Yesterday, the walking obscure car encyclopedia of man, , reported about an over-the-air update to FCA’s UConnect system. The update went out on Friday, right before all the FCA software engineers packed-up and left the office for the weekend. Unfortunately the forced update introduced an amazingly annoying bug into many of the newer vehicles – the whole UConnect infotainment system would reboot approximately every minute.
This is a big issue because the UConnect system is more than just a radio. The touchscreen controls audio sources, phone and other Bluetooth connections, climate system, navigation, and even heated seats. Most importantly, the backup camera image is displayed on that screen. When the system is in the process of being rebooted none of that works. Once it’s finally up and running, everything can be accessed but for less than a minute, until the vicious reboot cycle starts up again.
I currently happen to be reviewing Jeep’s amazing 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee Trackhawk which received this update. Like on so many other vehicles, this Jeep has the rebooting problem. Let me tell ya, it is extremely annoying, even on this ridiculously powerful and fun-to-drive vehicle. The system gets stuck while changing Sirius radio stations. Using Apple CarPlay is pretty much impossible. USB ports lose power, and obviously connection, when the system is rebooting. The biggest problem I have noticed is backing up, as the camera simply does not display during the reversing process. We all have come rely on these as the rear visibility in many new cars isn’t great, so this is a safety issue.
But there is a solution…
UPDATE: FCA pushed a new update. The system no longer reboots itself but the SiriusXM Travel Link no longer works, upsetting the three people who actually used it.
I googled about a full-reboot of them system but nothing worked, perhaps because the Jeep I have is a brand new 2018. I then reached out to the only person I knew could help me – our [formerly] own . He said try this and that but nothing worked. He then linked me to a tweet from used @MailManSJ which said:
Put a location in the nav and mute the nav. The radio will no longer reboot. Band aid, but it works.
— MailManSJ (@MailManSJ)
I tired this. I chose one of the previous destinations in the vehicle’s navigational system and told it to direct me there, wherever there was. Once the nav lady started yapping directions at me, I just turned the volume control knob to zero. And I waited. And waited. And nothing happened. And that is a good thing. The constant rebooting has stopped.
As per Mister Mailman’s direction, this temporary fix does work well. It’s not perfect because when the system talks, even thought it is muted, it still mutes the driver’s speakers. It also constantly displays directions in the gauge cluster. But both of these are heck of a lot less annoying than constant system reboots.
Pushing out such update without obvious proper software validation is a huge eff up for FCA. People pay a lot of money for the UConnect system because it is optional on most FCA cars. It is only more annoying and embarrassing because it only happens on basically new vehicles – 2017 and 2018 model years only. It’s a damn shame because the UConnect system is one of the better ones – I would rank it third, behind the newest/best BMW and Ford systems.
Another shameful thing is how long it is taking FCA to come up with a solution to this – it has been five days as of this writing and they still have this:
Certain 2017 & 2018 Uconnect systems may experience a reboot every 45-60 seconds. Our Engineering teams are investigating the cause and working towards a resolution. We will post here as soon as more information is available and apologize for the inconvenience.
— UconnectCares (@UconnectCares)
Other than this issue, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is freakin’ amazing. Sure, it gets between LOL and LMAO miles per gallon but it is just stupidly fast but much easier to drive than the Challenger Hellcat. More on that later…
Follow Bozi Tatarevic on at @hoonable. He’s got lots of interesting things to say about cars because he doesn’t know anything besides cars.