Chrysler issues reflash of transmission software for 2014 Jeep Cherokee

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 2, 2014

Chrysler Group is still recalibrating the software that operates the nine-speed automatic transmissions the carmaker plans to use for all of its front-wheel-drive vehicles. The carmaker has commenced a new software recalibration for over 100,000 Jeep Cherokees built before May 5, 2014, in order to resolve continuing issues with the shifting of some of the nine-speed gears.

In 2013, Chrysler was forced to delay the rollout of the Cherokee for nearly two months to tweak the software. A May 15 technical service bulletin calls for technicians to implement a five-minute software reset or "reflash" and, in certain cases, an "adaptation drive learn."

This entails test driving a Cherokee for around 78 minutes to ensure that it is shifting properly. Like other electronic transmissions, the nine-speed gearbox learns the driving habits of its main driver, adapting to the shift patterns accordingly.

Although not all Cherokees need the reflash, the recalibration can be availed under warranty to customers who are not satisfied with the feel or operation of the transmission. A Chrysler spokeswoman said in a statement that the reflash was being done "to respond to customer feedback and to improve satisfaction.”

Chrysler also asked it dealers to perform the recalibrate the software on any unsold vehicles in inventory. Dealers were also asked to reflash the software customers who wanted improved throttle response or shift feel.

This is the second software reflash Chrysler has issued for the nine-speed transmission since starting sales of the Cherokee in October.

Around 30 consumer complaints have been filed against the 2014 Cherokee on the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safercar.gov, of which half pertains to its transmission and powertrain.

Dealership parts records show that Chrysler’s US retailers are ordering an average of about a dozen replacement transmissions for the Cherokee collectively per week under warranty.

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