Skip to main content

The Jeep Wrangler is a living legend. It has carried the torch of convertible off-roader, uninterrupted, since WWII. A major plus for many Wrangler owners is that their SUV is relatively easy to modify and repair. Jeeps do have their unique issues. But you can address all of the Wrangler’s most commonly reported problems, in your own driveway, and with nothing but basic tools. These problems include:

  • Water on your floormate from a leaking A-Pillar
  • No start from a shorted ignition switch
  • Running rough because of a failed throttle position sensor

Worn roof gaskets plague Jeep Wranglers with water leaks

A Silver Jeep Wrangler Unlimited drives along a leaf-strewn off-road trail in the Ground Mountain State Forest in Vermont, fall foliage visible in the background.
Jeep Wrangler | Kevin Wiegand via Unsplash

Imagine hopping in your Jeep after a rainstorm only to find a puddle of water on your Wrangler’s floor. A roof leak sounds like a real pain. And is the most common issue reported by Jeep Wrangler owners.

The Repair Pal website compiled every complaint it could find by owners of every Wrangler model year. It concluded that 521 people had reported a water leak. It’s been reported on every model year from 1997-2017 and hits at 44k miles on average. Technically, the problem comes from the “A-Pillar” between your windshield and front doors.

Imagine sitting in your Wrangler’s driver’s seat and looking up at the seam between the top of your windshield and your roof. The gasket that seals this seam is prone to wearing out and leaking. The result is water running down the gap between your windshield and door and collecting on your floor.

The mechanics who work for 1A Auto list this leak among their top five Jeep Wrangler problems. But they reveal that Jeep sells an improved gasket. You can buy a kit with a new gasket and adhesive. Then you simply remove your roof, peel off the old gasket, and stick the new one in place.

Ignition switch shorts can prevent Jeep Wranglers from starting

A woman crouches by a white Jeep Wrangler SUV to adjust its tire pressure, a field and blue sky visible in the background.
Jeep Wrangler | Amber Kipp via Unsplash

A total of 379 Jeep owners have reported electrical issues preventing their Wrangler from starting. These include drivers of every model year from 1997 through 2014. This is an especially dangerous problem if you plan to take your Wrangler on remote off-road trails: you need to know it will start up to get you home.

The mechanics at 1A Auto highlighted two common causes of a Jeep Wrangler refusing to start, and you can easily address one of them yourself. The first problem is a short-circuited ignition cylinder (the lock where you insert your ignition key). This short circuit can be caused by dust getting into the ignition cylinder while driving with your roof and/or doors off. Luckily, Jeep sells a replacement ignition cylinder you can install yourself.

A second possible of this no-start issue is more complex. Third and fourth-generation Jeep Wranglers have a wireless control module (WCM) near the ignition cylinder. This module reads a signal from your factory key, preventing thieves from starting your Jeep with a fake key.

You can order a replacement WCM, but a dealership will need to program it to work with your keys.

Failed throttle position sensor can leave a Jeep Wrangler running rough

The grille of a Jeep Wrangler TJ with its hood up, parked in a garage, another SUV visible in the background.
Jeep Wrangler | Dean S Photo via Unsplash

The third most common Jeep Wrangler issue reported by owners is a failed throttle position sensor. A total of 146 people filed this complaint with Repair Pal. It can cause your Jeep to run roughly or not at all. This issue should also cause a check engine light. It has been reported on Jeeps from model years 1990-2007, as well as 2012, 2013, and 2015. It is most common after 105k miles.

Your Jeep’s throttle position sensor is not a complex component, but you must first remove the throttle body assembly to get to it. Before doing all this work, having your engine problems diagnosed by a professional is a good idea. Or at least have your check engine light read so you can confirm the cause of the problem.

Find out why Wrangler owners don’t care that their Jeep is outdated or see 1A Auto’s list of the top Jeep Wrangler issues in the video below: