Jeep Wrangler Years to Avoid at All Costs

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular American vehicles, but not every model year is a hit. Although the SUV is known for its ruggedness, Jeep dropped the ball on some years and created problematic models. Below are a few Jeep Wrangler years to avoid at all costs — including the notorious 2012 Jeep Wrangler and the 2010 Jeep Wrangler — and a rundown of Jeep Wrangler reliability by years.

2007 Jeep Wrangler problems

Jeep Wrangler years to avoid; 2010 Jeep Wrangler; 2012 Jeep Wrangler; Jeep Wrangler reliability by years
2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Unlimited | Stellantis

The 2007 Jeep Wrangler experienced issues on multiple fronts. In addition to facing 10 recalls affecting millions of Wranglers, this model year had problems ranging from its steering to the fuel system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that steering problems were the most frequent issue this model year faced. The NHTSA also noted many airbag issues. In fact, the airbags were the source of a major recall.

The so-called death wobble, which notoriously occurs on Jeep Wranglers, was a primary complaint reported on CarComplaints.com. The average repair cost for the death wobble is about $880, which was the most common complaint made by the site’s users. 

Users on CarComplaints.com and the NHTSA’s site also reported plenty of engine issues. According to owners who faced total engine failure, the repairs cost them about $4,400. Furthermore, the NHTSA also shows numerous braking problems with this Jeep Wrangler year.

The 2008 model failed to fix the issues

The 2008 Jeep Wrangler experienced the same issues as the 2007 model, including faulty airbags that caused a major recall. Though the 2008 model has slightly fewer recalls with nine, it also has far more entries on CarComplaints.com than the 2007 model.

Once again, these issues affected the entire vehicle, but the notorious death wobble was among the more significant. The death wobble was the second most common issue, according to CarComplaints.com, and repairs cost about $800. 

However, the worst issue for the 2008 model was a Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) failure. Repairing the TIPM set owners back about $960, and it was a frequent problem.

One of the costlier issues with the 2008 Jeep Wrangler was excessive engine oil consumption. According to CarComplaints.com, the problem cost owners about $5,050 to repair.

In addition, the NHTSA reported numerous steering and fuel system problems and drivetrain issues.

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler was voted the worst model year

Though newer than the 2007 and 2008 models, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is the worst-rated year overall, according to CarComplaints.com. With 10 recalls, it ties for the most, including one of the largest of its kind.

As with the older models, issues with the airbags were the main culprit. However, a new issue with the 2012 Jeep Wrangler’s airbags also caused another recall that affected millions of vehicles.

The death wobble isn’t as common in the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. However, the 2012 model still experiences many of the same issues as the 2007 and 2008 models. 

For example, its TIPM was also prone to failure, and repairing it costs an average of $1,300. Furthermore, a common engine problem forced many drivers to cough up $4,400 for a total replacement. 

Many owners also had heater issues, requiring about $1,000 to fix. A lot of these issues occurred with relatively new Wranglers too. And on top of that, the NHTSA reported numerous drivetrain problems that affected new models. 

It’s important to keep in mind that every vehicle is different, and overall, the Jeep Wrangler has enjoyed high owner satisfaction. But be sure to do your research and know the signs of trouble when looking at older models.

Jeep Wrangler reliability by years, according to Consumer Reports

Here’s a rundown of Jeep Wrangler reliability by years to better understand how the SUV has fared over the past decade. Consumer Reports bases its reliability ratings on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. The 2022 model is too new for CR to assign a final reliability rating, so it made an educated guess based on data from the 2019 to 2021 models.

  • 2011 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 2
  • 2012 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 2
  • 2013 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2014 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2015 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2016 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2017 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 3
  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2020 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 1
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler reliability: 3
  • 2022 Jeep Wrangler predicted reliability: 2

Consumer Reports assigned the 2012 Jeep Wrangler a 2 due to its 10 safety recalls and major and minor engine problems.

CR didn’t test the Wrangler for reliability before the 2011 model year. However, the 2010 Jeep Wrangler is also a year to avoid. That’s thanks to major transmission problems in the 2010 Jeep Wrangler.

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