The Jeep Wrangler is one of the best vehicles for drivers who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. Many people love this adventurous SUV’s rugged design. Here are six red flags to watch out for when buying a used Wrangler.
1. Undercarriage Damage
When checking out a used Jeep Wrangler, be sure to inspect its undercarriage thoroughly. Heavily worn skid plates indicate that the vehicle may have been pushed to its limits when venturing off-road. Ideally, you should avoid buying a Wrangler that looks like it has taken a lot of punishment.
Unfortunately, some Wrangler owners have a bad habit of neglecting to wash their vehicles after hitting the trails. When mud is left on the frame and undercarriage, this can encourage rust to form. Remember, it’s only a matter of time before rust begins to eat through the metal.
2. Death Wobble
Stay far away from a used Wrangler that is experiencing the infamous “death wobble”. When this issue occurs, the steering wheel may violently shake when driving over a bump in the road. According to owners who’ve dealt with the issue, it feels as if the SUV is tearing itself apart. This is a definite safety hazard, which has caused some people to lose control and crash.
To rule out any potential problems, it’s strongly recommended to allow a Jeep mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection. The solution for death wobble is to install an upgraded steering damper.
3. Aftermarket Modifications
Modifying a vehicle is a great way to make it stand out from the crowd. However, think twice before buying a modded Wrangler. This is especially true when aftermarket parts are used. Long-term reliability could certainly take a hit. A completely stock Wrangler is a better investment.
Be even more cautious about purchasing a pre-owned Wrangler that has a modified suspension. Even if high-quality components were used, it’s critical that they were professionally installed by a Jeep expert. Amateurs are more likely to make mistakes, which end up leading to more repairs in the long run. From the ball joints to the control arms, every aspect of the suspension needs to be closely examined for potential weak points.
4. Water Leaks
The Wrangler’s removable roof panels and detachable doors are among its coolest features. On the downside, water leaks are more prone to occur. Several big issues can arise. Not only can water leaks cause electrical shortages, but they also promote the growth of mold and mildew.
Before you decide to buy a used Jeep Wrangler, make sure it’s door seals are in good condition. Although new door seals aren’t a big expense, it can cause a lot of money to restore an interior that’s been ruined by water damage.
5. Bad Ignition Switch
The ignition switch on some Wrangler models has a factory defect, which leads to premature failure. When this electronic component begins to go bad, starting the vehicle will become a challenge. Some owners have even experienced their Wrangler shutting off while driving.
A revised Jeep ignition switch will be needed. Luckily, the cost of replacing the part isn’t too steep.
6. Worn Tires
Even if you don't mind spending the money on a new set of tires, excessive tire wear should still raise a red flag. Uneven wear often signals a bad wheel alignment. In certain instances, you could be dealing with a Wrangler that has a damaged frame. Fixing the issue can be a major headache.
With the use of a specialized machine, a Jeep mechanic can quickly determine if the SUV's wheels are out of alignment. You'll know in advance about any parts that will soon need to be replaced.