Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Worst Mistake You Can Make Buying a Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is arguably one of the most well-regarded SUVs on the market, and it has been for decades. Loved by many, it’s safe to say that the Wrangler won’t be losing any popularity contests any time soon and we’re sure there will be plenty of Wrangler buyers for years to come. However, for every high, there is a low. Buying a Jeep Wrangler might seem like a great idea, but there is one big mistake that every prospective Wrangler buyer shouldn’t make.

J.E.E.P

If you’re planning on buying a Jeep Wrangler and are doing your research on it, chances are you’ll run into the acronym “J.E.E.P.” No, it doesn’t have anything to do with its military roots.

Actually, it stands for “Just Empty Every Pocket.”

It’s a joke, of course, but not really.

On the positive side, it pertains to the fact that you’ll likely spend a lot of money on aftermarket parts to get your Wrangler up to off-roading spec, which could be fun and exciting, but costly.

But on the other hand, the saying pertains to the fact that you’ll probably be broke from all the repairs you’ll need to attend to during your time of ownership.

Case in point, the Jeep Wrangler can be a money pit one way or another. So do your research, as the biggest mistake that you can make when buying a Wrangler is not knowing what you’re getting into.

A person testing driving a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon at an auto show
A person test driving a Wrangler | Scott Olson/Getty Images

It all adds up

Owning a Jeep Wrangler is not unlike owning a German luxury car, like an Audi or BMW; it’s not a matter of “if” things are going to break, but a matter of  “when” things are going to break.

It’s so bad that Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Wrangler a 1 out of 5 for reliability and there are already two major recalls for it. One has to do with poorly welded control arms and the other to do with clutch components that can cause a fire.

Additionally, the interior components in Wranglers tend to shake and rattle over time, so if you’re planning to buy a used one, then don’t be surprised if you find that the interior lacks the refinement of just about any other normal car.

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon at the Chicago Auto Show.
2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Major issues

According to Carcomplaints.com, one major issue in older Wranglers is the inevitable failure of the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM), which maintains the entire electrical system in the Wrangler. Once it goes out, you may experience an inability to start the car.

Additionally, all of the other accessories like the air conditioning, the lights, and the radio are controlled by this module, which costs around $1,500 to replace.

And lastly, there’s the infamous “Death Wobble.” This is when the steering wheel shakes violently at freeway speeds as if there’s a loose suspension component.

Often times, that is the case, as it is usually a steering stabilizer that needs replacing, along with tie rods and ball joints. This job typically costs about $1,000 as it should be done by an actual Jeep dealer.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited High Altitude | FCA
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited High Altitude | FCA

Not comfortable or efficient

On top of everything we mentioned here, just know that the Jeep Wrangler, no matter which year you get, will not be a comfortable ride. After all, it’s made for off-road driving. The suspension is made more for moderate rock crawling than freeway cruising.

Don’t expect fuel efficiency either because even the new 2020 Wrangler can only achieve about 21 mpg in combined driving on a good day. Older ones could yield even less.

No expectations, just enjoy your car

Ultimately, just think of the Jeep Wrangler as the complete opposite of the most fuel-efficient, comfortable, and reliable car that you can ever imagine.

And while that might not look like a good picture in your mind, remember that the Wrangler can still be the ultimate off-road vehicle you’ve always dreamt of, but keep in mind what you might be getting yourself into by buying one.