Auto Maintenance: Are Jeeps Expensive to Repair?

Professional mechanic repairing broken down Jeep

If you’ve recently purchased or are contemplating getting your hands on a Jeep, you might want to know the cost of ownership of this legendary 4×4. This blog will answer the question potential buyers always ask: are Jeeps expensive to repair and maintain?

Generally, the automotive industry follows a simple rule: the more premium your car is, the more expensive its parts are. Some premium cars are notorious for their high ownership costs when compared to their budget counterparts. This blog will cover the most common maintenance costs incurred over the life of the car and are especially important if you are looking to buy a pre-owned Jeep.

While there is a common misconception that Jeep ownership costs are high, this is not the case. If you avoid custom modifications to your vehicle and are willing to work on your car yourself for minor problems, maintenance costs should not be too much of an issue.

Are Jeeps Expensive to Repair?

Depending on the problem, Jeeps can cost more than average to repair, compared to other vehicles in the same class. Routine inspections and proper maintenance have been known to reduce the frequency of major repairs.

Why Are Jeeps Expensive to Buy?

Jeeps are premium vehicles that comprise SUVs that target customers looking for crossovers or off-road vehicles. They are renowned for their versatility and their exceptional reliability through all types of terrain and weather conditions.

Over the years, Jeep has proven itself as a manufacturer of highly reliable vehicles that offer great value to customers. With added performance features such as higher horsepower engines and greater towing capacity, while also providing excellent off-road reliability, Jeep offers more to customers than its competitors do.

Customers in the US have also shown a greater interest in the SUV category due to their practicality, thereby causing a demand surge. There are also fanatics of the modifications that they can do to their Jeeps, which increases the vehicles’ resale value.

However, once a customer invests in a Jeep, the vehicle’s overall cost of ownership is relatively low, apart from a few model years with known faults. Since the cost of every variant and model year varies slightly, we will look at the average cost of maintaining a Jeep.

Brakes Can Break

This one is a no-brainer. Whether you are driving in the city, hitting the back roads, or going for an off-road adventure, it won’t be long before you need to replace your brakes. An average Jeep’s brakes last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles depending on your driving style and what terrain you drive on.

Do note that all you need to do is to replace the brake pads rather than the rotors themselves as the latter wear out slower. Not replacing worn brake pads can lead to damaged rotors, so watch out for these indications to know when maintenance work is due:

  • Screeching noises can be heard while applying the brakes.
  • A warning light in the gauge cluster lights up.
  • When you visually inspect your brake pads and less than a quarter inch is left.
  • A grinding noise indicates that the brake pads have worn away and are now making contact with your vehicle’s discs or drums, which can rack up a hefty repair cost if not tended to immediately.
  • A burning smell indicates that the pads are wearing out or are installed incorrectly.

The cost of the brakes depends on which ones you opt to install; however, the average cost falls in line with other vehicles.

Replacing tires on a Jeep at homeTires Get Tired Too

Tires are the only thing between you and the road and are among the most essential safety components. You should never skimp out by purchasing cheap off-brand tires because this can put your and others’ lives at risk.

The stock tires on your Jeep last between 50,000 to 60,000 miles. However, off-roading on rugged terrain can tremendously reduce their lifespan. Tire prices greatly vary depending on the compound, size, and brand you buy.

It is always good to pay attention to when your tires need to be swapped out by checking for these signs:

1. Check Tire Tread Depth and Indication Bars

Ensure that the tread depth is at least 1/16 of an inch. The shallower the tread, the lesser traction you get which translates to more significant safety risks and more wear on the brakes. Newer tires have indication bars on the tread so that you know when you should get new tires.

2. Look for Cracks and Bulges

If you notice crack lines on tires or one more of them seem visibly uneven, stop driving. These can lead to catastrophic accidents because of tires blowing out at high speeds. Both of these can happen as the rubber compound degenerates with age, even if the tire is unused.

3. Exposed Tire Wires

If you drive hard, as every Jeep owner should, then your tires might wear out faster. If you waited long enough to ignore the above signs, then there is a high chance that the wires that give your tire rigidity will become exposed due to excessive wear. When you reach this point, you NEED new tires.

4. Excessive Vibrations

If you feel unusual vibrations coming from the car when you drive it at high speeds, then you should have them inspected and balanced.

5. Alignment

Make sure that you get your wheels aligned after you swap out tires or drive through rough terrain. Poor wheel alignment results in faster and more uneven tire wear, steering drift, and vibrations through the steering wheel, making driving uncomfortable.

Transmission Failure

The transmission is the heart of your vehicle, and like all other car parts, it requires maintenance. Transmission repair and replacement costs are high, and if you are buying a used Jeep or are curious about the signs of a faulty transmission block, you have come to the right place. Here are a few signs that indicate transmission failure:

  1. Your vehicle doesn’t move after you put it into gear.
  2. The gears shift sluggishly and your engine hits the higher revs before shifting.
  3. Transmission fluid leaks can be seen under the car.
  4. There is a burning smell and your transmission fluid levels seem to be falling.
  5. The transmission is making peculiar noises.
  6. Warning lights turn on in the gauge cluster.

If you prefer a manual transmission, then you might hear the cursed sound of gears grinding while shifting, and your clutch might grab either too high or too low.

The good news is swapping out the transmission and the engine costs about the same as other vehicles. Since these components are on the more expensive side for all vehicles, we recommend replacing parts that show more signs of wear early on to avoid damaging other components.

showing the suspension underneath a JeepSuspension Trouble

You have a hefty off-roader with a suspension to match the ruggedness of the most extreme conditions. However, some factors can lead to the suspension wearing out faster, such as age, accidents, and your driving style. Here’s how you can inspect your suspension:

  1. Check if the strut mounts of your vehicle are showing signs of corrosion or damage. You can inspect these by opening the hood and inspecting the mechanism that pokes out of the front fenders.
  2. Inspect the height of both sides from the ground. If the height difference is within a variance of 2.5 cm, then your suspension wear on both sides is balanced. However, there might be some other suspension problem that you can get diagnosed by a mechanic.
  3. Lift the car using a jack and inspect for rust and signs of damage. Make sure to inspect the bushings as these improve the quality of the ride and serve as noise dampeners.
  4. Inspect the tie rods for damage.

If your car is still driving poorly after you have conducted your inspection, look out for these signs:

  1. Bumpy ride.
  2. The vehicle drifts to one side.
  3. Steering difficulties.
  4. Tires wear out unevenly.
  5. The car swerves when brakes are applied.

Have your Jeep looked at by certified professionals to sort out all issues? Doing so prevents racking up an outrageous bill. For example, the damage to other parts from not replacing suspension bushings is significantly more significant than just getting new bushings.


Your insurance premium varies depending on your credit score, insurance history, and the particular model and year of the Jeep you are looking to buy. Newer and more expensive models will be more expensive when compared to older models.

Gas-powered vehicles are also cheaper to insure when compared to their diesel or electric-powered counterparts.  In fact, the Jeep Wrangler was one of the cheapest new vehicles to insure in 2020.

Body Parts and Mods

The Jeep has a cult-like following and a community full of modders which encourages aftermarket parts to be commonly available. Stock parts and performance-centric components are commonly available. Owners can buy aftermarket parts to make their vehicles stand out from the rest.

Fierce competition in the market has allowed these parts to be competitively priced, making them more affordable to end-users.

Fuel – Your Mileage May Vary

The biggest concern for 4×4 owners is the amount of fuel their vehicles use up and rightly so. Newer Jeeps have better-combined fuel efficiency; however, it is still not great. The 2020 1.3-liter FWD Renegade holds the crown for the best fuel efficiency, boasting a slightly above average 27 MPG of combined city and highway driving when the average is around 25 MPG. Unfortunately, the rest of the Jeep family is not as fuel-efficient, despite improvements over previous model years.

Maintain Today for a Less Expensive Tomorrow

Remember, you have to take care of your car to ensure that it is reliable. Make sure to protect your vehicle’s paint and ensure that you check all the engine fluids. A good practice is to check every component every month and top everything off to ensure that your car remains trouble-free.

Taking care of your tires is also important. When you go off-roading, make sure to reduce the tire pressure a bit to increase traction, but fill back up to the pressure advised by the owner’s manual that comes with your particular model.

Leaving the Trail

Wrapping it all up, the cost of ownership of Jeeps is not as high as people make it out to be. We have all come across the acronym that Jeep stands for “Just Empty Every Pocket”; however, this is not true unless you install enthusiast-grade components in your vehicle.

Jeeps can be a bit hefty on the bank account when you buy them, but they rack up additional maintenance costs between $10 – 20 annually compared to other vehicles. If you are into off-roading, this is a small premium to pay for what these vehicles can do. After reading this, what do you think: are Jeeps expensive to repair? Reach out to us and share your thoughts at [insert contact].

Mark Anders

I love my Jeep and will share my years of knowledge with you here! Stay with me and read on!

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