Jeep cars are an icon for tremendous off-road capability and ruggedness. Jeep vehicles have developed a massive cult following among adventure enthusiasts, with the Wrangler leading the list of followers.
This article discusses everything about Jeep cars in detail. From reliability, repair costs, most common problems to safety ratings, comfort, best engines, and everything in between.
Here are 14 things you need to know about Jeep cars.
Are Jeeps Reliable?
Jeep isn’t the most reliable automaker. According to the number of consumer reports, it’s the 8th least reliable car brand in the world.
Reliability isn’t something that you can associate with Jeep vehicles, and this is exactly what the 2019 list of consumer reports suggest. Their list of the worst car brands of the year 2019 featured Jeep at the 8th position owing to its terrible reliability.
In fact, the Jeep Wrangler scored a mere 12 out of 100 for reliability in 2019 consumer reports. Over time, the Wrangler has been prone to multiple issues like death wobble, wind noise, water leaks, exhaust leaks, and faulty electricals.
Though the other Jeep vehicles like the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have slightly better reliability scores than the Wrangler, these cars are still quite far from being called reliable. Common problems on these vehicles included faulty electricals, issues in the axle and suspension, and transmission problems (2015 Cherokee). However, the 2011 to 2013 Grand Cherokees were fairly reliable vehicles.
Do Jeeps Last Long?
Jeeps easily last over 200.000 miles. The most durable is Jeep Cherokee that can last up to 20 years and exceed 400.000 miles.
Let’s take a look at the most popular Jeeps and how long they last.
Patriot-17 years (200k miles)
Rubicon– 20 years (300k miles)
Liberty– 14 years (270k miles)
Wrangler– 15 years (250k miles)
Commander– 15 years (200k miles)
Do Jeeps Tend to Rust?
Jeeps do tend to rust because they’re meant to be extremely capable off-road, so they are made of more metal body panels when compared to composite or plastic panels on other vehicles.
The Jeep Wrangler has been notorious for corrosion issues, and this certainly is one of the things that Wrangler owners worry a lot about. The reason why the Wrangler rusts a lot has mainly to do with its heavy-duty build. This obviously increases the surface area that reacts with the moisture in the air and causes corrosion.
Furthermore, Jeep cars are subjected to a lot of tough-terrain or off-road abuse by their owners. All those muddy and rocky terrains tend to eventually destroy the paint of the car, further exposing the metal body to corrosion.
Are Jeeps Expensive to Fix?
Jeep’s maintenance and repairs cost about $630 per year. In comparison, Toyota’s repair and maintenance cost $440/year, Land Rover’s $1.200/year, Ford’s $775/year, and Subaru’s $607/year.
Repair costs depend totally upon the type of repair that the car undergoes. Severe repairs do tend to cost a bit on the higher side on Jeep vehicles. Look at the replacement and repair costs of some of the common Jeep repairs:
- Replacement of Timing chain: $720 – $845
- Replacement of the distributor assembly: $220 – $374
- Transmission fuel change and filter replacement: $196 – $230
- Replacement of wiper motor: $191 – $207
- Headlamp Alignment Adjustment: $36 – $ 45
- Replacement of gear set: $893 – $980
Are Jeeps Comfortable?
Though Jeeps are known to be more rugged, off-road specific, and not the most comfortable in their segments, some of the Jeep models like the Grand Cherokee L blend off-road capability with comfortable road driveability perfectly.
Here is slightly more detailed information regarding comfort in the popular jeep models:
Wrangler: The Wrangler is sufficiently spacious on the inside, with upright seats that are quite comfortable. However, the suspension setup on the Wrangler is designed to dominate rough terrains and not towards comfort on the road.
Cherokee: Seats on the Cherokee are pretty comfortable. However, the cabin space is quite limited, and the interior feels a bit claustrophobic.
Grand Cherokee: The Grand Cherokee is a great combination of immense rough road capability and smooth road manners.
Grand Cherokee L: The Grand Cherokee l is supreme in terms of comfort. Plus, it’s greatly practical as it offers a third row of seats.
Compass: The Compass doesn’t offer as much of a refined ride, and plush interior as some of its competitors do.
What are the Most Common Problems with Jeeps?
The most common problems with Jeep cars include death wobble, exhaust leak, water leaks, wind noise, and CVT transmission overheating. In the worst-case scenario, you can expect to pay as much as $1700 to repair your Jeep.
- Death Wobble: This problem on some of the Jeep cars is as scary as it sounds. Some Grand Cherokee owners reported that after hitting an undulation or a big bump, especially at high speeds, the car becomes difficult to handle as the steering starts shaking and vibrating aggressively. Death wobble is generally caused due to poor alignment, worn out ball joints, or poorly balanced tyres.
- Exhaust Leaks: Some of the Jeep models like the Grand Cherokee (1993-2004), the Wrangler (1991-2006), and the Cherokee (1987-2001) that came with inline 6-cylinder 4.0 liter engines, had been nasty for exhaust leak issues. This problem was also reported in some of the Grand Cherokee (1999-2009) that had the 4.7 liter V8 engine.
- Water Leaks: Issues of water leaking into the interiors were also reported in some of the Jeep vehicles, particularly the Wrangler and the Cherokee. The window and door seals tend to wear out overtime, and as a result, some water starts leaking from the door and window areas. Also, several users have had water leaking problems with the removable top of the Wrangler.
- Wind Noise: Along with water leaks, Wranglers also suffer with the issue of terrible wind noise that filters inside the cabin.
- CVT Transmission overheating issue: Owners of the 2011 Jeep Compass reported issues of their CVT transmission overheating. This problem started showing up around 70k miles, and the whole repair costed close to $1700.
Are Jeeps Safe?
Jeep is a relatively safe car brand, but there are exceptions. While the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee scored supreme scores in the crash tests, models like the Renegade and Compass scored average, and the Wrangler scored a bit poor.
Here are the NHTSA crash test ratings of some of the Jeep cars:
- 2021 Jeep Renegade: 4 star rating
- 2021 Jeep Compass: 4 star rating
- 2021 Jeep Cherokee: 4 star rating
- 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee: 5 star rating
The Jeep Wrangler hasn’t been given an overall crash test rating by NHTSA. However, the Wrangler did perform two out of four crash tests. The Wrangler scored four stars in the frontal impact crash test.
Is the Quality of Elements in Jeeps Good?
Jeep cars are very well built and feature good quality elements. These vehicles come with sturdy drivetrains and multiple off-road features that will take you to places that other cars can’t go.
As far as the cabin is concerned, you will appreciate the quality of materials that are used. However, there are a fair amount of places where hard and tacky plastics are used. In conclusion, expensive models like the Grand Cherokee SRT, Wagoneer come with high-quality, luxurious cabins. Meanwhile, vehicles like the Compass and Cherokee have lesser desirable cabin quality than competitors.
Do Jeeps Depreciate Fast?
Jeeps hold their value pretty well over the years. On average, Jeep cars retain almost 85% of their value after three years and close to 69% of the value after 5 years. In the Jeep lineup, the Wrangler has been known to hold the maximum value. Meanwhile, the Cherokee finds itself at the other side of the spectrum.
You can read more about Jeep depreciation in this article.
Does Jeep Offer Good Engines?
Jeep offers multiple engine options in their vehicles. Jeep equips their SUVs with powerful six-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines, which are certainly one of the best in that segment. On the contrary, Jeep has also been guilty of producing some very unreliable engines.
Here are the best and worst Jeep engines.
Best Engine Options:
- 4.0 liter inline 6 (1986-2006)
- 3.6 liter V6 (2012)
- 6.8 liter V8
Worst Engine Options:
- 2.4 liter inline four
- 3.8 liter V6 (2007-2011)
Are Jeeps Expensive to Maintain?
In general, Jeeps are pretty decent to maintain, with an average annual maintenance cost of $634. However, the average maintenance cost is slightly higher for the Jeep Wrangler, at around $770 for a year.
This higher maintenance cost has mainly to do with the frequency of serious repairs that the Wrangler needs. In general, the Wranglers are subjected to a lot more abuse by the owners than any standard car.
Here are the 10-year average costs of maintenance and repairs:
Jeep Compass : $10,031
Jeep Grand Cherokee: $10,484
Jeep Wrangler: $10,397
Are Jeeps Expensive to Insure?
Jeeps are actually pretty cheap to insure. In fact, Jeeps’s insurance costs are almost $263 cheaper than the industry average insurance of vehicles. Total coverage insurance of your Jeep wrangler will cost you just around $1,256 in a year or $105 per month. You can further reduce rates by opting for liability-only or collision-only coverage.
Have a look at the average yearly insurance costs of some Jeep vehicles:
- Jeep Wrangler
- Jeep Cherokee
- Jeep Compass
Factors like the trim level, age of the vehicle, driving record, insurance coverage type, safety features, and location do play an essential role in impacting the overall insurance cost of any vehicle.
Are Jeeps too Expensive to Buy?
When compared to rivals in the same segment, Jeep cars are priced at a slightly more premium price point, mostly because of the offer of 6 and 8-cylinder engine options.
Following are some of the reasons why Jeeps cost that extra bit of cash:
- Jeeps have an extremely popular heritage with its history dating back to their usage in the military services. Jeep has built up a great set of extremely loyal customers.
- Jeep cars are produced in limited volume, thus keeping production costs high.
- The Jeep Wrangler is an exclusive vehicle and doesn’t have any direct competitor.
- Jeep cars are highly versatile. They are capable both on-road as well as off-road.
- Jeeps offer powerful 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engine options.
What are the Most and Least Reliable Jeeps?
The most reliable Jepps are Grand Cherokee (2010) and Jeep Gladiator (2020). The least reliable are Jeep Grand Cherokee (2011), Jeep Wrangler (2012, 2020), mostly because of engine issues.
Most Reliable Jeeps:
- 2010 Grand Cherokee: 2010 was the last year to witness the third generation of the Grand Cherokee. It came with a 3.7 liter V6 engine, which by the year 2010 was thoroughly improved. Furthermore, other major issues were ironed out between the years 2005-2009, and the car was left with very little problems.
- 2020 Jeep Gladiator: Surprisingly, the Jeep Gladiator did not have any major issue in the year 2020. It was featured as a recommended choice in the 2020 consumer reports.
Least Reliable Jeeps:
- 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The 2011 model of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is by far one of the worst Grand Cherokee models. With over 700 registered complaints regarding the electrical failures and engine issues, the 2011 Grand Cherokee is definitely a model to avoid at all costs.
- 2020 Jeep Erangler: Low scores in consumer reports and dependability index 2 recalls: tech problems, and poor body integration.
- 2012 Jeep Wrangler: Electrical issues, death wobble, airbag problems, issues with the air conditioning system, and whatnot. The 2012 Jeep Wrangler had oodles of problems that were reported, over 1,000 reports, to be specific.
Are There any Better Jeep Alternatives?
Yes, there are better Jeep alternatives in the market. However, everything boils down to your personal requirements. If adventure touring is in your preference, almost nothing beats the off-road capability of the Jeep vehicles, especially the mighty Wrangler.
If a luxurious cabin, refined ride, reliability, or other factors is your concern, there are plenty of Jeep alternatives in the market. Some of them are listed below:
- Hyundai Palisade
- Mazda C9
- Ford Explorer
- Kia Telluride
If you are looking for alternatives to the expensive Jeep cars like the Wagoneer, and the Grand Cherokee SRT, here are some of the cars that you can consider:
- Toyota Land Cruiser
- GMC Yukon
- Nissan Armada
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Ford Expedition