Scarlet Letters are Chrysler Policy

If you can believe it, I just got a call from Chrysler and spent the last half hour or so on the phone talking to a guy named Nate. Apparently, Mayone answers to him and my articles here on, the thread I started over on and all the emails you sent on my behalf compelled him to make this call. While my conversation with him was professional, agreeable and in a surprising way, even somewhat enjoyable, this is what I got out of it.

Long story short, I was told that it’s Chrysler’s policy to have dealerships immediately flag any and all Jeeps that comes in and can be identified as having been modified. Apparently, this scarlet letter is placed on your VIN as a way to help all dealerships know that your Jeep needs to be reviewed prior to having any warranty work performed as the part you are hoping to have fixed or replaced most likely failed due to those modifications. I specifically asked and have confirmed that this would apply to ANY lifted Jeep regardless of height or even if the lift in question was a Mopar kit. Yes, you heard right, even a Mopar kit installed by a dealership is supposed to be flagged.

Having said that, I think it’s clear that many dealerships do not adhere to this policy and the proof of this is, there are many of you out there who have highly modified Jeeps and get warranty work done all the time and without issue. Certainly, I’ve had my own 2007 Rubicon Unlimited serviced under warranty on more than one occasion and without incident and in spite of the fact that it is highly modified. Of course, when I confronted Nate with this point, his answer to me was that he didn’t have an answer and that all our Jeeps should have been flagged. Fortunately, the reality of life is that there are dealerships out there who understand that most of their customers do not come in to have warranty work done but rather, come in to have their oil changed, tires rotated and have routine maintenance performed on a regular basis. These dealerships understand that providing good service is important not only to keep customers coming back but rather, it can help them generate more business through word of mouth recommendations. If every dealership went around flagging every modified Jeep that came in to their doors, that would effectively make it more difficult for them to perform warranty work if and when needed and I can only imagine how that would sit with their loyal customers. Having said all that, the one thing I was able to verify for sure is that the Tuttle Click Jeep in Irvine, CA, is ultimately responsible for the flag I now have on my orange Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited.

Regarding the matter of why Tuttle Click chose to flag my Jeep, what I can tell you is that Nate confirmed that my customer evaluation was in fact recorded and shared with them. Apparently, this is standard practice and intentionally done as a way to help improve customer service. I was told that a message should have informed me that I was to be recorded but Nate admitted that no information regarding the confidentiality of my call or how it was to be used was provided. When I informed him of how my call was ultimately used to harass and intimidate me, he apologized and let me know that’s not how it was supposed to work but, that he could see how something like this could be twisted in this way. When I asked Nate if it was possible that Tuttle Click flagged my jeep out of retribution for my customer evaluation, he insisted that it was their obligated to flag my Jeep the minute they noticed it was lifted and regardless of the purpose of my visit. In response to this, I reminded him of the highly modified 2007 JK Rubicon Unlimited I have and how I was able to get a new locker and steering box replaced under warranty at another dealership and let him know that no flag that I know of exists over it. And to this, he said that the dealership in question should have flagged it. He even suggested that it was possible unsanctioned under the table dealings might be at play but that standard policy is to flag any modified Jeep and subject it to review prior to doing warranty work. Funny thing is, I don’t doubt it for a second that under the table dealings happen all the time and that dealerships do it to find ways to keep loyal customers happy. The only problem is, I now see they also happen all the time to people like me and just because of an honest evaluation I made that ultimately hurt them. At least, that’s the way looks to me.

So where does this leave me? Well, if you haven’t guessed it already, nowhere. I still have a scarlet letter on my Jeep and one that Chrysler is unwilling to remove. I was told that any future warranty work I might want to have done would be met with a road block that requires a thorough review of the part in question. I was told that aside from anything suspension related, warranty work should be allowed and that would apply to something like my exhaust manifold as well. If the work were to be denied, proof would have to be offered but that I would be at the mercy of their technicians to make the call. As a gesture of good will, Nate did give me his personal number and informed me that I should call him if I had any problems like this again. He let me know that being in the position that he’s in, this isn’t something he would normally do but given the circumstances, would be sure to help me. And, while I’m infinitely grateful for his offer of help, I find that I’m still troubled that it took so much effort to get and I’m also left to wonder if I would have gotten anything at all had I not been in the position that I’m in.

Not that this needs to be reiterated but, I’ll say it once again, if you’re unhappy with the service you received at your dealership, you’re better off just keeping your mouth shut. Again, Chrysler IS NOT your friend here and customer evaluations are NOT kept confidential. Anything you say can and will be used against you by your dealership and that can lead to your Jeep getting flagged. Remember, it is Chrysler’s policy to flag ANY and ALL Jeeps that have been modified regardless of the kit or who installed it. If your Jeep hasn’t been flagged already, don’t give your dealership any reason to give it one. A member of suggested that my plight was the result of me stepping on the toes of Tuttle Click and to that, I say he’s probably right. Not that I should care but clearly, when it comes to dealerships, customer satisfaction is not what’s most important but rather, you giving them high praise to Chrysler is. That is, it is if don’t want to lose your warranty anyway.


  1. As a member of jk-forum and a JK owner myself, I am appalled that this has even happened. I am even more disgusted that, after almost going bankrupt no less, Chrysler would be doing such underhanded “flagging” which they do NOT discuss in any of the paperwork we sign for warranty. One would think that they would be trying to KEEP customers as opposed to turn us off and away.

    I also happen to be a website owner too. The website I run has over 13000 members, many of whom are also jeep owners like me. We are all Anesthetists and it takes only a minute to find out what our average income is which goes directly to buying power. I have decided to inform all the people on MY website as well about this underhanded and frankly disgusting practice.

    Lets face it, Chrysler MAKES all these upgrade as MOPAR. They know very well that even the soccer moms buying the unlimited JKs are getting them lifted with tires. They even promote this fact on various occasions. To me, this sortof secretive policy where you are ‘marked’ and NONE of this is ever disclosed before or after it occurs is an unethical buisness practice that could well discourage many people from buying a Chrysler product.

    I hope they are listening because this story will only expand further from today.

    Mike MacKinnon
    modified JK owner.

  2. Wonder if this is going to cause problems with the recall. The dealership hasn’t seen my Jeep since I’ve worked on it, guess I’m getting flagged.

  3. If I get bad service at my local dealer I think i’ll go ahead and report it. Let them flag my jeep, they probably wont do the warranty work anyway. At least they pay a price for bad service.

  4. I’ve followed this story from the get-go and i’m honestly disgusted with how it’s been handled by chrysler. i am of the sort who will turn down free warranty work in favor of doing the job myself and knowing that any changes made were done by me, myself, and I. if there is a bolt somebody forgot to torque properly or any procedure that was overlooked, i have nobody to blame but myself. i also know that i am very VERY careful to be sure that every step of every installation or modification is done to the proper procedures and this is something that you can never be sure of when somebody else works on your Jeep. i can’t say that any of the certified shops in my area are incapable of doing any work needed on my Jeep, but i’d much rather do it myself. however, for those who are less mechanically inclined, less confident in their own mechanical prowess, or simply short on time or money; i feel that warranty work should be able to be carried out competently and within the pre-discussed guidelines. we all know that if you install a lift and 40″ tires and you break an axleshaft, it’s going to be on you. that’s a legitimate claim for a warranty being voided. however, if a dealer tries to tell me that a seatbelt malfunction is also a direct result of those same 40″ tires and lift, i’ll laugh in your face! to flag a vehicle simply because it is lifted is in a way understandable, but in no way practical. sure, if they modified their suspension, what else could have been modified? but honestly, if these really are trained, certified Jeep mechanics, wouldn’t they realize a modification that would directly result in the failure of a given part? shouldn’t they be familiar enough with the vehicle they are working on to know if something is different than what it should be from the factory?

  5. I have yet to have any warranty work or repairs done on my vehicle, and I have had all my repairs out of pocket. Only one problem was trail related. I gladly payed for that. (front driver side axle shaft. ) The stealership s here in Tampa state that all my problems are trail related. I still have stock tires and stock lift on my. I got into a modderately loud conversation with the Service Manager about the vehicle being “trail Rated”, and what does that mean, Had a discussion with him about it being a “Rubican” and what that meant, and what the Rubicon Trail was, and how that particular Jeep got its name. Personally I think there should be a class action lawsuit against Chrysler. I mean there commercials advertise the vehicles going offroad, sand dunes, water….etc… I love my Jeep, but hate the stealerships.. Moho.

  6. we experienced the same thing at a local dealership .we decided to boycut them.They didn’t seem to care until last week that is.
    They were promoting an offroad event on the local news and when we saw that we responded quicly by commenting how could they promote an offroad event if they flag evrybody and refuse to do any work on warranty if your RUBICON skidplate is barely scratched??
    The damage was instatenious and only 1 person subscribed for the event that thay.
    I have to say we are now around 200 jeep only members
    50.000$ was invested in this event it wasn’t long before the owner of the dealerships was begging to meet with us.appologising for the service manager’s bad attitude and that they would not flag any jeeps anymore that if something couldn’t be fixed on warranty they would have to show us it was because of a mod.

    I will copy this and post it to or website

  7. I purchased my 2008 JK unlimited from the dealer new with an aftermarket pro comp lift and tire package. I was told by the dealership that by purchasing the vehicle from the dealer already lifted that my warranty would stay valid. If I bought stock and did the work myself after purchase, it would void my warranty. That is why I purchased it from them already modified. I am calling the dealer to see they have flagged my vehicle as well. Sorry you are going thru this man, seems like we all may be in the same boat.

  8. Hmmm…I can see the memo now from Jeep/Chrysler Corporate office…”Attention ALL DEALERSHIPS:… Re: Modified JKs..”

    I’ll take one RED Project JK sticker for my Jeep, please.

  9. It’s not for nothing, and now i know how to deal with the dealership. DON’T.
    Thanks for the write up info

  10. Wow. This saddens me greatly. I would have thought the Jeep Wrangler brand would have been better represented by it’s maker. It sure makes me reconsider buying any Chrysler product in the future ever again.

  11. It seems like you have a pretty good chance of demonstrating that retribution was involved in these processes. Find a lawyer (should be easy), and I’ll bet the dealership and Chrysler will pay you enough to “buy” another Jeep, or the even one that you are driving now, if you wish.

  12. Note to all, sell your JK, buy or build a CJ. No emission BS, and you can fix it yourself, DC Stinks!

    Sincerely an unhappy 10′ unlimited owner/ very happy 77′ CJ owner.

  13. I’m not quite sure why everyone’s getting their panties in a knot.
    It doesn’t matter what brand or model of vehicle you have, if mods can be proven to cause a part to fail, it won’t be covered under warranty. This flagging thing means nothing, they are going to inspect your vehicle no matter if it’s flagged or not. It’s actually comical the way some of you are reacting. If some dealers are willing to do a repair on a vehicle where the mod caused the failure, they are the exception, not the rule.

  14. what’s comical to me is how people like you come on here with your self-righteous rhetoric and clearly, without having read a single thing that i have writen. in spite of what you choose to believe, if your jeep is flagged, you will not be able to have ANY part fixed under warranty if it falls under the HUGE blanket definition of powertrain – this is REGARDLESS if the break in question was a result of a modification you made or not. No inspection or proof is needed to deny coverage.

    since you missed it, the work done on my exhaust manifold was not covered under warranty simply because my jeep was flagged. after confronting chrysler on this, they have since admitted that my lift would NOT have caused the leak and that the repair should have been made under warranty. needless to say, they are now refuning me what i was charged. had my jeep not been flagged as retribution by tuttle click for the customer evaluation i submitted against them, my exhaust manifold leak would have been warranteed without question.

  15. If I add a lift kit I expect that that part of the Jeeps warranty is voided. I don’t expect the dome light’s warranty to be voided. Now that being said; I will say that I have to support Chrysler Corporate policy (yes I said that). Why, because they are a large company and subject to lawsuits regularly. If a mod we do to our Jeep results in someone’s death Chrysler should not be responsible for it. Chrysler must protect its self from liability or it wont make a profit and if it can’t make a profit it can’t make Jeeps.

  16. yes john, i would expect chrysler to void anything suspension related on a lifted jeep as well but this is not what i’m talking about here. if you took the time to actually read what i wrote, you would understand that this whole thing is about your jeep getting “flagged” and how it WILL prevent you from getting ANY warranty work done if the part in question just so happens to fall under the HUGE blanket definition of powertrain. in my case, i had an exhaust manifold leak that was denied warranty coverage due to this flag – no inspection was made, no proof was offered and the only thing the dealership needed to deny coverage was the flag. of course, chrysler themselves have since admitted that my lift would not have caused it to fail prematurely and are now refunding me what i was charged. please do yourself a favor and read the articles i have writen regarding this matter as they have been provided for your benefit.

  17. I read the whole article.Here’s a quote:
    “Long story short, I was told that it’s Chrysler’s policy to have dealerships immediately flag any and all Jeeps that comes in and can be identified as having been modified. Apparently, this scarlet letter is placed on your VIN as a way to help all dealerships know that your Jeep needs to be reviewed prior to having any warranty work performed as the part you are hoping to have fixed or replaced most likely failed due to those modifications.”
    So, according to these statements, your Jeep needs to be reviewed, that’s just what I said.
    I had vibration in the front end of my vehicle, took it in and they said it was the tires. I had to argue , claw and fight with them to have the front wheel bearings replaced. And they finally replaced them, and there were no mods to my car.
    They re-imbursed you for your repairs, albeit with a fight as well, and your Jeep was flagged.
    All I’m saying is Jeep or not, flagged or not, your claim will be reviewed and scrutinized to the enth degree so as the company doesn’t have to pay for the repairs. I know people with after market air intakes that get refused warranty work, go figure.

  18. and i have no problem with a dealership scrutinizing my jeep to the nth degree. if their review reveals an aftermaket modification that i installed caused a factory part to fail, so be it. i completely understand their need to deny the repairs to be made under warranty and accept the responsibility of it being my fault.

    having said that, if you’ve been following my articles (plural – not just this one) and read them carefully, you would know that this is not what happend. fact of the matter is, my jeep was flagged as a form of retribution by a dealership due to a negative customer evaluation i had provided to chrysler. on a separate visit to a different dealership, an exhaust leak was found that i was told would have normally been covered under warranty but was denied specifically because of the flag and NOT because of any aftermarket modification that i had made – NO review was made or even offered and an enormous amount of effort was required on my behalf to finally get chrysler to admit that their denial of my warranty was wrong. had i not been so dilegent, i would not have been able to get them to admit this or get them refund me for the charges i was made to pay. now, before anyone gets the idea that chrysler only gave in to me because of this website or the articles i’ve been writing, i would like to point out that all this occured PRIOR to me writing about any of it.

    fact of the matter is, a flag effectively VOIDS your warranty UNLESS you fight tooth and nail to get chrysler to review your case and to me, this is wrong.
    i should also add i have been doing some research and have found that while there is a section regarding the flagging of vehicles in the owners warranty handbook, it only applies to lack of maintenance, abuse or neglect – there is absolutely NO mention or even language regarding vehicles that have been modified as i had been told.

  19. I’ve only read this article, so if I seem a bit off, that’s why.
    If they flagged your vehicle and refused to do any warranty work under any circumstances, that’s not good business practice. You would think something could be done about this, on a mass scale.

    “it only applies to lack of maintenance, abuse or neglect”

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they classify modifications as “abuse”. Anyhow, good luck with your future warranty endeavors. I hope you, or a group of people band together to try and do something about this whole issue.

    Take it easy,

  20. Ok,
    so I am one of the lucky few I bought my 2008 2dr rubicon at a ford dealership ( who had know idea what the vehicle was hehe) I went to get inspected in my state of residence and it failed for back ball joints. I went to the dealer for a estimate and asked them to send the bill to the seller. They totally shocked me when they called to inform me they noticed the universals were also questionable and all was being covered under warranty! I have worked in the auto industry for about 7 years and was shocked by the level of customer service from a American car company (previous car was a 2008 BMW 335). So when I picked up the jeep I pulled the service manager aside and said hey im in the business to so no BS but if I lift this thing will my warranty be voided he said absolutely BUT>>>>>> not by me as long as you dont bring it in covered in mud with sea weed hanging off of it.

    I said fair enough since then they have taken care of many minor issues that I have heard horror stories about. i.e hood latches, MyGIG, leaky hart top, etc.. all with out hassle or BS… I have moved back to the Boston area and will continue to drive the 70 minutes for any work my Jeep needs done and will continue to praise this dealership since they seem to have a solid understanding of what it takes to keep a loyal customer happy! I mean they even give a basic detail to the rig every time it goes in! so fellow Jeepers don’t give up because of a few bad apples because trust me Chrysler is listening they personally wrote to me in regards to a request for a diesel Rubicon.

    Now as far as these “flagged” vehicles being denied for any warranty claim well luckily for us we can sue and they would have to prove beyond and doubt or gray area that our mods caused said mechanical or electrical failure. And we can seek damages and come out on top, but do note that there are disclaimers on all Mopar performance brochures explaining limited warranty’s and the affects of said parts to the vehicles manufacturer warranty coverage.

    I have worked for a Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep dealer in the past and have seen both sides of the fence a salesperson and now proud owner.

    Kindest Regards,

  21. I had some interesting simlarities in a visit to a dealership for a transmission failure. Little background, I have a 07′ JK with a Pro Comp 4″ lift, 35″ tires, and factory 4:10 gears. At 62K miles, reverse went out of my tranny when backing out of my driveway. I dropped it off at he dealership and further advised them the driverside exhause manifold was cracked. A week passed and they kept giving me the run around about if the repairs would be covered or not. I wasn’t complaining if the warranty wasn’t going to cover the tranny, I just wanted an answer either way. They kept telling me the Manager of the dealership would have to review my “case” eventhough they had not even torn down the tranny yet, only verified reverse was out. Initially they stated my tranmission would not be covered because of the tires and how “You have to understand the extra stress you placed on the transmission because of the bigger tires and how it affects the gear ratio”. I promptly drove down to the dealership and polietly requested to see the Manager. I pointed out a vehicle in their inventory, factory lifted on 33″ tires, with 3:73 gears. I asked if they are going to void the warranty on that vehicle and if so will they advise the owner before of after they purchase the vehicle? I further stated I would continue to buy Jeeps because I love Jeeps, but knowing full well I will get screwed in a** when it comes to warranty issues, always have and probably always will. I told it was horrible business practice. Get treated right, you will probably tell a friend. Get screwed and you will tell everybody you know and probably millions on the internet. I also provided the manager with a gear ratio calculator and showed his enventory Jeep was HARDER on the drivetrain than mine. It makes me wonder if my Jeep had been flagged the previous year when I had brought it in for some recall work and that the reason for them “having my case reviewed” prior to them even tearing down my tranmission. Ultimatly, they replaced the tranny, exhause manifold, and even covered 5 days of my rental car bill! The Manager told me he appreciated my honesty and believed if a dealership manager is going to sell a person a car and shake their hand, he had better stand behind the product or go be a used car salesman. He then told “If you break a
    U-joint, axle, or diff, well…then we might not agree on the outcome.” On my way out of the service area after picking up the Jeep, I was stopped by my service contact and told my brake light was out. He replaced it right there! Not all dealerships are shady, and like most business, they can exercise latitude on their policies and procedures.

  22. This kind of customer service is appalling. It seems to be more of a trend with many businesses nowadays too. For as much money as some people put into their cars, you would think that dealerships would treat their customers better. I am thankful that my local Jeep dealership treats me better than that. Hence being a return customer. But now after reading this, I am a bit scared that this may happen to me. Thanks for the forewarning and I will be following this. Hopefully it gets resolved for you.

  23. After reading all the replies on this website I am getting real scared of what may shortly happen to me. My 2009 Wrangler had been state inspected every year by the dealership that I bought it brand new from. This year I did not have the time to take it there for the free state inspection and had it done by a very reputable service center near my home. I was imformed that the right rear axle seal was leaking and fluid was all over the disc pads. I checked my warranty book and discovered that the powertrain warranty is supposed to cover any gaskets and seals associated with the powertrain. One would assume that this would cover the right rear seal as well. I called the dealership service center and imformed them as to what failed on my inspection. Without giving them my name or imformation the service person told me my name and address and that I would have to bring the Jeep in to their service center at which time they would have to evaluate the problem and call Chrysler for approval to cover the work. If this person was able to pull up all this imformation about me without me telling him then would he not also know when the car was bought in order for the dealer to tell me that the seal would be covered under the factory powertrian warranty. Instead he gave me the impression that it may not be. The only refusal on their part would be because of modification which I have none, or abuse for which I took a few 1,000 miles between oil changes which I did not have done by them this time, and regular maintenance by them. For the service person not to be able to tell me if the work is covered or not when asked, gives me a bad feeling about Chrysler and their new practices considering what many other Jeep owners have gone thru on this and other websites. After reading about one person having a right rear bent axle shaft and his subsequent problem with the dealer, I feel they will use any excuse to side step their own warranties and I am in for quite a few dollars out of my pocket at a time when I can ill afford to.

  24. I think someone should just come up with a window sticker of a red flag or red letter J to indicate they’ve been flagged by their dealer. Great conversation starter in the parking lot or campground etc.

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