Jeep is the face of off-roading, so it can be tempting to think they are invincible, but just like every other make, there are better and worse models. Overall, Jeep makes a good name for itself, but some models rate better than others.
A Jeep Wrangler has the least amount of problems, though many Jeep vehicles are considered well built, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Compass. Each of these has a sturdy design, a stylish look, plenty of features to speak of, and any one of them would make a reliable choice.
Every vehicle has problems you will need to anticipate, but some have fewer or more manageable problems. The more reliable the car is, the fewer common problems they have. Learn more about the most reliable Jeep models below.
The Wrangler is the face of Jeep. Its classic look and off-road abilities keep it at the top of the favorites list for any off-road adventurer. The Wrangler has heavy-duty features that make it the ideal option for those who enjoy regular off-roading. It can withstand rough terrain, but it does come with its own set of problems. Here are some of the most commonly reported issues with the Jeep Wrangler according to CarComplaints:
- Death Wobble
- TIPM failure
- Cylinder head failure
While the Wrangler is known for being a sturdy vehicle to take out on the rocks, its on-road handling is something to note. Because the vehicle is made for rough terrain, a highway cruise may feel stiff and jerky. In older or more worn Jeeps, it may become extreme. It is called the Death Wobble by Jeep enthusiasts. While it may not be the most common issue with the Wrangler, it certainly is the most dangerous.
The Death Wobble is exactly what it sounds like. The Jeep starts jerking back and forth and you may even lose control and crash. This is a dangerous phenomenon that happens to bigger utility vehicles or trucks, but the Wrangler is known for the Death Wobble.
The Death Wobble is more common on Jeeps that have had amateur work done to them. Specifically in the suspension system. If you are purchasing a used Wrangler, be cautious of the ones that have been worked on at home. If your Jeep Wrangler starts to wobble, take it to a qualified repair shop, don’t try to fix it yourself.
You can expect some electrical issues with most older Jeep models, and the Wrangler is no exception. The Wrangler’s most common electrical issue is a failure of the integrated power module (TIPM). The TIPM is in charge of making sure the electrical works properly throughout the vehicle. If your TIPM goes out completely, you won’t be able to start your vehicle until you replace it. If your Jeep Wrangler is struggling to start, the TIPM may be the cause.
The cylinder heads wearing out are most reported on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. While other years report the same issue, 2012 is the worst year for cylinder heads. It costs between $1,500 and $2,500 to repair the cylinder heads.
While the Wrangler exhibits some serious issues, these are only occasional repairs that are a one-time cost. Keeping your vehicle properly maintained will help you avoid more costly repairs or more frequent repairs.
Because it was built to be more of a family commuter SUV, it doesn’t have the same off-roading capabilities as the Wrangler. Instead, it focuses on comfort and style. According to Consumer Reports, owners have reported very few complaints about the Compass, but you should anticipate some repairs. The following are some commonly occurring issues:
- Suspension control arm failure
- TIPM failure
- CVT transmission overheating
When your suspension system is bad, you feel it. Replacing the control arm bushing can cost anywhere from $150 up to $450. If your control arm is bad, you could consider replacing the suspension system entirely, which can cost anywhere from $450 to over $1,100.
The Jeep Compass is another model affected by the TIPM failure. Replacing this is necessary and can cost $1,200 up to $1,700.
The benefits and drawbacks of the CVT transmission are commonly debated amongst car gurus. While CVT does come with its benefits, like better fuel economy and a smoother ride, it can wear faster and cost more to replace than a typical automatic transmission. Not all years for the Compass have a CVT, though, so that is something to check when purchasing your vehicle. The newer Compasses have a regular automatic transmission and the very old Jeep Compass models have manual transmissions.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Grand Cherokee is similar to the Compass in ability and style. It’s a family commuter vehicle with off-road abilities. The Grand Cherokee is more popular than the Compass and is generally viewed as a bit more rugged. The most common problems with the Grand Cherokee involve the electrical system. Here are some of the common problems you will need to watch out for:
- TIPM failure
- Electronic shifting failure
- Leather dashboard bubbling/wrinkling
The TIPM issue plagues the Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as the Wrangler. This is the most commonly reported issue with this model according to CarComplaints. The TIPM failure can cause many electrical anomalies. It causes the lights, locks, or windows to malfunction. However, once the TIPM is repaired the electrical issues will be resolved.
The electronic shifting often fails. This costs around $840 to repair. While you typically only need to replace the shifter, the transmission is closely related to the shifter and could present problems that would require it to be replaced or rebuilt. Repairing or replacing the transmission will cost much more than $840.
The third most common problem is purely cosmetic. The leather on the dash bubbles and wrinkles, as if it wasn’t installed properly. While it isn’t a large concern for the capability of the vehicle, the appearance can be upsetting to owners.