Are Jeeps Reliable – 20 Years of Owning Jeeps

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Are Jeeps reliable? Seriously asking this question doesn’t mean you are cheap, it just means you are smart with your money, if you want an off-roading 4×4 then you should buy a Jeep, if you want an economical daily driver, then go buy a Toyota Prius.

Are Jeeps reliable? Dating back to WWII, Jeep is a company with a rich history, and the popularity of its cars’ designs over time can attest to their dependability with some lasting well over 100k miles. However, there are factors to take into consideration when it comes to automotive reliability, so experts and jeepers have differing viewpoints, which is understandable.

There are some Jeeps you should avoid due to increased complaints by their owners, for this purpose we have written and explained the top five Jeep Wrangler years to Avoid when looking for a used Jeep Wrangler.

We decided to write these posts after our 2018 Jeep Wrangler sports (3.6L V6) developed problems, it has corrosions from off-roading, and all the abuse I have caused to it over the years, manual transmission recalls, the hood insulator is almost on its death bed, the grill is out of its original paint with some huge flakes coming off, leaking crankshafts, axle noises – But damn, out Jeep has been exposed to a lot of hard daily living – and we love it for its dependability on such kind of scenarios.

We have spent thousands of dollars, customizing and fixing issues on this particular Jeep, our poor experiences with this Jeep, and other Jeeps we have owned are almost 20+ years apart, but this had us wondering, are Jeeps reliable?

In this post, we will highlight the features we love on our Jeep, and common problems we have encountered in several of our Jeeps, and by the end of the post you will be well informed on the reliability of Jeeps, and whether you should get one.

To enhance your jeep style more, get to know all about the Best Aluminum Bumpers for Jeep

Is buying a Jeep a good idea?

eep Wrangler Sport 4x4 with a 3.6L V6

You will always spot us with Jeeps on the highway, and even off-roading, just because we only buy Jeeps, but it’s a shame whenever people ask us “are Jeeps reliable?’ and we usually answer with no but with an exception of the performance and they are the funniest car we have owned.

You see to us, if you are going to buy only one car, we would not recommend a Jeep, if you are looking for an SUV for camping and off-roading, and you have some money in your Pocket for customization and personalization, then go for it.

Some reasons would lead us to recommend a Jeep, and for the last 20 years, I have come to love the following Jeep features:

Timeless Design

First and foremost, I would love to appreciate the timeless design of Jeep models, especially the Jeep wrangler that stands out – with Americans and Canadians forking out thousands to get a hold of one.

Jeeps historic design is simple and ideal for the whole family, it gives its capabilities on roading and off-roading prowess, this is not with a lot of complains thou, most people complain about the design, saying that it is not ideal for aerodynamic and makes it poor on gas mileage.

Jeep customers need to understand Jeeps are built to be reliable in different kinds of conditions as possible, which in the commercial repertoire is not a byword for reliability.

Great Aftermarket Service

Availability of spare parts is a key factor when choosing a car to buy, We love Jeeps because we can get a variety of Jeep parts and Jeep accessories – The availability of Jeep parts and accessories greatly influence the costs of maintaining a Jeep, Jeeps are common in American markets since this is their home, and consumers can get parts and service easily from the manufacturer.

The average repair costs of our Jeeps are close to $700, with an average of one visit to a repair shop each year, and the probability of 15% of the repair being severe – yeah, it’s a Jeep!

If you are in countries where Jeep has no dealership shops that offer service then you should know Jeep parts may be expensive, and hard to get – buying them online also increases the costs of getting them delivered, as aftermarket parts are heavier than factory parts.

On top of Jeep parts and accessories, there is the issue of annual insurance costs, our Jeeps insurance costs $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the model and the customization features. You can expect costs of $1,000 for a Jeep Cherokee, older Jeep models are also cheaper to insure than newer ones.

What Makes Jeeps Unreliable?

When asked the question “are jeeps reliable” our mind shifts to the Jeep reliability score of 3.5/5 ratings based on the costs, frequency of actuals repairs of the problems highlighted below:

Several factors have contributed to the lack of dependability of Jeep over the years, according to various automotive reports, Jeep tends to sit in the middle of the ranking, with several popular sources putting it at the bottom of other brands.

Jeep Oil Housing Leak

It doesn’t matter what kind of Jeep we have oil housing leaking is a common Jeep problem, you will also find Jeepers seeking help on forums and other social platforms.

Jeep Oil Housing Leak Fix
Jeep Oil Housing Leak Fix

On our 2016 Jeep wrangler, the oil leaking started at 50,000 miles, despite the oil cooler housing being revised in the year 2014 from a plastic part to a metal part. You can have a dealer replace it using part number 68105583AE. The oil leak is prevalent right under the transmission area, at the base of the cooler housing, it’s easily confused with a transmission leak but it’s a leak from the motor oil cooler housing.

The average costs of fixing a Jeep oil housing leak are $150-$1,000 depending on the parts that need replacement and the costs of labor.

Jeep Engine Stalls/Dies While Driving

After our Jeep started stalling, we wrote an in-depth article on Jeep Starts Then Dies Right Away” with common issues being fuel systems and electrical systems.

According to Jeep engine stalling is not an issue only affecting us, but a common issue affecting Jeep after 76K miles and begins stalling while driving at 70 miles per hour. A historic Jeep stalling recall was in 2008 when Chrysler recalled 1.3 million Jeep Cherokee and SUVs that had stalling issues.

If you have issues with your Jeep stalling or running rough after the engine is warm, we recommend reading our “Jeep Starts Then Dies Right Away” post where we have some DIY fixes for you.

Jeep Cylinder Head Issues

Cylinder head issues are common on Jeeps, it doesn’t matter what kind of warranty you have these are issues that affect Jeeps worldwide, a Youtuber from the United States has explained cylinder head issues he had on his Jeep wrangler, with his red-carpet warranty being of no help, Jeep doesn’t like handling cylinder head issues, and browsing through the Jeep community forums you will find Jeepers complaining of Jeep not fixing their Cylinder head issues.

Mostly Jeep with 3.6 V6 engines has the highest number of cylinder head issues, the cause of the problem is the design of the inlet manifold, the runners of the intake manifold cause intake mixtures to come into contact with the left-hand bank instead of the right. We have had our Jeep fixed after noticing leaks on the burnt valves, the fix involved upgrading the valves and the valves seats with aftermarket parts.

Replacing Jeep cylinder heads is costly, cylinder heads cost well above $1,000, and the labor for replacing them costs between $500 to $1,000.

Jeep TIPM Failure

TIPM or an Integrated Power Module is a device that has brought nightmares in our 20 years of owning a Jeep, this is because in case a TIPM is faulty its easily misdiagnosed as other problems for example, on our Jeep wrangler, when the TIPM failed, we had issues with automatic door locks, wipers, and fuel pump – we had to test each of these parts to later realize the problem was a TIPM failure.

Jeepers are complaining in social communities of their misdiagnosed TIPM failure, the main reason for misdiagnosed TIPM Failure is because the TIPM module on a Jeep is connected with other electrical components and its function is to send commands from other modules and the engine and sends them in form of voltage and ground signals.

The costs of replacing a TIPM on a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Liberty, and Jeep Wrangler is $200-$300, the TIPM is repairable but we recommend just buying a new one as repairing a TIPM can cause havoc when it comes to electrical issues such as fuel pumps failing, and airbags deployments.

Jeep Death Wobble

One of the scariest that can happen to a Jeep driver is the death wobble, if you have experienced a death wobble with a very aggressive vibration of the wheels and the steering and most of the time you have to stop, the causes of a Jeep death wobble are loose suspension equipment’s.

You can experience Jeep wobble when your Jeep is cruising well over 30 miles per hour, and won’t stop unless you stop the Jeep. If this happens just be easy on the steering wheel and brakes, stop and check your steering system especially the track bar bolt as this has been reported causing more than 90% of death wobble cases on a Jeep, you can also check for other steering system loose parts, or call a reputable mechanic.

Fixing a Jeep death wobble has no fixed price as any of the following components might be the cause of the death wabble:

Jeep PartsCosts
Track Bar$250-$400
Ball Joints$40-$250
Drag Links & Tie Rods    $1,500
Control Arms$300
Steering Stabilizers$60-$120

It’s important to note that these are prices of parts, and labor charges for fixing a death wobble are anything from $50 to $1,000 if major parts need replacements.

How the Jeep Reliability Judged?

Are Jeeps Reliable: How the Jeep Dependability Judged?
Are Jeeps Reliable: How the Jeep Dependability Judged?

The reliability of a Jeep is based on consumer reports based on a variety of factors, especially when comparing a Jeep with other vehicle brands. For example, the industry rating, coverage, costs, critical reception, and customer services are the common factors the automotive industry uses to check the reliability of vehicles in the industry.

Conclusion: Are Jeeps Reliable?

So, are Jeeps reliable? From our post and experience of owning a Jeep, we would not classify it as a reliable car, they were once with older models being a favorite among hard-core jeep fans, who use them in the Rocky Mountains and extreme off-roading.

The Jeep has many issues that we have talked about ranging from electrical problems to mechanical problems, these are some of the reports consumers are sending to the automotive industry and most of them are a huge dissatisfaction amongst consumers.

If you want a Jeep, go buy it – if the reliability is something at the top of your list when looking for a vehicle then go elsewhere, you can lease a Jeep if you need to go off-road or camp with your family and friends without having to experience the issues that come along with owning a Jeep.

If you want a Jeep and are a kind of DIY guy, then get yourself a new Jeep with a maintenance package, and welcome to the Jeep community.

James Ndungu - Jeep Runner Writer

Author: James Ndungu

James is an Automotive Service Writer, I4WDA certified trainer, Jeep enthusiast, and shop owner specializing in Jeep parts, accessories, and Electric Vehicles Charging Station Installation services. His interest and first-hand experience in electric vehicle charging technology motivated him to achieve certification through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP).

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