Why the Grand Cherokee Is the Most Complained-About Jeep

The Jeep Grand Cherokee first appeared in 1993, quickly becoming a popular midsize luxury SUV. Redesigned several times over the years, the fourth generation, which was rolled out in 2011, introduced new problems for the Grand Cherokee. Here’s a look at why the Grand Cherokee is the most complained-about Jeep.

The worst Jeep vehicles

One spot to see what owners complain about most often is CarComplaints.com. Others can see which vehicles and model years have the most complaints submitted. The site also shows which problems are most frequent.

Owners have submitted 10,819 complaints for all Jeep vehicles, and Car Complaints found that the worst models are all either Jeep Grand Cherokees or Jeep Cherokees. The worst model years are the 2011 Grand Cherokee, 2015 Grand Cherokee, 2014 Grand Cherokee, 2015 Cherokee, and 2014 Cherokee. The overall worst Jeep model and model year is the 2014 Grand Cherokee.

Most common Jeep Grand Cherokee problems

The Grand Cherokee has more than a quarter of all the Jeep complaints, with 3,000 across all model years. In all these years, the worst problem category has been electrical problems. The 2011 Grand Cherokee has the most total complaints with 741, but Car Complaints called out the 2015 Grand Cherokee as the worst model year since it has higher repair costs and problems at lower miles.

The three worst problems, according to Car Complaints, are that the TIPM goes bad and causes the engine not to start, the leather dashboard bubbles or wrinkles up, and the electronic shifting is unreliable.

The TIPM and the engine problems

A Jeep Grand Cherokee Supercharger is displayed at the New York International Auto Show
The Jeep Grand Cherokee | Vanessa Carvalho/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent via Getty Images

The most-reported problem overall has been that the 2011 Grand Cherokee has a TIPM that goes bad, causing the engine not to start or to be hard to start. There were 221 owners who had this problem. The 2011 model year has 10 times as many complaints about the Grand Cherokee not starting as the 2010 model does – enough that a class-action lawsuit was filed. Complaints then dropped by about 80 percent by the next model year.

The TIPM problem appeared on average around 51,700 miles and cost owners about $1,180 to repair. Owners gave this a severity rating of 8.3 or “pretty bad.” The 2011’s numerous problems earned it Car Complaints’ “Avoid Like the Plague” seal.

The leather dashboard bubbles or wrinkles up

A second major problem affecting the 2011 Grand Cherokee, submitted by 80 owners, was that the leather dashboard bubbles or wrinkles up. While this is a cosmetic issue, owners described how horrible it made their Grand Cherokees look. They gave it a severity rating of 8.1 or “pretty bad.” The problem started happening at around 60,200 miles on average and cost about $1,610 to fix.

Electronic shifting is unreliable in the Jeep Grand Cherokee

The overall worst problem for the Grand Cherokee is that the electronic shifting is unreliable in the 2015 Grand Cherokee, a problem submitted by 19 people. This problem was part of a larger issue with the transmission, which affected the 2014 and 2015 model years. Owners experienced jerking, hesitating, and roughness when shifting. Others found that their Grand Cherokee models wouldn’t shift gears or weren’t in the gear they displayed.

Problems appeared on average at around 12,000 miles and cost owners $7,500 to repair. Owners gave this a severity rating of 8.9 or “pretty bad.” The issues with this model year earned the 2015 Grand Cherokee Car Complaints’ “Beware of the Clunker” seal.

Of all the Jeep models, the Grand Cherokee is the one that’s complained about the most. And, of the Grand Cherokee model years, the 2011 model and the 2015 model are two to be avoided.