A car’s reliability is important to ensure you always have a safe and smooth driving experience, or you won’t frequently get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Apart from wanting to know the difference between an SUV and a Jeep, people who want to use their vehicles for off-road and on-road driving also often ask, “Are Jeeps reliable?” This question usually roots from the ratings released by some independent parties and magazines.
So, are Jeeps reliable? Jeep is a brand with a great heritage, and its vehicles’ design has been appreciated for so long, which can prove their reliability. Experts and users have divided opinions, though, which is understandable because there are things to consider in terms of car reliability.
For us to understand better where Jeeps really stand in terms of reliability, let’s learn what affects these ratings or scores. We’ll also talk about the reasons why Jeep models remain one of the top-selling vehicles despite divided opinions.
Are Jeeps Reliable?
Based on most third-party reliability reviews, Jeep ranks poorly. For instance, the Reliability Index gave the brand a score of 173, placing it at the 29th spot out of a total of 40 car manufacturers evaluated. Though not a good reliability score, it is at the same spot as Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, and BMW, which are some of the top luxury brands in most countries.
Likewise, in 2019, Consumer Reports placed Jeep at rank number eight in terms of worst car brands partly because both the Cherokee and Compass were included in the 2019 list for the worst SUV.
Honestly, though, the Jeep brand’s overall reliability is difficult to determine since different models have different user and expert reliability ratings. As such, let’s look into the various factors affecting the brand’s low-reliability scores and what Jeep experts have to say about it. This way, you can have a clear picture of whether one model or all models are truly unreliable or reliable.
Jeep Reliability Factors
As mentioned, when it comes to determining how reliable are Jeeps and looking at data and car brand or model reliability rankings or ratings, we must understand that different evaluators or surveyors used several factors. Some of which include:
It is a known fact that each part of your car has a specific lifespan, but this will depend on how you take care of and how often you use your car, as well as where you drive your car regularly. How frequent one or more of its parts breakdown is definitely an excellent way to rank a vehicle’s reliability. For Jeep units, some of the more common reported problematic parts are their:
When it comes to transmission problems, you will always find two Jeep models: Wrangler and Cherokee. So, are Jeep Cherokees reliable, and are Jeep Wranglers reliable cars?
Most owners proved that the Grand Cherokee lasts long. However, some users complain that both the 2015 Grand Cherokee WK2 and Cherokee KL models have poor transmission performance with rough jerking and shifting noted as the most common issues. Plus, the repair cost is quite expensive. Fortunately, Jeep solved this issue, so newer models have more reliable transmission systems. Additionally, for the KL model, the transmission problem is most of the time related to software issues, which you can resolve by simply updating it.
For Jeep Wrangler reliability, it has average overall reliability as compared to the Cherokee because of its simpler design. Usually, it’s the model with the nine-speed ZF transmission system or the JL Wrangler that required frequent, expensive repair and maintenance.
2. Axle and Suspension
As similar to the transmission, both the Cherokee and Wrangler models have unsatisfactory reliability results due to their suspension. In terms of a problematic axle, the Grand Cherokee tops the list. Reports on these issues, though, are mostly from people who remodeled their units or changed their tires. That said, fixing these issues isn’t as costly as transmission repair.
3. Infotainment System
Surprisingly, reports and surveys on how reliable are Jeeps include complaints on the unit’s infotainment system. Most users say that the system has more glitches and a bit slower compared to cars of the same class from different brands.
4. Electrical System
Your car’s electrical system plays a significant role in ensuring that your car starts properly and won’t stop running unexpectedly while you’re driving. Unfortunately, there is a high number of reports on electrical system issues for 2014 and lower models of the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, and Wrangler, as well as 2017 and lower models of the Jeep Patriot.
For instance, as per Reliability Index, 21.43% of repair records for the Cherokee was related to its electrical system. Similarly, Car Complaints almost always receives a high number of complaints about the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler electrical systems. The years 2011 and 2012 being the worst.
Are Jeep Patriots reliable?
Jumping into the Jeep Patriot, some problems with its electrical system include the “Check Engine” light, wire connection, wheel speed sensor, and wiring. With many issues, the common answer you’ll get when you ask “Are Jeep Patriots reliable?” is a yes.
What Experts Say
Many off-roaders, Jeep enthusiasts or old-time users, and mechanics claim that apart from the part-specific problems with some models, there are more reasons behind the brand’s low-reliability score.
- Infotainment and Bluetooth Issues
First, some issues, such as the infotainment system and Bluetooth connectivity, are not even directly related to reliability but are more related to overall customer satisfaction. Although driving and riding comfort and entertainment are essential, they don’t directly affect Jeep’s safety and performance on the road.
- Wobbling and Shaking
Second, serious performance and safety issues like the so-called “death wobble” or the wobbling and shaking of the car due to an oscillating front axle can be explained by the car design itself. Since Jeep units are mostly off-road vehicles, they are coil sprung and has a track bar setup, which causes suspension imbalance. Additionally, as noted earlier, this becomes a severe and frequent problem due to multiple modifications that users themselves do.
In relation to that, experts say we can’t really confirm if complaints regarding Jeep’s reliability is objective or subjective. It doesn’t mean that complaints and data are false, but we should consider the fact that some problems in Jeep units might be due to user neglect.
“Play hard” Mistakes
Remember, most owners “play hard” with their Jeeps, like as mentioned, they modify their units according to their wants. There are already a lot of DIY kits that one can purchase. An example and one that is commonly purchased and used is a suspension lift kit (view on Amazon). Although these products are easy and quick to install, if you’re not careful, you will do more harm than good to your car, so it might be best to let a professional do it for you.
On that note, some Jeep owners would install it themselves without properly rotating the axles first. As such, the angles on the u-joints get displaced and would require regular replacement.
Another “play hard” mistake that Jeep owners commit is that they use their vehicles even in the toughest situations. Yes, they can traverse difficult terrains, wet or dry, smooth or rocky, but some users drive like their car has no limits. Plus, after their adventure, they would wait a while before even cleaning their vehicles.
If you drove your car on muddy terrain, both water and mud can get into the bearings, axles, and brake. It would affect your car’s performance and would worsen when left unattended. Hence, the unit would most likely require frequent repairs.
Why Does Everyone Want a Jeep?
Even though Jeeps seem unreliable, especially when you search for “Are jeeps good cars?“, most people still want to own a Jeep, and a high percentage of this population are those who owned one already or still owns one. We discussed the top reasons earlier or those mentioned by experts, but here are the other reasons why Jeep are still popular and one of the most sought-after vehicles:
1. Timeless Design
History tells us that Jeep has been around since World War II, and although there are some upgrades to keep up with the changing times, its classic look remained. Still, you can find some of its original features, such as the round headlights and seven-slot grille, in some models.
2. Great Aftermarket Service
Aftermarket service is important when purchasing any type of vehicle since your car would require maintenance as long as you own it. The good thing about the Jeep brand is that it isn’t difficult to find and buy parts that would need replacing.
3. All-Weather Construction
This might be a no-brainer since Jeeps are designed for off-road adventures. You can drive a Jeep without worries, even during floods and snowy conditions, since it has better traction and has a high distance from the ground. That said, to take good care of and protect your Jeep better, getting an all-weather, durable cover (view on Amazon) and/or protective floor liners (view on Amazon) is advisable.
4. Fun and Smooth Driving Experience
Whether you’re driving on- or off-road, any Jeep model will ensure you’ll have a perfect view of the scenery. You can enjoy the view or document your ride by capturing pictures and recording videos without worrying much about being blocked by other vehicles.
Similarly, you can clearly spot the Jeep’s exterior so you can drive and park with full confidence, even if you have excellent parking sensors.
5. Good Handling
Undeniably, Jeeps are bulkier as compared to other vehicles, and some individuals are concern about how easy it would be to drive it. Fortunately, no matter how huge Jeep vehicles might be, a majority of users say that they’re easy to maneuver, which is owed to their short wheelbases and great tight-turning ratios.
6. Great Value for Money
Jeeps might not be as affordable as some brands, but they’re in the middle of the scale in terms of cost and are truly cost-efficient. With proper maintenance and care, they will last for decades, and you can even sell them at a good price if you plan to upgrade.
Are Jeeps Reliable: The Conclusion
Overall, are Jeeps good cars? Jeep units might not be as reliable as it is when they were first released during WWII because of changes in the design to match user needs and keep up with advancement. Nonetheless, looking at the factors and what experts have to say, we can conclude that Jeeps are reliable cars, both on- and off-road.
Other models might have had issues in some of its parts, but Jeep’s commitment to serving their clients is undeniable since they resolved these problems on newer models. Likewise, most issues are minor and can be fixed by a professional in a short period. Some problems were also common in older models and have occurred a few years of usage.
Therefore, to ensure your Jeep stays reliable, just make sure you maintain it well, drive it with love and care no matter how beastly it is, and refrain from modifying it without proper knowledge. If you’re still in doubt, you can stay away from Jeep models that have reported problems. After all, Jeep has a variety of models that you can choose from and will work for your needs and wants!
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.