Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

Two 2018 Jeep Wranglers are in front of an antique military Jeep.

How to Shop for a Used Jeep Wrangler 

Buying used is a great way to get behind the wheel of the car of your dreams, without breaking the bank. That said, making sure you get the most bang for your buck can be something of a challenge. Used cars come in a variety of conditions; some feel as good as new; others may be in need of a considerable amount of repair. And if you’re shopping for a used Jeep Wrangler for sale, your job can seem almost twice as hard. The Jeep Wrangler is considered the ultimate adventure and off-road vehicle. Equipped with a suite of off-road features, and put together using durable trek-ready parts, the Jeep Wrangler is designed for rough driving. That said, when buying used, you can run the risk of finding a Jeep Wrangler that is past its prime. So, what should you look for in a used Jeep Wrangler? Continue reading, and we’ll show you our top 10 recommendations.

What Type of Wrangler Are You Looking For?

Between 2010 and 2018, the Jeep Wrangler has come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. As a result, finding the Wrangler that best fits your needs can seem a bit overwhelming. For instance, if you’re looking for a Jeep Wrangler, that offers extra room for passengers, we’d suggest the four-door version of the Jeep Wrangler. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a version that is true to the classic Jeep driving experience, we’d suggest the typical two-door body design.

Tires: The Foundation of the Vehicle

Of all the components that make up a car, the tires can be closely compared to the foundation of a house. Essential to a vehicle’s function, your tires take on the brunt of the road or the trail, and at the same time bare the weight of the vehicle and everyone inside. Tires on a Jeep Wrangler, are almost doubly as important, as they are tasked with not just taking on flat pavement, but the unpredictable terrain of the outdoors as well.

Before buying a used Jeep Wrangler, we highly suggest that you inspect the condition of the tires. A little bit of wear isn’t too bad, but excessive wear can mean a need for a replacement, which can get expensive fast. Replacing all four of your Wrangler’s off-road tires can be a costly job, one worth considering before you put a down payment on a used vehicle.

The wheel of a blue 2019 Jeep Wrangler is shown on a rock.

The Undercarriage of the Wrangler

When taking your Jeep Wrangler on the trail, your vehicle’s undercarriage can undergo quite a beating. While ground clearance and skid plates are meant to protect the sensitive components of your Jeep Wrangler’s undercarriage, there are many instances where these preventative measures fail to offer that extra level of protection. For this reason, we urge used Jeep Wrangler buyers to get a good look at a Jeep Wrangler’s undercarriage before you buy. Some drivers may have been careful with this highly delicate part of your car, while others may have been a little more careless on the trail. A highly damaged undercarriage can mean for some expensive repairs, which can be frustrating to take care of right after making a final purchase.

Does it Have Any Modifications?

Jeep Wranglers tend to see a lot of modifications, ranging from lift kits to snorkels and more robust tires. These modifications can either make or break your satisfaction of a Jeep Wrangler, and can even drive up the cost of a vehicle. Although, some drivers may like the idea of a modified Jeep, as it saves them the trouble of going in to modify the vehicle themselves. That said, it is wise to be aware of the condition of these modifications, as there is no guarantee that they were installed correctly. A poorly modified Jeep Wrangler, can pose a lot of trouble in the long-run, and lead to some costly repairs.

What’s the Mechanical Condition?

The engine is the core of any vehicle, and for a Jeep Wrangler, the engine is the main source of its muscle and power. Jeep Wranglers tend to sport engines with high torque outputs to get the best off-road experience possible. That said, all of this off-roading and rough riding can put a lot of wear on the mechanical components of an engine. So, before you sign the dotted line, we suggest that you get a complete idea of what the mechanical condition of your used Jeep Wrangler. Poor mechanics can lead to expensive maintenance, and can significantly dampen your overall satisfaction with your new car.

Any Off-Road Wear and Tear?

While the Jeep Wrangler is arguably the ultimate off-road vehicle, this rugged SUV is still subject to the wear and tear associated with off-roading. So, before you buy, you should do a thorough check of any damage caused by off-road driving. Dings, dents, and scratches may seem trivial, but far more extensive damage like twisted pipes or broken gas tanks can require some pretty serious repairs.

A white 2018 used Jeep Wrangler for sale is off-roading in a river.

Checking the Mileage

Before you drive away in a used Jeep Wrangler, we suggest you take note of the odometer reading. Your odometer keeps track of the number of miles on a car. Typically, a car with a higher odometer reading is going to have experienced far more wear. At the same time, a high odometer reading should lessen the overall sticker price, as typically high mileage vehicles tend to have a shorter life span overall.

Is it Rusty?

Jeep Wranglers are designed to be rough and tumble vehicles; SUVs that are designed for the outdoors. That said, the Jeep Wrangler is as susceptible to rust like any other vehicle. And considering most Jeep Wranglers are taken out into mud and snow, they are likely at higher risk of having excess exterior rust. A rusty chassis can hinder your overall off-road performance and can be unsightly even at a distance. So, if your potential buy is covered in rust spots, we suggest that you keep on browsing elsewhere.

Automotive Tech

If you’re purchasing a relatively recent Jeep Wrangler model, we’d suggest taking note of the safety and infotainment features onboard. For example, in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, you’ll find advanced safety features like blind-spot monitors and rear parking sensors to give you significant awareness on and off the road. Some recent models of the Jeep Wrangler also come with sprawling infotainment displays that give drivers a suite of infotainment software to help make the most out of the driving experience.

Selecting the Right Trim Option

Over the years the Jeep Wrangler has come in a wide variety of trim options, each one coming with its own bundle of features. For instance, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited came with features like a remote starting system as optional, as well as a sprawling sunroof. These are features you wouldn’t be able to find in base models of the 2017 Jeep Wrangler. So ensuring that you purchase the right trim option can go a long way in helping you find a used Jeep Wrangler that you’ll simply love to drive.

Shopping Used

Buying a used Jeep Wrangler can seem intimidating at first. There are a lot of things to keep track of when deciding on a vehicle, and with the way these vehicles are driven, you may find a lot of excess wear and tear. That said, if you keep a keen eye, and are willing to put in the work and research, you can take to the great outdoors behind the wheel of a used Jeep Wrangler that is ready for anything.

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