Over 1.5 million Jeeps were sold last year, so the brand has a following. But there are owners who get a little fed up with all the maintenance. So, how many miles does a Jeep last before needing a major overhaul?
The Jeep Wrangler starts to have major mechanical problems right around 100,000 miles. Cherokees are a bit more reliable. They can run for up to 200,000 miles before experiencing the same difficulties. Other Jeep models are varied and can start having problems between 100,000 and 150,000 miles.
In this article, you will discover the types of mechanical failures most Jeep owners face. I will briefly go over the symptoms of those problems and provide possible fixes. Then, you will get an idea of which Jeep models are best and which ones to steer clear of.
What issues do Jeeps have at 100,000 miles?
Heater core failure
If the inside of your Jeep is no longer staying warm in the winter, it could be the heater core. They often get clogged with years of gunk buildup from the radiator.
The best way to unclog the heater core is with a garden hose. You can easily flush the system, but be careful not to use high pressure. If flushing the heater core doesn’t take care of the problem, you may need to replace it.
If you do it yourself, it can be a pain. You’ll need to remove the entire dashboard. But, if you have a mechanic replace it for you, expect to pay big bucks.
It is best to prevent the heater core from clogging up in the first place. You do that by changing the radiator coolant regularly. This important preventative maintenance step will help keep slimy buildup from entering the system.
Water leaking into your Jeep is annoying, especially during inclement weather. It usually occurs at the junction where the door and the hardtop match up.
The problem is often due to worn door gaskets. The nice thing is, they are pretty straightforward to replace. However, even if you do change them out, this may not fix your leaky doors entirely.
It may be necessary to install a layer of foam material between the door and the gasket. This extra step will ensure a tighter seal and prevent leaks in the future.
Oxygen sensor codes
Eventually, you may receive a check engine light with an O2 sensor code for your Jeep. If that happens, you will have to swap them out for new ones.
It is vital to replace the faulty O2 sensors because they can cause the vehicle to run rough. Also, driving your Jeep with bad sensors can eventually cause damage to the catalytic converter.
Worn valve cover gasket
If you see oil seeping around the valve cover, it’s usually the gasket. You may also be able to detect a leak if there is a burnt smell in that area.
It may be best to have a qualified mechanic replace the valve cover gasket. There are a lot of wires, hoses, and other things to remove. And it is certainly not easy to access.
Evaporative emissions control system (EVAP system)
The EVAP is a complex system of valves, hoses, and filters. It is there to help decrease harmful vehicle emissions.
Sometimes you will get a dashboard warning light telling you something is wrong with the EVAP system. The simplest thing to check first is the gas cap. If it is loose, it could cause a warning indication.
Also, check the seal around the gas cap. If it is dry rotted or torn, you may need to replace it.
In addition to the gas cap, be sure to check the EVAP leak detection pump located under the vehicle. Usually, if you replace it, the warning light will extinguish.
Bent drive shaft
A bent rear driveshaft for a Jeep at 100,000 miles is not uncommon. It spins at several thousand RPM. So, if the drive shaft is wobbly, it can cause severe vibration and damage to the entire vehicle.
Unfortunately, the only thing you can do at that point is to replace it.
Overstretched transfer case chain
If you spin your tires fast enough, it could stretch the transfer case chain. And then, the chain will drag on the inside of the case.
If that happens, you will have to replace the chain. But be careful. If you reinstall the shift fork improperly, you may no longer be able to shift out of 4 wheel drive.
For that reason, it may be best to hire a professional mechanic. It could save a lot of money in the long term.
What is the Jeep “Death Wobble?”
If you drive your Jeep and suddenly feel the steering wheel shaking violently, you could be experiencing death wobble. It is usually caused by steering components that are worn, damaged, or loosened by excessive vibration.
Although it can happen with any Jeep year or model, it is usually more prevalent on the Wrangler. And it tends to happen more with vehicles that have lift kits installed. However, it should be mentioned that any Jeep can experience a death wobble.
The syndrome got its crazy nickname from drivers who feel like they have a near-death experience while it happens. They all of a sudden see their lives flash before their eyes as they are headed down the road!
It usually occurs at speeds of over 45 MPH, typically triggered by a large dip, rock, or bump. And this isn’t merely a vibration. It can become so extreme that you could eventually lose control of the vehicle.
Diagnosing the problem
The first thing to do is check for broken parts. Here is a list of faulty components that could cause death wobble:
- Ball joints
- Tie rod ends
- Front track bar
- Control arms
- Steering knuckles
- Steering stabilizer
- Suspension bushings
Check all of these components for excessive wear, corrosion, or damage. Also, be sure to inspect all bolts for proper torque specifications and tightness. If you find a problem, it is best not to drive your Jeep until you can get a qualified mechanic to check it out, too.
What model of Jeep is the least reliable?
There were two recalls for the Wrangler in 2020. The first one had to do with unsafe welds at the control arm and the axle.
The second recall concerned the clutch. If you pressed on it too many times, it could catch fire. Not good.
That is not to mention the Wrangler’s faulty electronics. These problems ranged from intermittent radios to alternators suddenly giving out after only a few miles of usage.
Add to that the leaking shock absorbers, steering problems, and multiple warning lights. It’s no wonder the people at Consumer Reports voted the way they did.
Still, the Wrangler will always have a following, even if it comes equipped with a few bugs.
What is the most reliable model of Jeep available?
Most experts consider the Grand Cherokee as the most reliable Jeep model. After all, it has been that way for a long time. And the best thing about the Grand Cherokee is that it can keep going past 200,000 miles and beyond.
No matter the maintenance hassles, Jeeps are still fun to own. Their versatility alone is worth it. You can go off-road, take a hiking trip, and be back in time to help your neighbor pick up some furniture before it gets dark.
There is also the status of being a Jeep owner. Let’s face it; they’re just plain cool. They look fantastic, either clean or dirty.
Jeeps are also often convertible, so you don’t have to worry about any fancy air conditioning. Just put the top down, and off you go!