Chrysler CVT Lawsuit Dismissed After Overheating Claims

Jatco JF011E continuously variable transmissions allegedly overheat and shudder.

Chrysler CVT Lawsuit Dismissed After Overheating Claims

Posted in News

— A Chrysler CVT lawsuit has been dismissed after the plaintiff failed to adequately allege his Jatco JF011E continuously variable transmission (CVT) was defective.

Based on court documents, 2010-2013 Jeep Patriot, 2010-2013 Jeep Compass and 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber vehicles are equipped with defective Jatco transmissions.

According to the Chrysler CVT class action lawsuit, California plaintiff Steve Zuehlsdorf purchased a 2012 Jeep Compass in October 2012, receiving copies of the user guide and owner's manual for the Compass equipped with a Jatco JF011E transmission.

The plaintiff says he remembers viewing the Jeep website as well as the window sticker, and the website also included the Jeep Compass user guide and owner's manual.

Mr. Zuehlsdorf claims his Compass has always suffered from a lack of acceleration since 2012 and he noticed the lack of acceleration the first time he merged onto a freeway or passed another vehicle.

The plaintiff says he has visited the Jeep dealership several times for oil changes, maintenance issues and car washes between 2012 and 2017. But the plaintiff allegedly never complained to the dealer or anyone else about a lack of acceleration and never sought repairs.

The main argument of the Chrysler CVT lawsuit is an overheating issue which the plaintiff says first occurred in August 2014 while traveling at least 65 mph on a trip to Las Vegas.

The plaintiff says he was traveling for an extended time in 100-degree heat and was going uphill on a long grade when the Jeep started to slow, the temperature gauge elevated and the warning light turned red.

He pulled the Jeep Compass off the highway and allowed the vehicle to cool for 30 minutes before he resumed travel to Las Vegas without incident.

The CVT lawsuit alleges the plaintiff returned from Las Vegas and took the Jeep to the dealer where the cooler bypass valve was replaced and the transmission fluid level was adjusted, all for free.

The Jeep didn't overheat again until June 2018 on the same highway as the plaintiff drove to Las Vegas in 100-degree heat on a long uphill grade. The plaintiff alleges the warning light activated and the Jeep slowed down as the plaintiff heard a loud whining sound.

The Chrysler CVT lawsuit alleges he completed his trip once he let the Jeep cool down, but the whining sound continued. The plaintiff stopped at a Las Vegas Dodge dealership and spoke with a service manager who allegedly said the transmission was a "closed system."

According to the plaintiff, he took this to mean the vehicle, “can’t be worked on, period.”

The Jeep Compass made it back home and the plaintiff never contacted any other dealership in 2018 about the overheating.

After filing the Chrysler CVT lawsuit, the Jeep allegedly started shuddering when the brakes were applied, but the plaintiff, "has never reported any shuddering to any mechanic or dealership or sought any diagnosis or repair of it."

Chrysler CVT Lawsuit Dismissed

In its motion to dismiss the transmission class action lawsuit, the automaker argues the Jeep Compass performed just as it was supposed to as spelled out in the user guide and owner's manual.

According to Jeep Compass user guide:


  • During sustained high-speed driving or trailer towing up long grades on hot days, the automatic transmission oil may become too hot.
  • When the transmission over-heat warning light [] turns on, you will experience reduced performance until the automatic transmission cools down. Once the transmission has cooled down and the light turns off, you may continue to drive normally. If the high speed is maintained, the overheating will continue to occur.
  • If the overheating continues, it may become necessary to stop the vehicle and run the engine at idle with the transmission in NEUTRAL until the light turns off.

And the Jeep owner's manual says:

“During sustained high-speed driving or trailer towing up long grades on hot days, the automatic transmission oil may become too hot. If this happens, the transmission overheat indicator light will come on, and the vehicle will slow slightly until the transmission cools down enough to allow a return to the requested speed. This is done to prevent transmission damage due to overheating. If the high speed is maintained, the overheating may reoccur, as before, in a cyclic fashion.” — 2012 Jeep Compass owner's manual

Chrysler "points to an absence of evidence of damages from the alleged transmission defects," and argues the only evidence of damages came from the testimony of an expert for the plaintiff, and that testimony had already been stricken from the record.

Judge Jesus G. Bernal agreed and dismissed the entire Chrysler CVT lawsuit by finding, "no triable issue of fact as to damages."

The Chrysler CVT lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Steve Zuehlsdorf, v. FCA US LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by Capstone Law APC.