Skip to Content

Common Problems with Jeep 3.8 Engine: Detailed Explanation

3.8 L engine is most common for Jeep especially jeep wrangler. This is because the engine has enough ability to perform well in any off-road condition, and you do not complain about long ability.

But, some users find that the engine might fail before their expectations, which is so frustrating.

So, when you are planning to purchase a jeep with this engine or any other engine, you need to first know the complete engine overview and what problems you might face with the engine.

The article is in this regard. You will know Jeep 3.8 engine problems you might face and some recommended ways to fix the issues. 

Jeep 3.8 Engine Features

  • Displacement: 3,778 cc/230.5 CID
  • Number of Cylinders and Orientation: V6
  • Power: 200 hp  
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Number of Gears: automatic, 4 speed
  • Maximum Torque: 315 Nm/ 32.1 Kg/ at 5,000RPM
  • Trunk Capacity: 485L
  • Vehicle Fitness: 2007 to 2011 Jk wranglers.
  • Ave. Consumption: 11.2 L / 62 miles

Common Jeep 3.8 engine problems and possible fixes:

You can face several issues with the 3.8L engine in a jeep. Here are a few common problems you might face with the engine.

1. Engine knock on startup

You might face the issue after several thousand miles that your jeep wrangler starts engine knock on every morning. It creates some unwanted noise when you try to start the engine.

Even if you did not drive your car for a long time, it sounds like your jeep engine is knocked out.

You can use a Mopar oil filter to solve the issue, which creates a huge difference. You can contact a dealer to install the oil filter.

My recommendation will avoid the local store and change it from a trusted source. As some users find, local store Mopar oil filters do not work for them.

2. Excess Oil Consumption

Oil consumption is a controversial topic for the 3.8L engine. Some find it better, and some don’t. So, I always like to take the middle position.

However, excess oil consumption is not a major concern for the terms of reliability. 

But, sometimes, it indicates some major underlying problem. It might be that your engines are losing their ability to perform near the end of their lives.

So, you need to be careful if you find too much oil consumption.


You will find the following symptoms for Jeep 3.8L engine excess oil consumption:

  • Engine oil is low frequency.
  • Smoke will come from the exhaust.
  • Burning smells.

There are no such fixes for this issue. The only fix is filled up with oil running low to protect it from serious damage.

Also, you can use high viscosity oils, which reduce the issue. 

But, it is always better to use the manufacturer’s recommended oil.

However, Its oil consumption readily increases and exceeds about 1 quart/ 1000 miles, then contact with a professional mechanic. 

3. Intake Manifold Leak Problems

You find an issue with the lower intake manifold gasket, which causes the coolant leak on the 3.8 engine. This issue happens more in 2001+ jeep engines.

The problem occurs most of the time due to age (around 100,000 miles) and mileage. The manifold starts to creak and develop, and the coolant starts leaking.

You might find steam from the engine bay and the transmission bell housing wet if the problem occurs.

You need to replace the intake manifold gasket to solve the issue. It will take around 1 to 2 hours for a good mechanic, and the cost will be about $150-250, including the labor charge.

4. Timing Cover Issues

The timing cover leakage occurs due to the problematic o-rings. The o-rings in the timing cover break, crack or deform, which develop an oil leak from the timing chain cover.

If the issue occurs, you can contact the dealer as it can be fixed under warranty if you have.

5. Rust buildup is engine parts

You might find rust build up in the power output parts and others. This might create obstacles to operating a normal operation.

However, you can reduce this issue by applying an anti-rust solution to the main parts.

Is the 3.8 jeep engine reliable?

The engine earns average remarks in terms of reliability and offers solid performance all around.

Another term that can prove their reliability is that Chrysler runs the engine for over 20 overs.

With proper maintenance, it will perform well for several thousand miles without any issue.

But, you cannot compare the 3.8L engine with the AMC 4.0L. However, it also comes with some issues like high oil consumption.

How many miles will a Jeep 3.8 last?

You can expect around 100,000 miles for any jeep model.

However, the manufacturer claims that you will get around 300,000 to 4000,000 miles life span from a jeep wrangler equipped with 3.8L.

But, the truth is you can witness a few serious issues after around 100,000 miles.

But, you can increase the life span with proper care.

Who Manufactures the 3.8L Jeep Engine?

The manufacturers of the 3.8L jeep engine Chrysler Corporation. Also, around all jeep models engines are produced under this company.

What are the worst years for Jeep Wranglers?

The worst years for Jeep Wranglers are the years when Chrysler has changed the design and style of the car.

The worst year for jeep wranglers is 2012, which was decided by vote.

Also, it is recalled around nine times due to several issues.

Final Words

Though the jeep 3.8L engine may not be the best in the history of the jeep lineup, it ensures good services for 2007 to 2011 models.

They can provide you with outstanding performance for over 100k miles.

But, after that, you might face some issues with the 3.8L jeep engine.

If you are willing to purchase a jeep wrangler with the engine, it is better to know its issue before purchasing it.

I hope the article will help you know some common Jeep 3.8 engine problems.

Related Posts: