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If you’re thinking about buying a Jeep, you should consider preparing yourself for Jeep ownership. You’ll have to master the ‘wave’ and learn about living your best Jeep life. It’s just that too, a lifestyle.

Whether you’re a life-long Jeep fan or brand new to the brand, you’ll want to do some homework on the vehicle itself too. Used Jeep Wranglers are great at retaining value over time. It’s a smart move to consider a used model. But, as with any vehicle purchase, taking a look at reviews from past owners, can be eye-opening. We thought we would do some research of our own on the Jeep Wrangler. There is one model year you should definitely avoid.

Every vehicle has critics

When diving into complaints and vehicle owner insights, it’s best to remember that each situation is individual. There will be critics and issues with almost any model on the road these days.

What you’ll want to try to identify are the trends of potential issues, common complaints, and costs to repair. Don’t be alarmed with a handful of major complaints. Instead, look for those overarching common red flags that can help you ask the right questions when you’re ready to buy.

2008 had the most complaints but wasn’t the worst Jeep Wrangler

The 2008 Jeep Wrangler might have actually logged the most complaints of all the model years. The most concerns that year were regarding the failure of the ‘Totally Integrated Power Module.’

Replacing the module seemed to fix things, but the average cost of repairs was almost $1000. There were also reported issues with the engine not starting, electrical wiring complications, and the horn honking on its own.

In total, Jeep issued over 60 technical bulletins for problems with the 2008 Wrangler. What might surprise you is while ’08 had the most complaints, there was, in fact, another model year deemed, Wrangler’s worst.

The Wrangler year you should avoid

In 2012, the Jeep Wrangler disappointed many with a host of reported complaints in a variety of systems, from the engine to fuel problems. With nine recalls and over 150 technical service bulletins that year, it’s safe to say it was the worst year for Wrangler issues. Below are the top three complaints you should know.

Electrical — The previously problematic TIPM module was the biggest issue for 2012 Wrangler owners. Others claimed to experience a stall-out while driving, due to electrical malfunction.

Engine — The second most common complaint was the engine as heads were requiring replacement. There were two reports of engines having to be replaced entirely.

AC/Heater — The heater wouldn’t work, making those morning winter commutes unbearable. Replacing the heater core and radiator were the most common reported resolutions.

So why is 2012 the worst year for Jeep Wrangler?

There may have been more reports and claims for 2008, but 2012 is deemed the worst year for the Jeep Wrangler. Because the issues were coming early on in ownership and in low mileage ranges, it pointed to a manufacturer problem and not a driving wear-and-tear problem.

The biggest factor, though, is the significant difference in cost to repair these issues. Replacing entire modules, engine heads, or radiators altogether, meant hefty repair bills for those owners.

Don’t be discouraged by Jeep’s misstep in 2012. There are more than likely plenty of 2012’s out there that didn’t experience what other owners did. Be aware as you shop.

Maybe find another model year, or consider a new Jeep. Having the information on past ownership experience can provide knowledge on complaints, problems, and anticipated repairs. It can help you be smarter about selecting the right Jeep Wrangler for you.