Jeep Reliability 101: A Comprehensive Guide
I am a serial entrepreneur and a consumer advocate. When I’m not helping car buyers, I love working on ventures that have a positive impact.
Jeeps are the type of cars everyone remembers when there is a need to take up rough terrain. Uneven roads, a great need for power and control, the need to go for a desert ride and perform some dare-devil stunts, Jeeps are always there to deliver when we want.
The history of Jeeps dates back to World War II. There is no harm in assuming that the car that played major roles in reconnaissance and battle support should be built with unbeatable strength and dependability. Well, you are not wrong if these are your thoughts. But are Jeeps reliable?
Well, sorry to break Jeep-lovers’ hearts, but irrespective of how solid Jeep cars are, they are not reliable.
This is because they are not fuel-efficient, have poor handling, and have a lower safety rating. The truth is that Jeeps are not built for leisure or to offer performance levels like what is achievable for most luxury lovers.
Here’s all you need to know about Jeep’s reliability.
Table of Contents
Are Jeeps Reliable?
Jeeps are fairly reliable, but this doesn’t mean they are bad cars. Jeeps are good cars with outstanding traction and control support, making them a good choice for mountain rides and off-trail travels.
According to RepairPal, Jeep has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 5th out of 32 car brands. The reliability of Jeep cars sits on the average scale, not too good, but not too bad. It is nice to understand why Jeep’s reliability is not as high as its durability.
Jeep’s history in car production started with outsourced engines, axle-driveshaft, transmissions, cases, drivetrain, etc. Things changed after Chrysler bought the Jeep Company in 1987. But does this matter?
Users often blame the Jeep company for the tendency of their cars to break down a lot. However, the blame also lies on the Jeep owners. Most Jeep owners are in the habit of pushing their limit, taking them off-road rides, and mounting much pressure on the components which generate wear and tear.
Although these cars are built for off-road conditions, their reliability also lies in how well you use them.
Some of the major areas that Jeep failed in reliability include its overall safety, fuel economy, and breakdowns of its engines, transmissions, and other major components. The last time we drove the 2020 Jeep Wrangler-Sahara, the sun visor broke on our way to pick up the kids from school.
It all looks like Jeep’s parent company, Chrysler, is cutting costs in the production of Jeeps, using inferior materials for its designs. Chrysler is identified as one of the least-reliability automakers in the United States, and we can’t shake off its impact on Jeep cars.
Why Jeeps are Considered Fairly Reliable
Safety is one of the features that the Jeep brand is yet to perfect on its cars. For a span of 10 years, from 2012 to 2022, only 11 Jeep models earned the IIHS safety awards. This is a poor rating compared to what is achievable on other brands.
Jeep has had many recalls on its cars for the failure of its airbag technology, a big setback regarding its commitment to driver safety. The Jeep Wrangler has an unending trail of customer complaints about its “death wobble.”
Although the Jeep brand promises advanced driver assistance systems and safety technology, there are no signs that these technologies and systems can keep you safe.
However, we’ve seen some improvements in Jeep’s safety technology. This has helped the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee to earn a 5-star NHTSA rating. However, Jeep still has much work to do.
The Jeep Wrangler has a 27.9% chance of rolling over during an accident. This is greater than what is achievable on most SUVs.
Jeep offers different safety technology and features for all of its cars. This makes it difficult to draw a uniform conclusion about them.
The overall features of Jeep’s safety technology include:
- Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection
- Full-speed forward collision warning with active braking
- Adaptive cruise control with stop and go
- Lane-sense/lane departure warning system
- Electronic stability control
- Parkview rear backup camera
- Parksense rear park assist with stop
- Parallel and perpendicular park assist with a full stop
- Rear cross-path detection
- Forward collision warning with active braking
These features are backed up by the high-strength frame of the Jeep’s body and eight airbags that reinforce crash protection. This will vary for different models and production years.
2. Fuel Economy
Gas mileage/fuel economy on Jeep is relatively poor. The shape of Jeep cars creates so much resistance to air/wind, even at high speeds. This causes Jeeps to burn more fuel than any aerodynamic car will.
The bad aerodynamics of Jeep cars and the effects of wind resistance drastically affect their fuel efficiency. This also includes the fact that Jeep cars are like metal tanks on 4x4 wheels.
Unlike Honda, which has gas-saving systems and features embedded in its cars, Jeep doesn’t have any dedicated system to help users conserve fuel.
However, Jeep is starting to adopt a unibody design on some of its cars, instead of the body-on-frame, to make things easier for users.
One of the scariest things about owning a Jeep is worrying that it may have many problems. Jeeps are not cars that we consider long-lasting. A Jeep car can last up to 100,000 to 250,000 miles, with an extended lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
We understand that Chrysler has a reputation for making poorly designed parts that are greatly unreliable, but you also have a role to play by deciding the amount of pressure you mount on the car.
4. Repair and Maintenance Cost
Despite the customer complaints about Jeep cars, they are very cheap to repair and maintain.
It costs an annual average of $634 to repair and maintain a Jeep. Although Jeeps have a 13% probability of major repairs, you can enjoy a 0.3 chance of visiting the mechanic if you properly maintain them.
5. Engine and Performance
While there are great worries about the durability of Jeep’s drivetrain, we wouldn’t fail to mention that they have an impressive engine and performance that you can rely on.
Jeep offers driver options for the 3.6L and 3.8L Pentastar engines depending on the model your choose and your driving needs. You can also choose between the 2WD, 4WD, or AWD systems.
Jeep Reliability: Pros
- Great for off-road driving
- Reliable engines on newer models
- Improved driving performance in all weather conditions
Jeep Reliability: Cons
- Poor fuel economy
- Poor cargo space
- Engine failures on some models
- Poor safety ratings.
Jeeps are simply for adventures, so they fall short of offering overall dependability for a daily car user.
However, the Jeep brand has started producing some SUVs that can pass as luxury cars, such as the Jeep Cherokee. We advise that you should only go for a Jeep if you have needs for off-road riding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Jeeps good in the snow?
Jeep, a fairly reliable brand, is built strongly to handle tough terrains, including extreme weather conditions. With its ground clearance and four-wheel drive feature, a Jeep can get you through snowy weather conditions.
Is a Jeep a long-lasting car?
Yes. Jeeps are not long-lasting cars. Jeeps can last between 100,000 to 250,000 miles or 10 to 15 years, provided they're well-driven and properly maintained. This includes the terrain they are driven on and the amount of pressure you are mounting on the internal components.
Are Jeeps expensive to maintain?
No. Jeeps are not expensive to maintain. The average annual cost of maintaining a Jeep is $634, slightly lower than the $652 average cost for all major brands.