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Jeep Liberty faces rust problems – for the fourth time

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation of the Jeep Liberty over rust-related suspension issues; marking the fourth time the compact Jeep has faced a possible recall of this type since 2003.

This newest investigation of the Jeep Liberty pertains to 2002-2005 model year vehicles, with the NHTSA is looking into 9 complaints over the rear control arms failing to due excessive corrosion (rust) in states where salt is used to combat winter driving conditions. In 3 of these 9 cases, the driver alleged that they lost control of their vehicle and in 2 of the cases, the suspension failure occurred at a speed above 50mph. Considering the track record of the Liberty SUVs made during that time period, there looks to be a better chance than not that this could result in another recall and if Chrysler does issue a recall of the vehicles most recently being investigated, roughly 370,000 vehicles could be affected.

The Jeep Liberty from this era first came into the limelight for rust issues when Chrysler recalled 2002-2003 models in November 2003, with 336,000 units affected. This initial recall pertained to rust issues that were causing front lower ball joint failures that were causing the loss of control at speeds. Next, in 2006 another recall was issued for the same problem but this time, the recall included Jeep Liberty SUVs from 2002-2006 – reaching 825,000 vehicles. The third instance of this problem came in 2009, when Chrysler recalled around 43,000 Libertys for rust related suspension issues – this time relating to the front upper ball joints on vehicles located in the “salt belt” states.

This recent investigation of the Jeep Liberty is the first to focus on the rear suspension but given the model’s track record, it looks like Liberty owners may be making another trip to their local dealership to have the suspension inspected and possibly repaired. These days, the NHTSA opening an investigation is reason enough to issue a recall so it would be no surprise to see Chrysler go with the “better safe than sorry” theory and get these SUVs back in for a look at the rear suspension components.

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