5 Large Jeep Wranglers to Buy Used (5 to Stay Away From)

The Jeep Wrangler has come to symbolize the kind of feeling of freedom and adventure that no sports car or motorcycle can really match. This vehicle is one of the most popular SUVs, well known for its reliability and low maintenance cost. But while some Jeep Wranglers are truly amazing and unstoppable, some models have recorded significant problems over the years.

If you are looking for a used Jeep Wrangler, there are a variety of options to choose from. The SUV has been in production since the twilight of World War II and will continue to adorn the market in 2022. Used Wranglers are known to be powerful and can withstand almost anything – snow, mud, cord, rocks, rain and sand. Some are also much easier to repair than others. Unlike newer models, there is no annoying onslaught of electrical components with the older models. They are much easier to work with and fix yourself.

Of course, it’s not just rosy to buy used Jeep Wranglers. Some will only ruin your pain points further. To shed some light on this dilemma, here are five Jeep Wranglers to buy used and five to avoid.

10 Buy used: 1954-1983 CJ-5

Wrangler lovers have a lot to look for in a CJ5 — reliability, comfort and efficiency. The CJ-5 was first introduced in 1954 and left the market in 1983, and is a fun, reliable vehicle that still works competently. Its design was anchored on the round screen ’51 M38AI. However, it is more robust, versatile and comfortable compared to its predecessor.

The most likely engine you will find in a 60’s model is the Buick 3.7-liter V6 which pushes out 155 hp. But in 1970, when the company was sold to American Motors, the new owners replaced the engine with its unit. A variety of engines were released in the 1970s, including a 5.0-liter, 4.2-liter and 3.8-liter V8. The CJ-5’s easy to find parts and cheap repair costs are also selling points for the long-retired Jeep.

Related: A detailed look at the 1972 renewal of the Jeep CJ-5

9 Stay away from: 2012 Wrangler

For the 2012 model, the wrangler disappointed owners with a host of reported complaints. Most problems revolve around the driveline.

Some owners experienced stops or random braking while driving, while others caused their engines to fail, the cylinders failed and more. The 2012 Wrangler had 9 recalls; for fire hazards, Takata airbags and transmission fluid leaks, to name a few. The biggest factor, however, is the huge cost of fixing these problems. Replacing entire modules, radiators or engine heads completely entailed substantial repair costs for the owners.


8 Buy used: 1976 CJ-7

The CJ-7 Wrangler is another pretty solid choice. Although the CJ-6 is considered a CJ-5 with a longer wheelbase, the CJ-7 included a number of new features and upgrades, making it a common choice in the used car market.

1976 The Jeep CJ-7 came with better stability and handling, now with the quadra-trac four-wheel drive system, which turned the Jeep CJ7 into a terrain monster. Its interior has been renewed to offer an improved elegant and luxurious ride. It also came with a sloping steering wheel, high-backed leather seats and attractive chrome packages. Potential buyers can be overwhelmed by the engine variants, a 2.5 liter Iron Duke 14, a 4.2 liter AMC 16, a 5.0 liter AMC V8 and many more. In addition, it has good reviews from previous owners.


7 Stay away from: 2020 Wrangler

The newest Jeep Wrangler appeared on this list because it was awarded 36 out of 100 and a total rating of 28 when it passed tests by Consumer Reports – not really good for a trip with a high price tag. A used Jeep Wrangler from 2020 is estimated to cost around 45,900 USD.

Another problem you may have to contend with is the high maintenance and repair costs. A 2020 Jeep Wrangler will cost you approximately $ 11,661 for repairs and maintenance during the first five years of service. There is also a 30% chance that the Wrangler will require major repairs during that time.

Related: Motorweek test drive 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

6 Buy used: 1987 YJ

The Jeep YJ replaced the CJ model, and although the encouraging reactions were not encouraging, the owners appreciated most of its features.

Although this model was particularly controversial for its square headlights and raised windshield, the owners quickly learned to love it for its width, lower ground clearance and more spacious interior. For the 1987 model, the Jeep YJ owner had a 2.5-liter AMC 150 14 engine or the more optimal 4.2-liter AMC 258 straight six-engine. In addition, the Jeep is affordable, about $ 10,450 with cheap repair and maintenance costs compared to other models.


5 Stay away from: 2007 Wrangler JK

Although the third-generation Wrangler is still Jeep’s iconic vehicle, it may be nearing the end of its life cycle. Although Wrangler JK is known for its outstanding off-road performance, it was plagued by problems on several fronts.

In addition to several recalls that affected many Wranglers, this model had problems with everything from fuel systems to steering. Common problems reported revolved around driveline, handling and safety. According to owners who suffered from engine failure, repairs cost them about $ 4,400.

Related: 10 used jeeps that no one buys (but should)


4 Used: 1996 Wrangler TJ

The TJ model was manufactured between 1996 and 2006 as a replacement for the YJ Wrangler. In addition to being a reliable alternative, similar used models can be found at quite affordable prices.

Most still exhibit high performance levels due to their robust build quality. 1996 TJ’s included upgrades such as 4.0-liter AMC 242 inline-six engine capacity, better suspension for smooth driving, roll bars for improved safety and more.

These Wranglers were built for speed, power and capacity. Repair and maintenance costs are also affordable.

3 Stay away from: 2015 Wrangler

Although the used 2015 Jeep Wrangler has impressive off-road performance with a well-built cab, it also had its fair share of problems. The driving experience was uneven and the handling was clumsy.

In addition, the Wrangler was not as fuel efficient as car-based crossovers and has had two recalls. In 2016, Chrysler reminds that a cut or separated seat belt strap can break and separate from the seat frame, which increases the risk of injury during a collision. In addition, the bell model spring unit of the model year may be contaminated with dust, which may result in a possible fault in the airbag circuit.

2 Buy used: 2004 LJ

Jeep LJ is one of the coolest jeeps of all time. It’s a rare, stretched version of the regular 1997-2006 Wrangler. Jeep enthusiasts are often willing to pay a penny for this model. An extended wheelbase, a Command-Trac 231 transmission housing and a Dana 44 rear axle are some of the features you’ll find in this vehicle.

Its sharp handling characteristics and efficient engine with an automatic four-speed gearbox make this Jeep a catch. Given that there were no recalls for this model, it’s worth spending around $ 15,000 for a used one.

Related: What can we expect from the upcoming Jeep Small Electric Crossover

1 Stay away from: 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

While the 2018 Wrangler Rubicon came completely redesigned with a more comfortable interior, it is not without flaws. According to an Edmunds review, the steering of the drive is slow and feels loose, it has less cargo space and poor handling and riding comfort.

Jeep’s engine failure in combination with problems with electronic throttle and radiator fans attracted negative comments from the owners. So if you are considering buying this model, think about it.

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