8 Common Jeep Problems & Complaints
Jeep owners are in a class of their own. Just like luxury and high-end cars such as the Jaguar and Mercedes, Jeeps command their own space and respect.
However, like all things mechanical, your Jeep will spring up problems and faults – sometimes immediate and some over a period of time. In fact, some faults and problems happen on a more regular basis. While these issues will not dissuade a Jeep lover in any way, they can be a nuisance.
Here are eight common Jeep problems that you should know about – if you know what to expect, addressing these issues becomes easy or even preventable.
The Infamous Death Wobble
Death wobble is one Jeep issue that is probably the most discussed among various Jeep communities. So, what is the “death wobble?” Well, anytime you hit a bump while cruising at high speeds, you might find that the steering wheel starts to shake and vibrate violently. This rattling can be so severe that it feels like you might be losing control and find it hard to handle your Jeep.
The shaking and vibrations might stop when you either slow down or stop. Nevertheless, the experience can be unnerving to say the least. Regardless of which Jeep model you drive, you may experience the death wobble.
Why does this happen?
Because in Jeeps both front (left and right) wheels are connected by a steel tube, if one wheel wobbles, this motion is then passed via the front axle to the other wheel as well.
Now the wobble from that wheel then gets transmitted back the first wheel – in other words, it creates a wobbling feedback loop which leads to the extreme shaking and vibrations in the steering.
Preventing Your Jeep From Shaking and Vibrating at High Speeds
- The most effective preventive action you can take to avoid the death wobble is to ensure both the steering and suspension are in top condition – this can help ensure your Jeep wheels don’t wobble anytime you hit bumps on the road at high speeds.
- In addition, ensure proper wheel alignment and check your Jeep tires to see if they are inflated to the correct pressure.
- Lifted Jeeps might experience the death wobble more often than stock Jeeps – this happens because in lifted Jeeps the angles of the steering parts will get altered. So, it is important to factor in these aspects if you are going to install a lift kit.
- If you are considering installing a lift kit, you might want to discuss these issues with a professional Jeep service technician first.
While exhaust leaks can occur with any Jeep model, certain Jeep models and engines are more prone to this problem. Some of the engine and Jeep models particularly prone to exhaust leaks include the following:
- 1987-2001 Cherokee fitted with a 4.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine.
- 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee.
- 1991-2006 Wrangler.
- Possibly the 1999-2009 Grand Cherokee fitted with the 4.7-liter V8 engine.
Why causes an exhaust leak?
Cyclic periods of heating and cooling can lead to cracks and damage in the exhaust manifold over a period of time leading to exhaust leaks.
Common symptoms of an exhaust leak include the following:
- Reduces fuel efficiency
- Ticking sounds from the engine bay
- You might also find tiny amounts of exhaust in the engine bay
If your exhaust manifold is leaking, then it is best to have it replaced.
Water Leaks in the Cabin
Continuing with the topic of leaks, if you drive a Wrangler or a Cherokee, you might experience a specific issue – water leaking into the cabin. Water leaks mostly happen around your doors and windows.
In addition, you might even hear the wind zipping past while you’re driving. Both issues are in fact related – the leaks and wind noise can happen if there is an issue with the seals on your doors and windows.
Over a period of time, your window and door seals might get worn off or they might loosen leading to water seepage and the noise of wind zipping past as you drive. Replacing the seals should effectively address both issues.
If you drive a Wrangler, then the removal top will need to be handled with care.
Consider the following:
- For a hardtop, it is important that you ensure the panels are lined up perfectly to prevent leaks. If the leaks continue, then check the seals as well as the fasteners – if your fasteners or seals are worn out then it can create gaps tiny enough to miss the naked eye, but substantial enough to allow seepage of water and for the wind to get in.
You will need to be extra careful if your Wrangler has a soft top. The Velcro or zippers could get worn off or damaged while opening and closing the top. The seals could also suffer wear damage.
Clogged Fuel Injectors
Clogged fuel injectors happen when there is a buildup on the injectors – this in turn can impact the flow of fuel. Common symptoms of clogged fuel injectors include:
- Rough idling
- Engine hesitation
You can use fuel additives to help clean the fuel injectors as the engine runs. However, if this does not address the problem, then you might have to consider replacing the injectors. A professional Jeep service, like Horizon Auto Center can help you replace the injector fuels if you’re not a DIY enthusiast.
Failing Transfer Case
Changing from 4WD to 2WD is a function that is handled by the transfer case which is designed with a gear system. The gears are of course well-greased to ensure that they functional as they should.
However, due to wear and tear that happens in the normal course of driving, the seals can get damaged and break down. When this happens the grease can leak out – as a result the gears start experiencing wear damage. If the leak from the transfer case is substantial enough, then you might want to consider replacing it altogether.
If you are not sure about what to do, consider consulting with a professional Jeep service technician first.
Taillight Circuit Corrosion
If you own a Grand Cherokee, then corrosion of the taillight circuit boards can be a potential issue. Corrosion can take place due to seepage of water if the taillight is not secured tightly in place or if the gaskets are not sealed in tight.
If your taillight circuit is failing due to corrosion, then even replacing the blub might not address the issue. In some Jeeps the issue can be fixed by replacing the circuit board while in others, it might be necessary to completely change the entire taillight system.
Jeeps designed with Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) have a relay center which is responsible for relaying power to various electrical parts of the Jeep including the doors locks, the horn, and the windows.
Anytime the TIPM malfunctions or goes faulty, you might experience random functioning of electrical parts – so for example, you door might automatically unlock or lock, your horn could just go of by itself, or you may find that your widows roll up and down randomly.
TIPM problems have been reported among Wranglers and Grand Cherokees models (2007 onwards) and in some recent Chrysler’s as well. If your TIPM is malfunctioning, then have it replaced by the dealer or a professional Jeep service.
Note – Recall for the TIPM is valid only for 2011 Grand Cherokee.
Failing Throttle Position Sensor
A failing throttle position sensor is another problem area for Jeeps (1990 – 2002 Cherokees and Wranglers from 1990 on).
What causes a failing throttle position sensor?
If the throttle body is clogged up with residue, this can impact the functioning of the sensor. In turn, this impacts the fuel air ratio and the running of the engine – often as a result you might experience hard starting or stalling when you stop.
A failing throttle position sensor is usually an easy to address Jeep problem. Cleaning the throttle body using throttle body cleaner can fix the problem. Be careful when spraying the throttle body cleaner – take care not to spray the sensor directly.
Cleaning your throttle body is a good preventive maintenance tip to follow on a routine basis if you want to prevent clogging of the throttle body. If, however, cleaning the throttle body does not fix the issues, then consider replacing the throttle position sensor.
A Fantastic Vehicle
Jeeps are most definitely a fun vehicle to own. However, like any other vehicles on the road, your Jeep can develop certain faults. Routine preventive maintenance is one of the best ways of ensuring your Jeep continues to be in top form regardless of where you drive it.
While most Jeep owners love DIY maintenance and repairs, if you don’t feel comfortable handling any kind of repairs or if you feel the need for expert opinion, in addition to a varied and robust community of Jeepers out there, consider consulting with a professional Jeep service.
Schedule Your Jeep Repair and Maintenance with Us! Ask Us About Upgrades, Modifications and Tires!
Horizon Auto Center are specialists when it comes to vehicle repair and maintenance. If you’re experiencing trouble with your Jeep or another vehicle or have any questions that you’d like to have answered, please contact us. We’re here to help! The owner of Texas Truck & Jeep Accessories and Horizon Auto Center, Ken Sterling is a Jeep enthusiast. He welcomes any questions or comments you may have and may be reached at 469-698-8585.
Horizon Auto Center is committed to providing 100% customer satisfaction. We’ve won the Living Magazine’s title of “Best Auto Repair in Rockwall and Rowlett” for seven years in a row. We offer a 2 to 3-year warranty on most repairs. You may reach us at 469-698-4460 or 469-698-8585. You may also schedule an appointment online at www.txtruckaccessories.com or www.horizonautocenter.com.
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