Is it bad to buy a high mileage Jeep Wrangler?


Is it bad to buy a high mileage Jeep Wrangler?

If you are considering a sweet deal on a used Jeep Wrangler with high mileage, you may be wondering how these vehicles hold up to wear and tear. If the offer is too good to be true or the vehicle looks particularly well taken care of, you may be tempted either way to pass or buy. Lucky for you, we have considered a full range of factors that you may encounter when buying a used Jeep Wrangler with high mileage.

Jeep Wranglers are notoriously tough vehicles that can withstand extreme environments and years of hard-driving. Nevertheless, like anything else, how well the vehicle was maintained is the key question regarding its current value. High mileage doesn’t necessarily mean that the vehicle is used up, it just means that it has been driven quite a lot (I know, self-explanatory). What we’re really looking for is how well the vehicle has been maintained. 

Is it bad to buy a high mileage Jeep Wrangler?

In order to properly assess whether a Jeep Wrangler with high mileage is a good value, you have to first understand a lot about them; understanding how well they hold up to wear and tear and how lapses in maintenance affect them are of paramount importance. 

The mileage is something that can be tampered with and doesn’t provide any assurances on its own; this is why we’ve outlined this article in order to help you assess the value and make the decision to buy a Jeep Wrangler with high miles, so let’s dive right in by looking at all of the features that the Wrangler can provide for you. 

Looking at all of the Features of a Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is an iconic vehicle. It is the commercial reproduction of the military vehicles used by America during WWII. These rugged all-terrain vehicles were the blueprint for many of the SUVs you see on the road today.  The hybrid off-road capabilities, tuned down to suit the domestic needs of Americans, became an instant hit.

The Jeep Wrangler is now regarded as the Swiss Army Knife of vehicles. There are so many accessories and upgrades that are sold to personalize and improve these vehicles. In fact, owning a Jeep Wrangler has become a lifestyle choice of its own.

For example, a Jeep Wrangler can be fitted with a tailgate kitchen to have the ultimate cookouts in some remote nature retreat. They also sell pop-up tents that come right out the top of the Jeep and allow drivers to sleep above all the pests and critters that want to eat them at night. 

In addition, you will find winches widely available to help Jeep Wrangler’s get out of those tight spaces. A fallen tree, some quicksand, or a patch of unexpectedly deep mud can require a little bit of leverage and mechanical muscle to pull out of it.

For the same reasons, they also sell body armor and skid plates to protect the undercarriage of Jeep Wranglers. These pieces may provide full or partial protection to keep your Jeep Wrangler from bottoming out and incurring damage. These reinforced vehicles can conquer any terrain.

There are also different styles of Jeep Wranglers. You have the Unlimited editions that tend to run quite high and the more economical versions;  hardtop, soft-top, and convertible Jeep’s are all available.

You can also upgrade the wheels, upgrade the tires, upgrade the differential, and add a snorkel kit to let the engine breathe even if you get stuck in some river water. There are A/C converters, power tools, refrigerators, and all sorts of gadgets that are designed in a plug-n-play manner for your Jeep Wrangler.

So if these upgrade options sound interesting and you feel that you could put a Jeep to good use, you’ll probably have a stronger bias to invest in one even if it needs some repairs. It is an important aspect of purchasing a Jeep because you may decide that the worn-out parts don’t matter if you will upgrade them anyhow.

The high mileage of the Jeep will be a stronger factor if you are looking for a vehicle that is turn-key and ready to go. If it has high miles, it likely has excessive wear in other parts. This can drain your pocket on the upfront costs of excessive repairs.

Mechanical Aptitude

Your personal level of mechanical aptitude also plays a central role in assessing the value of any used Jeep Wrangler. If you feel confident that you can fix and replace parts on the vehicle yourself, you won’t have as much apprehension about taking a gamble on its fitness. 

If you have to rely on mechanics, the question may be whether you know a good mechanic who would treat you fairly if certain issues were to arise. Being stuck with a one-ton paperweight shatters the dream of taking this unreliable beast off-road and enjoying it.

Pro tip: Always be careful when you buy a vehicle that has high mileage and no warranty.

On the brighter side, Jeep Wrangler’s require more mechanical aptitude than technical skill. This means that you don’t need to spend hours studying technical manuals and digesting the engineering aspects of the vehicle before you repair it. You can simply get a socket set and replace parts on it without much of a learning curve. This is one of the main benefits of buying a used Jeep – with a little bit of research and some Youtube videos, you can probably fix it yourself. 

The Effects of High Mileage

High mileage doesn’t mean what it used to mean; the more important aspects are how old the vehicle may be and when the warranty expired. A Jeep that is only a few years old with high mileage may still have a lot of life left in it. The synthetic motor oils being used today have reduced the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle substantially. 

In days past, if you run an engine for 200,000 miles, it would probably have lots of piston wear and would eat oil. That is a good element to consider when you are considering a used Jeep Wrangler. If you see a spare oil can in the vehicle, you can bet that it is eating an inordinate volume of oil between changes.

While it is normal for a little bit of oil to be volatilized, the larger the container, the more likely that the engine is in bad shape. You can also tell by the exhaust smoke if it is burning oil, if the exhaust has a bluish tint to it, this is indicative of high oil consumption.

Proof that the owner ran the vehicle on full synthetic motor oil and had regular service would remove a lot of doubts. If it is a newer Jeep Wrangler, you can ask a local dealership to check the VIN number and print up the service record. Whenever service is done under the factory warranty, an entry will be lodged in a computer database.

Additional parts that are likely to become worn with age are transmissions and differentials. Always have the undercarriage of a Jeep Wrangler checked out for damage and leaks from any of these major components. Heat causes premature failure and may affect the lifespan of your investment if leaks are prevalent. 

The bearings, axles, and tie rods also take a serious beating from wear and high mileage. However, the biggest kicker is the fact that vulcanized rubber parts tend to begin deteriorating in about five years. If the vehicle is five years or older, it should have new tires and all the steering parts overhauled to restore it back to its original condition.

If it has aftermarket parts in it, these won’t hold up as well as the original equipment. If you purchase a Jeep Wrangler with high mileage in that sweet spot, before it needs major overhauls, you will save yourself quite a bit of money. Of course, that all depends on how often you will use the vehicle and how much wear and tear matters to you.

Negotiating the Best Price

Knowing all the factors of what deteriorates over time and what to check, you can still get a good deal if a vehicle has any issues. You just have to highlight the damage and negotiate with the seller by using that as leverage. A reasonable seller would see your point and reconsider the personal value that he attaches to the vehicle.

However, the rule of thumb is that once the maintenance has lapsed on a vehicle, it is too expensive to restore it back to new. It is cheaper to just enter a monthly payment plan for a newer Jeep Wrangler that has some miles on it but nothing excessive.

You’re really not getting much of a deal if the vehicle has all sorts of wear that is just as expensive to fix over time as the costs of a front-end collision. Always compare the vehicle to the value you might get out of a newer vehicle before you lay down any cash.

Endnotes

What matters to you and your mechanical aptitude is what is going to make the purchase worthwhile. We hope that by weighing the pros and cons listed above you will be able to make a smart decision backed by knowledge. Believe us, the more you know going into a sale, the better off you are. 

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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