Why Is the Grand Cherokee the Most Complained About Jeep Model?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee first appeared in 1992, quickly becoming a popular midsize luxury SUV. Redesigned several times over the years, the fourth generation, which started with the 2011 model year, introduced new problems for the Grand Cherokee, which plagued it for nearly an entire decade. So, here’s a look at why the Grand Cherokee is the most complained-about Jeep vehicle.

What are the worst Jeep vehicle models?

A 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV model being driven at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

One spot to see what owners complain about most often is Car Complaints. Visitors 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 about all Jeep vehicles, and Car Complaints found that the worst models are Jeep Grand Cherokee or Jeep Cherokee models. The worst model years to avoid 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.

The most common Jeep Grand Cherokee problems

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

According to Car Complaints, the three worst problems are that the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) goes bad and causes the engine not to start, the leather dashboard bubbles or wrinkles up, and the vehicle’s electronic shifting is unreliable.

The TIPM and the engine problems of the Grand Cherokee

According to Car Complaints, the most-reported problem has been that the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a TIPM that goes bad, causing the engine not to start or very difficult to start. There were 221 owners who had this problem. The 2011 Grand Cherokee has 10 times as many complaints about the vehicle not starting as the 2010 model does – enough that a class-action lawsuit was filed. That kind of attention seems to have caused Jeep to make quick fixes, as complaints dropped by about 80% by the next model year.

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

Ugly dashboard bubbles and wrinkles

A second major problem affecting the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, submitted by 80 owners on Car Complaints, 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.

Jeep Grand Cherokee’s unreliable electronic shifting

The overall worst problem for the Jeep Grand Cherokee reported on Car Complaints 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 the shifter 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. From the Grand Cherokee model years, the 2011 and 2015 models are two to be avoided at all costs.

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