4X4 Blog by Robert Pepper 1 December 2022
What problems are Suzuki JB74 Jimny owners seeing?
Pick a car, any car, and you will find someone with problems. That’s just a given, but it’s not a cause for concern unless you start to see a pattern of similar problems across many owners. And that’s exactly what owners of JB74 Jimnys started to see. One of my readers sent me this note:
Howdy, I’ll ask you as you are one of the few remaining motoring journos who haven’t sold out.
Do you keep an eye on the New JB74 Australia Facebook page at all?
If so, what the hell can people do with the head unit issue – Suzuki and dealers passing the buck to each other?
I’ve had mine about four months now, about the sixth Zook I’ve owned. Suzuki have always been awful with warranty claims, but these head units are next-level.
I picked up my car, fiddled with the thing for 20 minutes and gave up in frustration. Plugged my phone into other socket and just use Siri for everything.
What’s the best way to go from here, in your opinion?
I thought the best way from there was to see how widespread the problem was. I never like to write anything based on a single complaint. So we put a poll up on a popular Suzuki Facebook group, and here’s the results:
Over 30% of respondents had problems with the head unit, and there doesn’t appear to be a pattern other than it not working properly in some way. Here’s some example comments:
“I have a 2022 manual GLX and have the head unit issues which include radio cutting out, display turning off and needing to restart the car for it to come back and no one can hear me on the Bluetooth with the microphone
Also have transfer case noise originally sounded like a grinding of gears and was only when changing from 1st to 2nd gear some days are worse then others.”
“I have a 2022 auto GLX. The Android Auto is constantly dropping in and out. It just reached 3000kms. I am getting really frustrated with it now, I don’t even bother to use it anymore. I have tried changing cords, updating and adjusting settings, forgetting devices and trying other people’s phones. The actual USB plug in point seems to be loose. I have it booked in for a service next week, so hopefully they can sort it out.“
“Head unit issues. On Apple car play, is google maps supposed to disappear when you answer a call? I just get a black screen when I try to get it back up on the screen using button on steering wheel. Another issue has been with any internet radio such as Spotify. 50% of the time it won’t play unless I restart the car. But the normal radio is fine.“
Now you’ll note ‘2022’ appears in two of those statements. That’s because the head unit problems are specific to some MY2022 Jimnys. The reason is that, like everyone else, Suzuki was hit by the semi-conductor shortage and had to use a different head unit as a stop-gap measure, or in the words of Suzuki Cars Australia General Manager Michael Pachota, “All Suzukis, outside of Jimny Lite (for obvious reasons) and Swift Sport, delivered to customers in 2022 had MY22 units fitted to their vehicles as part of a counter measure with supply issues to get Suzuki stock delivered to Australia and New Zealand due to semi-conductor issues.”
According to Suzuki, less than 2% of the total deliveries reported issues, which is way off the 30%+ in our informal and small poll. You’d have to think that many owners wouldn’t report problems or just swap the unit out or not bother, so I’d take the 2% as a low figure.
However, there is a fix. Pachota went on to say: “Throughout the year, as issues were reported, we approached the supplier of the MY22 units which developed firmware updates to resolve the issues. In September, we released our latest firmware update via bulletin to our dealer network, Version 1.4, which has eliminated all issues reported to date.”
So there you go, if you have a Suzuki MY22 head unit, get Version 1.4 of the software installed on it and all should be well. Again, Suzuki is hardly alone with supply-chain issues of this nature and other car companies have made similar substitutions, or simply dropped features.
As for a lot of owners reporting idling/stalling problems, the thread wasn’t full of comments exploring the issue so I’m not going to explore this one further.
The noisy transfer case may well be this:
Transfer cases often sound noisy when the vehicle is in low range as there’s less need to design the gears for quietness and they also need to be designed for greater strength because of the torque multiplication in low range; using straight-cut gears for example.
As for the speedo errors; the speed on any car should over-read, e.g. typically reading 100km/h when the actual speed is 95km/h. This is normal and designed so that if you do get caught for speeding it can’t be the carmaker’s fault. If you want to check your speedo accuracy use your phone and any app which reads the speed based on the GPS signal, eg Google Maps or one of the many free apps. The phone uses the GPS signal Doppler shift to accurately determine speed to within about +/- 1km/h. For best effect, cruise at a constant speed on the level, and at 100km/h.
Happily, almost 20% of respondents had no problems at all, and the majority of the rest were just one or two people with a problem; that’s normal for any car and nothing to be concerned about. It’s the head unit and idling/stalling that are statistically significant.
However, the dealers don’t seem overly interested. Here’s an example:
Got my first service done. Told the dealer about a couple of issues, said they’d have a look (including the head unit which I just don’t use and seat squeaking.
Got it back and was told; ‘due to the modifications currently on this vehicle we are unable to effectively diagnose any issue you may have’.
When I asked them to clarify he just repeated the same statement.
My mods are; 40mm lift, snorkel, 80L long-range tank, rocksliders, 215/75R15 Kumho all-terrains.
Now when a vehicle is modified the carmaker is entitled to reject warranty work if the modification contributes to the problem being presented for warranty. For example, fit an aftermarket turbo, your diff fails…the carmaker can and does say that the extra power and torque caused the failure. Fair enough too.
However, I fail to see how any of the modifications listed above would have any effect on the seat or head unit. That’s disappointing, and not unusual it seems. It’s also odd considering they had this at the press launch in 2019:
Suzuki Australia’s Michael Pachota’s response to the warranty question:
“With reference to the customer complaints on dealers not inspecting warranty claims if their vehicles have been modified, the Suzuki dealer network will always inspect a vehicle reported to have a production fault/issue to diagnose the source of that fault/issue, unless the modification is directly in the way of the process to inspect and/or could be an OH & S issue for the technician to inspect safely.”
Based on that it would appear that particular owner should have had their fault at least diagnosed. However, it’s not unusual for a dealer’s actions to be at odds with the stated position of a carmaker.
So what should owners do? Well, don’t let this put you off buying a JB74 Jimny which is a fantastic vehicle that many owners are very much enjoying. The head unit is easily replaced or just ensure if yours is a MY22 it has Version 1.4 of the software, and with such an active and knowledgeable community there are fixes for any problem you may have.
The purpose of this post is simply to make current and potential owners aware of the issues so they may enjoy their vehicles to the maximum. I may do more of this with other vehicle types if there’s demand. I’d also like to thank Suzuki Australia for their commendably quick response to an earlier draft of this article I sent them.
Finally I do need to drive traffic to my YouTube channel and don’t have any Jimny-specific content, but this will be a relevant consideration for those Suzuki owners considering tyre changes: