Jeep enthusiasts around the world rejoice every year as a new model of the Jeep Wrangler is released. But while this vehicle is loved for its ruggedness and versatility, it has also been criticized for its problems in each successive generation.
However, before we continue, read more of our guide about the Jeep Wrangler here: Best Year for Jeep Wrangler – Everything You Need To Know
Jeep Wrangler Best Year and The Issues in Each Generation
The Jeep Wrangler has been a favorite off-roading vehicle for enthusiasts and civilians alike for over four decades. However, it has had its share of problems during that time.
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Before we continue, you can also read: The Best Jeep Wrangler Years 1980-2019
First-generation: YJ (1987–1995)
Chrysler acquired AMC, the parent company of Jeep at the time, not long after the YJ was released in 1987.
Between the YJ and the CJ, in which it succeeded, there were a number of notable distinctions. The first distinction was that, unlike CJ, the acronym YJ had no meaning.
It had a 2.5L I4 engine paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic transmission. A 4.0L I6 would take the place of the 4.2L I6 starting with the 1991 model year.
Surprisingly, the EPA found that the 17 combined mpg for both the 2.5L I4 and 4.2L I6 engines.
The square headlamps, bigger windshields, grille, and wipers that rest on the windshield are the features that set the YJ apart from the previous CJ-7. The Islander and the Renegade were the two options available on the YJ.
The Renegade provided the YJ with significant performance modifications, but the Islander was primarily aesthetic. It featured the brand-new 4.0L I6 engine, bigger tires, a full-size spare, power steering, and several aesthetic improvements.
Issues with the first-generation Wrangler
Due to the YJ’s age, there are a number of issues prospective purchasers should be aware of.
Buyers should look for rust, body damage, adequate door and top seals, water damage beneath the dash from a leaky windshield, dings on the undercarriage from off-roading, damage to the exhaust system, and the tops should be checked for holes and other signs of wear.
Additionally, prospective buyers should shift the vehicle into and out of 4WD to check that the 4WD system engages and disengages correctly.
There is no safety rating for the YJ because it has never been tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA. The YJ, however, had a number of major safety problems.
It might, for instance, experience a fatal wobble. This wobble, which typically occurs at speeds of 60 mph, causes the car to tremble uncontrollably.
Additionally, it was recalled due to a fuel pump problem that could catch fire due to its routing across the exhaust manifold.
Last but not least, we may conclude that the YJ would not be safe in an accident given the seatbelt issues and the absence of standard safety features like ABS, side airbags, and stability control.
Read also on our blog: The 5 Best Jeep Wrangler Years and Jeep Wranglers That Could Be Improved
Second-generation: TJ (1997-2006)
Jeep opted to delay the introduction of the new TJ until 1997 in favor of skipping the 1996 model year’s Wrangler debut.
Thankfully, the new Jeep had round headlights once more, allowing Jeep aficionados to put down their pitchforks and return to the beloved brand. Jeep made an effort to increase TJ’s driving prowess over the outgoing Wrangler.
They managed to cut the drag coefficient by.07, although it wasn’t exactly aerodynamic. It also included a new coil-spring suspension in place of the previous leaf springs to make it more comfortable. It’s interesting that it retained the same 2.5L I4 and 4.0L I6 engines that were available on the TJ.
Issues with the second-generation Wrangler
The second-generation Wrangler was, to put it bluntly, an unsafe vehicle. It received a satisfactory rating in the front test with moderate overlap.
However, the IIHS only gave it a moderate rating in the side crash test. The driver’s torso injuries during the side impact test resulted in a bad rating.
Additionally, the IIHS once again gave the head restraints the lowest rating of inadequate when they were evaluated starting with the 2001 model year. This is unexpected considering that the TJ’s torsional rigidity was increased by 100% in comparison to the YJ.
Additionally, the 15% improvement in frame stiffness. This can only imply that even if the TJ was risky, the YJ was significantly worse.
The reliability of the second-generation Wrangler was also under doubt. According to the NHTSA, it averaged over 300 complaints per model year.
The 4.0L I6 engine’s damaged manifold, the inability of the airbags to deploy, and the instrument cluster failing were the most frequent issues with the early model TJs (1997-2000).
Rust was the most frequent issue with the 2000–2002 Wrangler, while the fuel filler on the later model TJs frequently failed to stop the flow of gasoline, resulting in spills.
In summary, the model years from 2001 to 2004 were the most dependable for this generation. The gasoline filler issue, rust, the “death wobble,” and the fractured manifold on the six-cylinder engine are typical issues to watch out for.
Third-generation: JK (2007-2018)
The in-store debut of the 2007 model year JK Wrangler. The release of the new Wrangler brought exciting news: under the name Unlimited, a four-door model would now be available.
The JK was bigger, taller, and had a longer wheelbase than the TJ. Thankfully, Jeep upgraded the latest generation with safety features including traction control and stability control.
This was the first Wrangler model to be created without any AMC components. The brand-new 3.8L V6 was available for the JK.
We have an article about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler on our blog. Go to: The Best Year of Jeep Wrangler: 2018 Review
Issues with the third-generation Wrangler
Even though the third-generation Jeep Wrangler wasn’t as dangerous as the earlier models, it was still far from a safe place. Most people think that the Wrangler is safe because it is a large car.
Unfortunately, it has been established that this is untrue. Every model year that the IIHS tested received a bad rating in the side impact test.
Additionally, it obtained a marginal rating for the driver’s side small overlap front test as well as the head restraints and seat category.
Even worse than the TJ, the new Wrangler’s reliability declined. The average number of complaints it got per model year, according to the NHTSA, was over 550.
A persistent airbag light, an overfilled petrol tank, intermittent electrical issues, and the “death wobble” are among the JK’s frequent issues.
The good news is that most of these issues were fixed by Jeep in succeeding model years. Therefore, the 2015–2018 model years appear to be the most dependable if you intend to purchase a JK.
Fourth-generation: JL (2018-Present)
The designation JL was given to the brand-new fourth-generation Wrangler. The JL and the JK from the previous generation were sold together in 2018. The third and fourth generations are extremely similar in terms of aesthetics. There aren’t many style indicators to separate the two.
The marker lights are now on the fender and there is no Jeep symbol above the grille in the front. The headlights also cut into the grille.
The doors now have pull handles rather than buttons, and there are vents on the sides behind the fenders. Only the taillights, which are no longer entirely rectangular, have changed on the rear. The redesigned JL taillights have convex sides and LED technology.
Issues with the fourth-generation Wrangler
Over 1,100 complaints were filed with the NHTSA about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, which had numerous issues and was subject to 11 recalls.
The steering was without a doubt the worst issue with the new Wrangler. It was extremely difficult for cars to stay in their lane as it tracked all over the road. The majority of the complaints—nearly 900—were related to the steering.
Other than that, the JL wasn’t plagued by any other persistent issues. There were typically 250 complaints for the 2019 and 2020 model years. The steering issue was the primary cause of the vast majority of complaints.
The fourth-generation Wrangler raised the bar in terms of safety. It didn’t obtain a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS, although it did receive “good” ratings in all categories with the exception of the driver’s side small overlap front test.
The JL’s headlights’ lack of brightness is another issue. The IIHS gave the basic headlights a “poor” rating. Aside from that, the new Wrangler appears to be significantly safer than the old model.
The Problem with each generation’s Jeep Wrangler is one of the greatest off-road vehicles available. It’s ideal for people who want to explore new environments off-road.
Each generation has its own set of problems that need to be taken into account while buying or owning one. This article will discuss the problems in each generation.