Jeep Wrangler Problems (New & Old) – A 2023 Guide

The Jeep Wrangler, with its legendary off-road capability, has undeniable curb appeal. This sturdy car is equally at home on the daily commute and in the wilderness.

Jeep Wranglers, however, nonetheless face a number of problems that might necessitate expensive and time-consuming repairs. There are always new concerns for the next generation to address.

Jeep owners frequently complain about transmission failure, engine stalling, and the dreaded “death wobble” in the steering wheel, which can occur at high speeds or on uneven terrain.

There isn’t a perfect vehicle out there, and the more miles you spend on it, the more likely it is that it will break down and require repairs. Keeping on top of basic care and maintenance for your Jeep will be much easier if you know what kinds of problems it is prone to and can help you catch more major issues before they become very expensive.

Look over the info below to get some insight into the most typical Jeep issues.

Jeep Wrangler Problems


The Jeep Wrangler did not make its debut as we are familiar with it until the year 1986. However, the Jeep CJs that came before the Wrangler are largely responsible for the design of the Wrangler as well as a significant portion of its capacity.

The CJ (1945-1986): Before WWII, Jeeps were military vehicles. Near war’s end, the first “civilian Jeep” was released. It had a tailgate, a canvas top, and lower gears to make it more civilian-friendly.

The YJ (1986-1995): First Wrangler, YJ, debuted during 1986 Chicago Auto Show. Same frame as the CJ, but with rectangular headlamps. Suspension and interior characteristics came from the Cherokee.

The TJ (1996-2006): The TJ began the second generation Wrangler. It had a sturdier body and frame, coil springs, and round headlamps. With the same engines as the YJ, the TJ was less of a relaunch and more of a revamp.

The JK (2007-2018): Today, most Wranglers have a four-door cab, although this option didn’t appear until 2007. The third generation preserved retractable doors, soft tops, and fold-down windshields and added traction and stability control.

Common Problems with 2007-2018 Jeep Wranglers


A vehicle’s electrical system needs an integrated power module (TIPM). TIPM controls fuel pump, power windows, headlights, and throttle. The radio won’t work without the TIPM.

TIPM failure symptoms:

  • Constantly used fuel pump burns out
  • Unstartable starter
  • Stuck windows
  • Airbags not deploying or randomly deploying Engine stalling when driving
  • Auto-locking doors
  • Random honking
Jeep Wrangler Problems


Many Jeep owners have experienced the “death wobble.” As the wobbling begins, the driver’s steering wheel shakes dramatically. It frequently occurs after striking a pothole or other jolt and can be produced by pushing the brake pedal hard.

Death wobbles may feel like the axle or wheels may fly off, yet no one has perished from them. A cool head can help drivers restore control and drive safely to a technician.

The fatal wobble happens when steering components are destroyed. Also happens when suspension or steering parts are installed incorrectly. Check for bent or broken front suspension parts as the initial step in diagnosis.

Common Problems With Jeep Wranglers From 1997 To 2006


Backfiring or popping sounds in the engine can be surprising. Backfiring sounds as loud as a gunshot might trigger driver jerks. Wranglers often backfire because to:

  • Failed spark plugs
  • Incorrect timing
  • Backfiring happens in several situations and repair prices depend on the car use
  • Too much gasoline, too little air
Jeep Wrangler Problems


2005 Jeep Wranglers are known for transmission and power train recalls. Transmissions slip or become trapped. Locking up on the motorway might be fatal.

Even though Jeep is paying for the repairs, gearbox problems usually take a long time.


AWD and 4WD transfer cases distribute transmission power between the front and back wheels. Self-contained, it leaks fluid in Wranglers. Leaking transfer case may indicate a seal failure. It could also suggest the transfer case has a faulty bearing.


Wranglers are known for having door sealing troubles despite being a simple component. Leaking A-pillars are a 1987 Jeep Wrangler issue that persists today. 2002 Jeep Wrangler doors often leak.

Poorly sealed doors generate dampness and smells. Eventually, dampness could harm electrical systems. Door seals are easy to install.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

Ignition Switch Issues In Jeep Wrangler (1997-2017)

The ignition switch is an essential Wrangler component. Most complaints about the ignition switch in older Wranglers are related to their age, but even newer models have been known to have problems with their switches. The device you insert the key into is called a lock cylinder, not the ignition switch. The ignition switch has three primary purposes and is often located behind the lock cylinder:

Ignition: Moving the key to this position starts the ignition and the fuel pump, pressurizing fuel and ensuring the engine is ready to go when it turns over.

Accessory power: This is the result of turning the key to the first position, which allows you to roll down the windows, turn on the radio and use other electrical accessories.

Starter: Moving the key to this position cranks the starter.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

Common Issues With 1987-1995 Jeep Wranglers


Wranglers are built for rough terrain, therefore the bodies of older Jeeps tend to get damaged. To your relief, you may avoid accepting dings and dents in your first-gen Wrangler’s body panels and components. Repair panels for 1987-1995 Wranglers are readily available from Raybuck. This will allow you to keep your Jeep in pristine condition.


During the duration of a duty cycle, the manifold undergoes a continuous process of contracting and expanding. As time passes, it is possible for it to extend further than it can retract. This can cause the mounting stud to fracture, as well as permanently alter the geometry of the manifold. This process also causes the bolts to stretch, which ultimately leads to sufficient stress that causes them to break.


Vehicles of this age are prone to oil leaks, even if they are regularly serviced. A Wrangler’s oil leak could originate from a number of different places, making diagnosis difficult. To help locate the source of an oil leak, each system uses a distinctively coloured fluid that reacts with the flowing oil.

  • Steering fluid might be red, green, brown, or translucent.
  • New engine oil is amber but turns brown or black.
  • Coolant can be clear, red, orange, or green.
  • Red trans fluid.

The Most Frequent Problems with Jeep Wranglers

The Wrangler may seem like it’s the epitome of “back to basics” driving, but it actually has a number of problems, some of which are factory-installed. It’s undeniable that this car serves a useful purpose, but regrettably, “simple” does not always equal “problem free.”

The Problem with the Exhaust System

While it’s not common, exhaust leaks can arise in Jeep engines.

Repeated heating and cooling of the engine causes cracks in the exhaust manifold, which leads to the leak.

Leaks will develop shortly as the exhaust fissures widen. While driving, you may notice a few things that let you know your Jeep’s exhaust system requires attention. To give only one example:

  • Ticking can be heard coming from the engine compartment.
  • Suddenly, my gas mileage dropped.
  • There is some exhaust in the engine compartment.

Many drivers have found that replacement manifolds are more resistant to cracking than the originals. In the event that your exhaust develops a leak, you should get a new one right away.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

Tank fuel overflows

A Jeep with faded paint under the fuel door has this issue or is about to. A small number of Jeep owners have reported that the pump does not shut off until the tank is completely full.

Fixing a filler neck that has become leaking is a common solution. Having a professional inspect your gas tank is another option for solving the problem.

There doesn’t appear to be much of an issue so long as you keep an eye on the pump and fill the gas tank slowly and precisely.

Soft Top Self Destructing

Since the latch mechanism is prone to breaking, this issue can be traced back to the poor quality of the construction. Losing control of your vehicle on a path or while driving your child to school might not be such a big deal, but try to picture the chaos that would ensue if you were driving on a highway.

Sadly, quite a few people have experienced this pretty terrible experience, placing not only themselves but also those on the road around them in danger. This puts others in danger as well.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

Water Leaks In The Jeep’s Cabin

Issues with the door or window seals of a Jeep Wrangler have been blamed for recorded cases of water leaking into the cabin and wind noise while driving. The window seals can wear out or shift slightly, leading to water leaks and, on occasion, piercing wind noises within the cabin.

Nowadays, a leaking seal can only be fixed by a replacement service. Worn fasteners can create problems by allowing air and water to seep through tiny openings.

The top of most Wranglers is a hard top that can only be opened with special tools. As a result, it’s best to place them on in a way that keeps the panels lined up. However, a soft top requires more effort, time, and care to maintain.

A soft top replacement checklist is as follows:

  • Wearing Velcro
  • Old, broken zip fasteners
  • Split stitching
  • Cracked seals

Jeep Enters A Death Wobble

Keeping from feeling like you’re in a constant state of terror due to violent earthquakes is of utmost importance when travelling through rocky areas.

However, the death wobble is an issue in some Jeep Wranglers because to worn out components in the steering system.

The slack steering and suspension will be felt at high speeds and after bumps. Reduce your speed, and the wobbling should disappear.

But why does that happen? A fatal wobble might be caused by the solid axle or steel tube connecting both front tyres.

Solutions and preventative measures for this problem:

  • Get the Jeep’s alignment examined if you’ve already tested all the steering parts and it’s still shaky.
  • Damaged or ageing suspension components might also bring in shakiness.
  • Check the Jeep for torn boots on the ball joints.
  • Make that the tyre pressure is correct, neither too high nor too low. 
  • A Jeep will shake if the tyres aren’t properly inflated.
Jeep Wrangler Problems

The TIPM Malfunction

It’s common in contemporary Jeep Wranglers and provides juice for things like electric windows, door locks, and horns.

If there’s an electronic malfunction, the TIPM can,

  • Roll the windows up and down
  • To open and close the car’s windows
  • Begin making sporadic beeping noises with the horn.

If the electronic failures are becoming more frequent, have the TIPM swapped out at your local dealer.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

An Issue with the Ignition Switch

Sometimes, when driving one of the more recent versions, the engine will shut off. Although it seems to be coming from the engine, the issue could actually be caused by a malfunction in the ignition switch. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, the closest shop can inspect and, if necessary, replace your vehicle’s ignition switch for you.

Starter Problems

Turning the key to the start position does not start the Jeep. Start by making sure your battery has adequate charge and is securely connected, and then move on to the starting (checking for suitable voltage at starter solenoid) to see if the correct amount of electricity is reaching your starter.

You may need to replace the starter if you find significant damage, but changing the battery or cleaning the terminals may solve the problem instead.

When your Jeep won’t start, many owners blame the starter, but this isn’t always the case. On the other hand, this is not always the case, and it is frequently not essential to replace a starter.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

Rust Issues

Rust on the frame is a problem for Wranglers and other vehicles that spend their careers in climates with severe winters. This occurs when the metal becomes impregnated with road salt used to melt snow and ice.

You can also use a rust-stopping spray or coating, the efficacy of which varies. You may avoid rust by not driving in the winter and by keeping your car clean all the time.

Jeeps aren’t the only automobiles susceptible to rust. Rust is an inevitable problem in areas that experience severe winters, therefore it’s important to take preventative measures. Being proactive in avoiding infection is essential because treating this condition is quite challenging.

Jeep Wrangler Problems

Acceleration Problems

Some Jeep Wrangler drivers have complained that their vehicles suddenly slow down or take longer to respond to accelerator pedal presses. Failures in the oxygen sensor, filthy throttle bodies, a clogged air filter, a stretched throttle cable, or a faulty governor pressure sensor are typical Jeep issues.

Most acceleration problems can be traced back to a clogged air filter, throttle body, or faulty injectors, among other causes, or to a faulty sensor. Such parts should always be the starting point for troubleshooting when such problems arise.

Jeep Wrangler Problems


Overall, Jeeps are reliable and easy to repair on, but they have their difficulties. Having a rudimentary understanding of Wrangler problems can help you prevent being stranded and the domino effect of problems piling up. Whether you own a Jeep or are going to buy one, knowing it well will improve your ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What year of Jeep Wranglers had problems?

When looking at the worst-performing models of the Jeep Wrangler, 2012 took the win. Among the issues it had, there have been 9 recalls, making it the worst for Jeep. The 2007 and 2008 Jeep Wranglers are not too far from that, as they have 10 and 9 recalls, respectively.

What is the biggest problem with jeeps?

Most commonly reported problems are transmission issues, engine stalling, and the infamous “death wobble” that can happen to steering wheels at high speeds or on rough terrain. No vehicle make or model is without problems, and the likelihood you’ll need repairs on your vehicle rises as you continue putting miles on it.

What year Jeep has transmission problems?

The most common Jeep Cherokee transmission problems occur in the 2014 and 2015 models. Problems include: Shifting roughly or not shifting properly.

Andrea Barbuti
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