When and if you decide to buy a new Jeep Wrangler, what do you look for? What do you try and avoid? According to Car and Driver, there is a short list of both:
- Post-2012 JK-generation Jeeps, which have the 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6, a five-speed automatic and a nicer interior.
- An original 2004-2006 Unlimited (long-wheelbase, but two-door).
- A 2018 or newer JL with the 270-hp 2.0-liter turbo, if the price is right.
- The three-speed automatic transmission (final year: 2002).
- The last of the 202-hp 3.8-liter V-6/old interior JK years. There’s a big difference between a 2010 and a 2012.
- Anything so new that you may as well get a new one.
We agree completely with this advice! New Jeeps have become very expensive, but you are also buying into the newest of technologies and creature comforts.
At the end of the day it really comes down to what you want to do with your “new to you” Jeep and how much you want to spend. We have seen prices from a few thousand dollars for a rolling chassis to thousands of dollars over the price of a brand new rig.
There are 3 “Golden Reasons” to buy a used Jeep Wrangler, especially if you don’t already own one. First, most every part on them is replaceable. Second, the aftermarket support is second to none. Third, you will learn about what this whole “jeep lifestyle” thing is all about…and will more than likely discover freedoms that you never knew existed.
Jeeps, especially the older models, are extremely prone to rust issues. Look for used models that live in the West or southwest. Check the underside for scaling or chunks of rust from inside the frame.
Places where they use salt on the roads are very detrimental to Jeeps.
There are only a few really good options when it comes to the engines. The reliable 4.0L used in the TJ’s and LJ’s, the 3.6 Pentastar used in the 2012 and newer JK’s and JL’s, and the newest 2.0L turbo. Stay with those and you’ll be fine.
As with any other vehicle, you want to make sure you know the maintenance history, get a good CarFax, make sure the vehicle has never had any major accidents, clean title, etc. Unless you’re looking for a project stay away from the cheap Wranglers as they often always spell trouble.
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