Trucks & SUVs

How Reliable Is the Jeep Wrangler?

When you think of Jeep, the Wrangler is probably one of the first cars that come to mind. This popular model was recently redesigned for 2018. It has fresh exterior styling and an updated interior as well. What hasn’t changed is the Wrangler’s excellent off-roading ability.

However, even hardcore Jeep fans will tell you that the brand is not known for its reliability. There’s no doubt about the Wrangler’s excellent off-road ability, but how well does it hold up after a few years? According to Consumer Reports, the Wrangler’s Owner Satisfaction score was high, but its reliability score was painfully low.

Is the Jeep Wrangler reliable?

Consumer Reports gave the 2019 Jeep Wrangler only a 12/100 in terms of reliability. It also made the top three of the website’s Least Reliable Vehicles of 2019 list. Reviews acknowledged the truck’s great off-roading prowess and its incredible engine. Unfortunately, there are more negative aspects of the Wrangler than positives. 

Reviewers noted that the Jeep’s handling is still choppy thanks to the horrible steering. Car and Driver pointed out that the Wrangler maneuvers itself more like a truck than a road-ready SUV. Many were also annoyed at the wind noise inside the car, which gets very loud when driving at high speeds.

Recalls

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is currently under nine active recalls. The most severe recall is the faulty cruise control function. In some vehicles, the feature can’t be deactivated after it has been turned on. The recall was announced in May 2018 and affected nearly five million vehicles.

Earlier this year, the NHTSA also opened an investigation concerning some 2018 and 2019 Wranglers. Around 270,000 Wranglers were suspected to have bad frame welds, which negatively impacted the Jeep’s steering. While it hasn’t been escalated into a recall, it’s still a huge safety hazard. Thankfully, no accidents have been caused by this issue.

What’s the worst Jeep Wrangler?

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA

According to CarComplaints, the 2012 model of the Wrangler is considered the most unreliable Wrangler. It was prone to a host of electrical problems, many of which were expensive to fix. The most common problem was a TIPM failure, which cost an average of $1,330 to repair. In some cases, this module failed while the Jeep was in motion.

Some owners of the 2012 Wrangler also reported massive engine problems. A few customers had to have the head or engine entirely replaced. The average cost for this repair was $4,400. A recall was never issued for the engine, so most drivers had to cover all of the damages.

Are other Jeeps better?

While the Wrangler’s reliability is questionable, there are still plenty of Jeeps with better scores. US News reports that the Grand Cherokees from 2011 and 2013 have the best reliability ratings. 2011 was also a redesign year, so this Jeep got a stronger V6 engine and an available air suspension.

The Compass is also a good bet for reliability.  Models from 2009 and 2011 have a score of 3 out of 5 and come with better fuel economy ratings than other Jeeps. However, the score for the most recent Compass has dropped to only 2.5.

Why people love the Wrangler

Despite the Wrangler’s flaws, many customers and Jeep fans have good things to say about the car. It’s a well-loved favorite for its durability and one-of-a-kind exterior. After all, not many cars allow you to remove the doors and roof for an enhanced off-roading experience. 

If the low reliability is troubling, some used Wranglers have better scores. Both the 2011 and 2015 Wranglers have a reliability rating of 3 out of 5.