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


The uConnect infotainment system will often boot into a blank screen, becoming unresponsive to the touch, or reboot at random times. Each time it'd force owners to turn off their cars, restart, and just hope for a better outcome. And an over-the-air update just made things worse, destorying any shred of consumer confidence that was left.

Ram console with uConnect loaded on the infotainment screen
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#interior #technology

The uConnect infortainment system has a reputation. It's not a good ones, 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" feture 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.

Models With UConnect Frozen with Blank Screen Problems

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 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