When buying any car, longevity is a question that should be asked. As cars are more expensive than ever before, it is common for people to finance them for six to eight years. If they are still paying for a car after that much time has passed, the car needs to last that long.
The issue with the Jeep Wrangler and longevity is the fact that people drive them hard. Not many other vehicles can be daily drivers and off-road toys. Does this duality make Jeep Wranglers have a shorter lifespan than other vehicles? Not necessarily.
How Long Do Jeep Wranglers Last With The Pentastar Engine? What About The Older 4.0L Engine?
The answer depends on how well you take care of it. The answer varies based on the age of the Jeep and how much regular maintenance it has received.
If you shop around for used late-model vehicles, it is common for three- or four-year-old cars to have over 100,000 miles and still sell for top dollar. The same goes for used Jeeps, as you might see five-year-old Jeep Wranglers with over 100,000 miles sell for over $20,000!
The JL and JK models both come with solidly built V6 engines that are designed to last. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 in the JK models is built to go over 200,000 miles without any issues. And, the JL has a slightly upgraded version of the same engine. But, you can also choose a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6. All are designed to go for many miles.
If you are looking for an older model like the TJ and YJ, then you are already going to see high mileage. The youngest TJ was produced in 2006, and the youngest YJ rolled out of the factory in 1987. If these were driven 15,000 miles annually, they would all have at least 200,000 on them.
The issue with older Wranglers like the TJ and YJ aren’t miles, it’s rust. So taking care of the body can keep Jeeps on the road for well over 200,000 miles.
It isn’t unheard of for an older model Wrangler to see 400,000 or more!
How Do You Keep Your Jeep Wrangler on the Road?
Every vehicle can stay on the road for a long time with regular maintenance. That maintenance might not be cheap, but it is less expensive than buying a new Jeep every few years.
Fortunately, with a Jeep Wrangler, you don’t have to do much to meet the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Get Regular Oil Changes
One of the most important things you can do for your Wrangler is to get the oil changed regularly. These rugged SUVs need to have the oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles.
If you use a synthetic oil, you should be able to go 5,000 miles before needing a change. The JK and JL have oil-life monitors that tell when it’s time to get it changed.
During the oil changes, have your filters inspected. There are two filters to regularly check: the engine air filter and the cabin filter.
The engine air filter usually lasts about 30,000 miles and the cabin filter should be changed every 20,000 miles.
If you take your Wrangler to the dealership for an oil and filter change, they might include tire rotation, too. Dealership oil changes usually range in price between $50 and $75.
Check and Replace Fluids
If you have a manual transmission, the transmission fluid needs to be changed every 30,000 miles. This is recommended if you tow a trailer, drive off-road, or drive on the highway in hot weather. You can expect to pay around $200 for a manual transmission fluid change.
If you use your Jeep for off-road driving regularly, then your Jeep needs to have its axle fluid flushed and replaced every 40,000 miles. This costs between $100 and $150.
MOPAR also recommends changing the transfer case fluid and automatic transmission fluid every 60,0000 miles if you use your Jeep for towing. Transmission fluid flushes cost between $150 to $250.
Keep Your Brakes Working
Properly functioning brakes are a necessity in any vehicle. You should have your brakes checked at each oil change, and replaced when they begin to wear out. There are three signs that new brakes are needed. Your brakes should be replaced when
- They squeak every time you step on them.
- You have to push the brake pedal to the floor to get your car to stop.
- The Wrangler favors one side when you step on the brakes.
When you get your oil change at 40,000, ask your mechanic to check the brake pads.
If they creak, they probably need to be replaced. Replacing brake pads costs about $250 when done at a dealership. If you have to pay for new rotors, you could spend between $350 and $500.
Sometimes, brakes simply need the hydraulic pressure adjusted to stop the car from lurching to the side when stopping.
Pay Attention to Your Tires
The off-road and paved-road capabilities of the Jeep Wrangler makes new tires a common necessity. You know when you need new tires as you start to slip on wet road conditions.
When you get your oil changed, your mechanic should always check your tires and rotate them to make them last longer. Ask them to include the fifth tire in the rotation to increase the lifespan of your tires.
Don’t Neglect the Suspension
The bottom half of any Jeep Wrangler takes a good beating. Because of this, it is important that you check on the suspension system.
The rugged suspension seems like it will last forever, but know that it won’t. It will get dirty, wet, and possibly rusted. To keep your Jeep on the road for a long time, you might need to replace a few parts, usually the leaf spring and bolts, or the U-bolt.
If you go off-road, take time to clean your Jeep well. Run it through the carwash a few times, and take care to get mud out of the wheels.
The same goes for winter driving, as salt can do serious damage to the undercarriage and the suspension. Mud can create more issues, as it can fool with the alignment if you don’t get it out of the wheels.
Keep Your Eyes on the Shocks
Jeep Wranglers are made of durable and rugged parts, but they still can take a beating. To keep the ride smooth, watch the shocks.
They usually need to be replaced somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Although that mileage is recommended, you don’t need to change them until you start to notice the car no longer feels tight and controlled.
Don’t wait too long because you could do damage to the suspension if you do not fix the smaller problem. The rear shocks will cost about $250 to replace.
Keep the Power Running
Your Jeep Wrangler won’t start if the battery dies. Most batteries last between four and five years, but you can extend the life if you take care of it.
When you have your oil changes, ask your mechanic to check and clean the terminals. They should also check the cables around the battery. A new Jeep battery will cost around $250.
Need a New Battery?
Check out this great battery test on youtube. It is well worth the time to watch.
How Do You Prevent Rust on Your Jeep Wrangler?
Jeep Wranglers are known for rusting quickly, because most of their body parts are made of metal (many new cars have parts made of plastic or composite materials). If you drive off-road or in the snow, there is a good chance that you will see some rust on your Wrangler.
There are a few things you can do to slow the oxidation. One of the first things you can do is have your Jeep Wrangler rust-proofed by the dealership, but only if it includes rust-proofing the undercarriage.
The other thing you can do is keep your Jeep clean. After you drive off-road, you should always clean your Jeep from top to bottom. If you drive in salty winter conditions, you should also wash your Jeep regularly and include an underbody spray.
The most common spot for rust on the body is on the doors. You can prevent door dings by parking far away from other vehicles. The door hinges also tend to get rusty.
You can slow this from happening by using white grease on the hinges, especially when you take off the doors. The white grease will prevent moisture from building up in the hinges.
Will Customizing Your Jeep Increase the Lifespan?
A stock Jeep Wrangler is a perfectly good vehicle on its own. Customizing a Wrangler is not a necessity, but it sure is fun.
There are ways to customize the Jeep to make it last longer. For example, a protective grill cover will prevent damage from rock chips. You can also put a durable engine hood on your Jeep or add rugged running boards, too. Fender flares can also help protect the metal on your Jeep’s doors.
While there isn’t a guarantee that customizing your Jeep will make it last longer, it certainly can’t hurt to add protective pieces to the exterior.
- Haynes Publishing (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 464 Pages - 05/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Haynes Manuals N. America, Inc. (Publisher)
- Chilton Jeep Wrangler/YJ (1987 - 2011) Repair Manual (40650)
- Chilton (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 1 Page - 05/17/2012 (Publication Date) - Cengage Learning (Publisher)