worst years for jeep wrangler

Jeep Wrangler Years to Avoid

Which are the Jeep Wrangler years to avoid? This is a common question that comes up on Jeep forums from those looking to purchase a used Jeep Wrangler. Though the Jeep Wrangler is known to be a rugged and durable car, models from particular years have recorded some significant problems.

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler model was voted the worst Jeep Wrangler of the bunch. It had a lot of problems which led to a total of 9 recalls. The 2007 and 2008 Wranglers rank second and third on the list of Jeep years with 10 and 9 recalls respectively.

Generally speaking, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the best cars out there when it comes to reliability and longevity. They are built to take a beating in off-road environments and still last 15 years and well over 150,000 miles.

They have a long tradition of manufacturing top-of-the-range off-roaders which are the benchmark for everyone else entering the four-wheel-drive niche. Having said that, they have had a few of the Wrangler models face some significant problems.


Which are the Jeep Wrangler years to avoid?

If you are considering buying a Jeep Wrangler, the years to avoid are the 2007, 2008, and 2012 models. Wranglers are not immune to problems but these models are at the top of the list due to how bad these problems were.

The 2007 Jeep Wrangler went through a total of 10 recalls. These problems that led to the recalls were so prevalent that they affected millions of Jeep Wranglers.

The major problems with the 2007 model were breaking and steering issues. The steering problems led to the infamous death wobble that is common in Jeeps.

This is when the Wrangler begins to wobble while you’re driving it. Another common problem was engine failure. Affected owners had to do a complete overhaul which cost them $4,000 to $5,000.

Evidently, they didn’t fix the problems in the 2007 Wrangler because the same problems showed up in the 2008 model. It went through 9 recalls and also came with steering problems, airbag issues as well as fuel system problems.

The 2008 Wrangler also had engine issues that needed a complete overhaul to fix along with a host of other issues. The 2012 Wrangler was voted the worst year.

It went through a total of 9 recalls. Among the many issues it had were heater issues, airbag problems, engine problems that required an overhaul as well as drivetrain problems.

If you are on the market for a used Jeep Wrangler make sure that you steer clear of these years. You’ll face a lot of difficulties with them.


Common Issues With 1997-2006 Jeep Wranglers TJ

Jeep Wrangler owners who plan on buying one of these vehicles should be aware that 1997-2006 models are notorious for having many problems that can shorten their lifespan as well as result in expensive repairs.

First and foremost, there have been cases of seals leaking on these vehicles due to faulty bolts being used in the axle housing assembly.

Secondly, the engine air intake system fuel pump has had issues resulting from a bad high-pressure fuel pump seal in many instances.

Thirdly, there has been an excessive amount of reports about the gauge cluster’s malfunctioning. This occurs when the wiring harness in the steering column becomes exposed to high heat due to a bad design flaw.

Lastly, there have been numerous complaints about fuel tank issues, which result in fuel leaking out of the gas tank, usually through a crack in the gas tank or an external leak from a seam or seal being broken. there have been cases of fuel pump failures, property damage, and injuries resulting from gas entering the Jeep Wrangler’s engine air intake system.

A potential axle seal leak issue has been found in some vehicles manufactured during 1997-2006. This particular leakage problem normally results in no visible leaks if it is not reoccurring. There are reports of an oil leak from the transfer case or the rear differential pinion seal on vehicles with automatic transmissions. Lastly, there have been reports of a problem with the main wiring harness. This wiring issue causes gauges to read incorrect values and usually results in excessive vehicle vibration and/or shuddering.

Years to Avoid and Years to prefer:

  • Years to Avoid: 1997 – 2000
  • Better Years: 2001 – 2002 & 2005 – 2006
  • Reliable Years: 2003 – 2004


Common Issues With 2007-2018 Jeep Wranglers JK

Jeep Wranglers are highly sought-after SUVs, which is why many people are interested in purchasing one. However, these vehicles do have some common problems that owners should be aware of before committing to a purchase.

First and foremost, the Jeep Wrangler JK has been known to experience TIPM (Telematics Integration Module) failures. This module integrates audio systems navigation and climate controls into one unit and can cause major problems if it malfunctions.

Secondly, the “Death Wobble” has been observed in Jeep Wranglers due to loose tie rod ends or suspension issues.

Thirdly, the transfer case has been known to leak on vehicles with 6-speed transmissions, but only in areas where the transmission fluid system is heavily restricted.

Finally, some issues with the over-center steering mechanism may cause loss of vehicle control and damage to the vehicle should it continue to occur.

These problems seem to be unavoidable since all 2007-2018 Jeep Wranglers are built using many parts that are susceptible to failure and they all must be maintained properly. However, this article can conclude that these vehicles have inherent problems that can lead to catastrophic failure if owners do not notice or ignore them.

Years to Avoid and Years to prefer:

  • Years to Avoid: 2007 – 2008 & 2012 – 2014
  • Better Years: 2009 – 2011
  • Reliable Years: 2015 – 2018


Common Issues With 2018-Present Jeep Wranglers JL

With the latest version of the Wrangler, Jeep is focusing on increasing efficiency. The weight of the chassis has been reduced by changing the material mix.

As is often the case with a model change, the 2018 model was the one you should stay away from. The most serious problem with the new Wrangler is the steering. It skittered all over the road, making it difficult for drivers to stay in their lane. This steering problem accounted for the majority of complaints.

Otherwise, there have been no other recurring problems with the JL so far. For the 2019 and 2020 model years, it received an average of around 250 complaints. The vast majority of complaints received were due to the problem with the steering.

Years to Avoid and Years to prefer:

  • Years to Avoid: 2018
  • Better Years: 2019 – Prsent


Does Jeep Wrangler have a lot of problems?

Outside of the models mentioned above, Jeeps are generally very reliable cars. Every car model that exists on the face of the planet will have its own share of problems.

This is no different for the Jeep Wrangler. Fortunately, most of the problems that you face are usually easy fixes and can be taken care of relatively inexpensively.

The Jeep Wrangler is engineered to conquer the most hostile terrain. Due to this fact, it is generally built stronger than most cars and can take a lot more strain than a regular car.

The components used in building a Jeep are made to go the distance. This places the Jeep at an advantage when compared to other brands. Wranglers generally last 15 to 20 years. When well maintained, a Jeep will easily pile on anywhere from 200,000 miles to 400,000 miles.


Qualities Found in the Best Jeep Wranglers Years

Now that you’ve had a chance to review some common problems with Jeep Wranglers, it’s time to take a look at the qualities of the best Wranglers.

Having read this article, you should be well-informed about what to look for when considering a Jeep Wrangler for purchase. First of all, you need to make sure that the engine in your Jeep Wrangler is in good shape and has no signs of excessive oil consumption and/or knocking.

If an engine isn’t in good shape, it may start acting up well before 100k miles are up. This is why many Jeep Wrangler owners are switching to four-cylinder engines since they’ve proven to be more reliable.

Second, you should avoid some of the less desirable models of Wranglers such as the ones with the optional five-speed manual transmission and the ones for which the engine has been tuned by AMC.

These vehicles were not designed for good fuel economy or smooth performance and tend to be built poorly. Third, you should keep an eye out for any potential problems that might plague your Jeeps such as a bad CV joint or slipping driveshaft end that can cause overheating issues with transmissions and transfer cases.


Jeep Wrangler Years to Avoid – Do Your Own Research

If you want to find out for yourself about existing problems and recalls with your Jeep Wrangler, you can do so thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can access this information on the NHTSA website using your license plate number and model year.


Jeep Wrangler Years to Avoid – Conclusion

Though the Jeep Wrangler has a great track record and reputation, it has faced its fair share of problems over the years but still remain one of the best offroaders, fun and creative too like putting Easter eggs on most models. Having said that, a lot of Jeep Wrangler owners will agree with me that it is one of the best investments you can make.