For off-roading enthusiasts, Jeep is the number one brand of choice when it comes to adventure driving, and you can say this undoubtedly. Generally speaking, it’s well-known that they’re one of the best cars for the job and incredibly reliable as a brand.
But where does the Jeep Wrangler specifically fall when we’re talking about reliability?
The fact of the matter is, out of all the Jeep models, 26 of which, to be precise, the Wrangler actually comes up at number 25 when we’re talking about reliability. This is because they cost more, have more unscheduled repairs, and have a higher probability of severe repair jobs than most other compact SUVs.
While it’s true that Wranglers have a bit of a bad reputation in terms of reliability, this doesn’t mean that enthusiasts have written them off as unsuitable for the hobby because, in fact, there are still plenty of upsides to using a Wrangler for this particular sport, after all, when it comes to rough terrain and road handling, they’re still the king of trailblazing.
What Makes the Jeep Wrangler So Unreliable?
As I’ve just touched upon, there are a few contributing factors as to why the Jeep Wrangler is one of the most unreliable models of its kind.
- Repair Frequency – The Jeep Wrangler has had more unscheduled repairs than most other models. Whereas other Jeeps are around 0.3 times per year, the Wrangler has a frequency of 0.25 times per year.
- Severity – The Jeep Wrangler has a much higher probability of severe repairs.
- Cost – The average cost to repair a Jeep Wrangler is much higher in comparison to other vehicles of its kind, with an average price of $2,755 after five years of ownership.
The Jeep Wrangler has received criticism from some drivers regarding reliability and design, and there have been several recalls for various issues, one of which involved a major fire risk.
Common Problems with The Jeep Wrangler
For a vehicle that’s become so iconic over the last four decades, it’s surprising to learn that it has so many unforgivable faults, which deem it one of the most unreliable Jeep models on the road (or, should I say, off it).
Wireless Control Module
While this might be one of the lower cost and most straightforward faults with the Jeep Wrangler, it’s still a problem that many users have claimed to be a massive hiccup regarding the vehicle’s general reliability.
Apparently as the control module relates to the locking system, it means that without an old-school key fob, you can find yourself locked out of your car when the system has any technical complications. It can also mean drivers might not be able to start their cars.
Cracks within the exhaust manifolds aren’t uncommon in the Jeep Wrangler. An indication of which is a loud (and somewhat annoying) ticking sound coming from the engine, which is never a good sign, right?
This problem can cause dangerous driving hazards and means you should immediately seek a manifold replacement before continuing to drive your Wrangler.
Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM)
The TIPM is the key to the working mechanism of the entire electrical system for the Jeep Wrangler, and when it goes wrong, you’ll know about it.
Literally, everything electrical you can think of is run by this module, including the air-conditioning, lights, radio, wipers, you name it.
Drivers will either experience a total loss of power, and the car might not even be able to start.
Unfortunately, this is no mean feat, and the cost to replace a Jeep’s TIPM is going to be hefty, anything up to around $1500.
Water Leaking in
Another common problem we hear about a lot with the Jeep Wrangler is water leaking into the vehicle from the side doors, which tends to collect in pools in the footwells. Unless you’re planning on a foot soak while traveling in your Wrangler (which we strongly advise against), this is a problem that needs looking into urgently before you’re left with a mold issue.
Usually, this leak occurs when water spills down the A-Pillar, and repair shops only tend to fix the problem by replacing seals. As of yet, Chrysler hasn’t offered any other solutions to this ongoing dispute.
The Death Wobble
You’ve all heard about the death wobble, right? The dreaded shake that many Jeep Wrangler owners are more than familiar with.
The death wobble is not only damaging to the vehicle, but it’s a pretty frightening experience that causes drivers to totally lose control of the car while driving.
This problem usually occurs when the Jeep is being driven at higher speeds and is recognized by uncontrollable and violent shaking, making it near impossible to keep a grasp on the steering wheel.
Death wobbles should not be ignored, and once you manage to slowly bring your car to a stop and get it somewhere safe, it needs immediate attention by replacing the steering stabilizer and having a thorough inspection to rule out any damage to the tie rods. Ideally, this should only be done by a professional Jeep mechanic and isn’t something you should attempt to fix yourself despite your level of expertise.
Pros of Owning a Jeep Wrangler
It might sound like it’s all doom and gloom, and you might be thinking, “Is it even worth buying a Jeep Wrangler?,” but that’s not the case. We’re merely here to warn you about what could happen in certain circumstances.
Of course, when maintained correctly and used as intended, Jeep Wranglers are incredible off-roaders that many users are incredibly proud of, and they should be.
Let’s take a look at what makes the Wrangler worth your money.
- Unrivaled Off-Roading Ability – There’s a good reason why the Wrangler is one of the most popular off-roading vehicles, and that’s because it’s insane compared to other SUVs. There’s no doubt about it; the Wrangler is the King of the off-roading world.
- Four-Wheel Drive – The Jeep Wrangler’s four-wheel drive system is unbeatable, with three different systems – Selec-Trac, Rock-Trac, and Command-Trac – each designed to tackle all kinds of rough terrain.
- Excellent Selection of Modifications – While the Wrangler itself remains loyal to its war-time appearance and performance and is a totally classic model, for those who want to up their game, there are tons of modification options to spice up your off-roading experiences, such as LED light kits, suspension upgrades, and lift kits.
- Removable Top and Doors – If you want an off-roading experience like no other, then being able to remove the top and sides of your SUV is undoubtedly the way to do it. It doesn’t get much cooler than the wind rushing in as you navigate a rocky-terrain trail.
The Jeep Wrangler Verdict
Okay, so the Jeep Wrangler doesn’t come without risk, and if you’re investing your hard-earned cash into one, it’s certainly not a decision that should be taken lightly. You’ll need to be prepared for extra costs, especially when it comes to unscheduled repairs.
However, as long as you’re prepared for this, and you know how to handle this beast of burden properly, you’re going to have an off-roading experience like no other because, after all, despite its flaws, the Jeep Wrangler still beats most other compact SUVs regarding the ultimate performance.
Also, when you decide to join the Wrangling world, you’re not just getting a seriously cool adventure machine; you’re also joining a community of like-minded land lovers who you can not only share your experiences with but also reach out for help and advice to learn how to maintain your rugged, four-wheeled warrior properly.