A unusual issue has been afflicting a multitude of cars made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in North America - such as Jeep, Chrysler (duh), Dodge, and RAM trucks - and specifically those with the Uconnect infotainment system installed.
Following an over-the-air software update rolled out to these cars, the infotainment unit has been stuck in a constant boot loop, a sequence where the full interface never loads up and remains in state of software limbo. This leaves the user, or owner in this case, completely helpless.
Making matters worse is the relationship between the head unit and the car’s battery, which has the authority to draw power indecent of whether the key is even in the ignition. This has led to a nightmarish week for Fiat Chrysler of America, who have had to deal with a torrent of complaints from owners with dead batteries and a temporarily useless car as a result.
The over-the-air update to the Uconnect system was rolled out to certain 2017 and 2018 model year cars over the previous weekend and has subsequently caused the 8.4-inch 4C NAV unit to reboot involuntarily every minute or so. Again, apparently without regard to whether the ignition has been switched over or not.
FCA seemed to have pointed most of the blame to the satellite radio service SiriusXM (which is built into Uconnect) and their Travel Link feature, which actively updates with various location-based alerts such as local news and weather. Apparently, something about that particular facility doesn’t play nice with the underlying software in this newest update.
Over the past week, and a few days after the problem was first reported, FCA rolled out another update the counter the previous one’s effects. Though it has rectified the issue for the majority of vehicles that have encountered this boot loop issue, a number of follow-up complaints have begun to surface.
While these are quite varied, they seem to revolve around the sudden disabling of access to Apple CarPlay to noticeably slower performance of the infotainment system to USB charging problems. FCA says it is working on a long-term fix, one that would rectify and restore the SiriusXM Travel Link, ending the boot loop problem, as well as fixing any complications that have followed from the initial fix.
Customers with the problems are understandably upset, but it’s been reported that the communication channels are woefully silent with the automaker, who distributes the Uconnect software to its various vehicle brands, and has for the most part passed the buck onto dealer representatives who are typically unfamiliar with this underlying software while promising to follow-up directly at a later date.
As of the time of writing, the software problem seems to only effect vehicles purchased within the past 2 years in the United States and Canada. Presumably, the Uconnect software distribution for vehicles outside North America will be unaffected due to them not having support for the problematic SiriusXM bug.
That said, in no way does the company’s clumsy efforts to issue a proper fix while customers receive little to no direct feedback bode well.