check and returned with good news.
The new brakes were installed and the pull to the left was fixed by rotating the tires back to where they were before the service in December. A tech looked at the transmission but couldn't replicate the problem. Two ECU updates were performed. Everything was covered under warranty. With the key in hand, Schmidt and I left the dealer.
I was frustrated by the lack of communication. The only calls I received were replies to my voicemails. If my vehicle is in the shop for three days, I would like to know what's going on.
Total Cost: None (covered under warranty).
Total Days out of Service: Three
Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 14,803 miles