uConnect Freezes and Leaves a Blank Screen That Doesn't Work

Key Points

  • The uConnect experience is plagued with random rebooting, unresponsive controls, and blank screens.
  • In 2018 Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) sent out an over-the-air software update that caused thousands of units to endlessly reboot every 45 seconds.
  • A class-action lawsuit alleges the best FCA has offered customers is to replace one faulty unit with a newer, but equaly defective one.
Ram console with uConnect loaded on the infotainment screen
Posted on
Author
Scott McCracken
Tagged
#interior #technology

The uConnect infortainment system has a reputation. It's not a good one, but it's well earned.

For years owners have had issues with the system booting up into a blank (black screen), flickering during use, becoming slow to respond to touch inputs, and randomly rebooting and forgetting all of the user presets.

That's a tough pill to swallow considering that's the only way some Ram owners can control the temperature in their vehicles, connect to their phones, use the vehicle's voice assistant, turn on the radio, check the rear backup camera, or use the built-in navigation.

It also means you can't use the "SOS" feature in an emergency.

Top Complaints About uConnect

uConnect has a long list of problems and a short list of not-so-desirable solutions. Your best to fix these problems? Turn the car off and start it back up again. Or turn off the car and pull the uConnect fuse. Or turn off the car and hop on your bike instead.

Otherwise you'll be left to deal with these problems:

The screen freezes up or goes blank

One of the main complaints about UConnect is how the system freezes up. With a black, unresponsive screen, owners are left without a way to control the radio, navigation, remote locking, climate control, and other important features.

Jumping between inputs

On its own, the system will switch between input sources. So from the radio, to XM, to the USB, and so on. There’s nothing quite like singing along to your favorite song only to have the song suddenly stop so everyone can hear your lovely(?) singing voice.

Other annoyances:

  • The radio reception is borderline useless. Yes, people still use the radio.
  • It suddenly won’t recognize USB media drives it previously recognized. That’s just cold.
  • Sometimes the controls work, but the audio is missing.

The Endless Reboot Over-the-Air Update

In February of 2018, FCA sent out an over-the-air software update that promptly caused thousands of units to endlessly reboot every 45 seconds or so.

That ... didn't go over well. Especially since some owners say there wasn't even an option to decline the update.

The endless reboots would continue even if the cars were off and the keys were nowhere nearby. That led to a lot of dead batteries and frustrated owners.

The uConnect team acknowledged the update problem on Febraury 13th and tied it to issues with the ever-so-useless SiriusXM Travel Link feature. They also said the problem was regional to the northeast US and Canada and was limited to vehicles with the uConnect 4C NAV and 8.4-inch touchscreen.

Poor handling and poorer confidence

Consumer confidence was already pretty low in the uConnect system, but FCA's handling just drove it deeper into the mud.

While the automaker pushed out updated to stop the endless rebooting and said they'd work on a longer-term fix. customers were not impressed with being kept in the dark.

Little or no information was made availabe to owners wondering what the hell was going on. Customers were told to call local dealerships who were just as clueless about the problem or what to do.

Uconnect Class-Action Lawsuit

A UConnect class-action lawsuit was filed in Kansas in early 2018 after an owner’s defective UConnect system was replaced with, you guessed it, another defective UConnect system.

On June 1, 2016, the dealership replaced the system’s module, allegedly causing the screen to flash back and forth from black to white. Once again the dealership said it had fixed the system, but the screen went black again after the plaintiffs picked up the car.

In July, the dealership again replaced the Uconnect system that allegedly experienced even more issues that prevented the plaintiffs from controlling their heating, air conditioning and navigation.

The lawsuit points to 3 Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) as evidence Chrysler has known about the defects since 2014.

The case continues, but only for Kansas owners

A judge partially granted Chrysler’s motion to dismiss which means this case will continue in Kansas, but not as a nationwide class-action.

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Ram generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 4th Generation 1500

    Years
    2012–2018
    Reliability
    11th of 11
    PainRank
    46.72
    Complaints
    934
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a 1500
  2. 4th Generation 2500

    Years
    2012–2018
    Reliability
    9th of 11
    PainRank
    12.07
    Complaints
    173
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a 2500
  3. 4th Generation 3500

    Years
    2012–2018
    Reliability
    8th of 11
    PainRank
    11.36
    Complaints
    144
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a 3500
  4. 4th Generation 4500

    Years
    2012–2016
    Reliability
    3rd of 11
    PainRank
    0.91
    Complaints
    11
    Continue
  5. 1st Generation ProMaster City

    Years
    2015–2020
    Reliability
    4th of 11
    PainRank
    1.2
    Complaints
    16
    Continue

Further Reading

A timeline of stories related to this problem. We try to boil these stories down to the most important bits so you can quickly see where things stand. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts for your vehicle over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. A Uconnect lawsuit has been filed in Kansas.

    While Ram trucks aren't mentioned by name, you can tell me if any of this sounds familiar. the Uconnect system in the Dodge Dart began to freeze and then shut off in April 2016, leaving a blank, black screen that didn't work, so the plaintiffs took their car to a dealership for repairs while the Dart was still under warranty. ... The dealership replaced the Uconnect system on May 14, 2016, but that same day the replacement system began to randomly black out.

    keep reading

What Owners Say About This Problem

Radio and screen would just turn itself off at anytime, and the music that I had down loaded onto a thumb drive would not work unless I rebooted the complete system.

When [the screen goes blank] you lose all information on your radio, phone, navigation system very annoying. My system came back after a hour of driving very annoying when you need the nav system for areas that you never been in before ad to stop and get out my map.

Due to the Uconnect failure, I no longer have a functioning radio AM/FM/XM nothing! I can't access the heating features which is disheartening since I live in Michigan and its winter time. Im now paying extra for service's I cannot access due to the faulty screen.

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA