Jeep Wrangler Models to Avoid

The Jeep Wrangler line of vehicles has come a long way to clinch the status of the ultimate off-road machine and a dream of every dedicated off-road hobbyist.

Their vehicle’s long journey hasn’t been all roses and unicorns. In the manufacturer’s efforts to upgrade their vehicles every year, they’ve produced some bad models which have given users a lot of headaches with overall poor performance, failure of most parts, and multiple recalls.

BEFORE you buy a used Jeep Wrangler, read this article to discover the worst Wrangler models to avoid like a plague.

What year Jeep Wrangler should I avoid?

When looking for a used jeep wrangler, you should avoid Jeep Wrangler models made in these years: 2007, 2008, and 2012 jeep wranglers. Wranglers launched in these years are plagued by multiple mechanical problems and you might be investing in someone’s else lemon if you get any of these vehicles.

Let’s closely discuss each of these Wrangler models to give you more insights into why they’re bad years.

2007 Jeep Wrangler

2007 Jeep Wrangler

This Wrangler model taints the good image of wranglers as the ultimate off-road machine with its poor off-road performance. This vehicle’s main problems include steering and breaking issues.

The steering problem, in particular, led to the infamous issues of death wobble associated with jeeps. The 2007 jeep wrangler went through a total of 10 recalls by NHTSA.

Some of the most common problems facing this car include:

Problematic airbags: One of the major problems of the 2007 wrangler was the airbags. They would refuse to deploy due to an engineering defect, leaving the driver as well as the passengers at a higher risk of getting injured or even killed in the event of an accident. This scenario would get worse if you’re driving in jeeps without an enclosed cabin.

Death wobble: As we have mentioned above, the death wobble problem originated in the 2007 Wranglers. For those unfamiliar with this death wobble, it comes as a result of the solid front axle design that causes your entire vehicle to shake violently after you hit bumps on the road or ride uneven terrains at high speeds. All the Jeeps were okay until the 2007 wrangler came into play.

Video: How to Survive and Fix Jeep Wrangler Death Wobble

Braking: Yes, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler model also has braking issues which means a serious safety hazard, especially when you’re driving your vehicle at high speeds. The worst part is that you’ll need to part with hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs to ensure your brakes run smoothly.

Engine failure: Some of the model owners also reported experiencing issues with the engine. As if that’s not enough, the vehicle model has the most expensive engine. This means if you encountered a total engine failure and had no third-party warranty, you’d be spending an amount that exceeds your used wrangler value on a replacement engine.

Other problems you might encounter in the 2007 jeep wrangler vehicle include oil filter issues, engine timing chain, fuel pump failure, and faulty starter solenoid which makes it impossible to start your car.

2008 Jeep Wrangler

2008 Jeep Wrangler

With the 2007 model having presented soo many problems, Jeep lovers had high hopes that the following year model (i.e., the 2008 model) would be an almost flawless model with a lot of improvements over its predecessor.

This wasn’t the case, unfortunately.

The 2008 jeep wrangler comes with the many design flaws seen in the 2007 model like faulty airbags, death wobble, engine, and transmission issues. In addition to these “old problems” the Jeep also showed a new set of problems not see in the earlier models

These new problems include:

Poor oil economy: one of the worst defects of this jeep wrangler is excessive oil consumption. This might not be a huge problem for you if you can keep the oil levels at the top at all times. But if you forget to top it and your engine runs dry, you’ll damage it in minutes. Car complaints state that this issue costs you $5050 in repairs.

Fuel system: many 2008 wrangler owners also reported problems with fuel system sensors and leaks. These jointly led to frustrating starting failure problems. A good number of owners also reported the brake lines leaks.

Hydraulic braking system: brake line fluid leaks were another major problem experienced in these vehicles. This is a major safety concern in case your brakes go out mid-drive. This issue was soo serious that it earned the vehicle two separate recalls to have them fixed.

Steering system: The owners of this vehicle also had issues with the steering system either becoming prematurely worn out or locking up during driving. The wear-out issues would cost thousands of dollars in mechanical damages.

Additional problems reported in the 2008 model include drivetrain problems and total failure of the TIPM. The 2008 jeep wrangler registered a total of 9 recalls.

2012 Jeep Wrangler

2012 seems to have inherited all the problems of jeep wranglers and was even rated the worst year for jeep wranglers. It has a host of problems as reported by owners like lack of control, poor stability, less comfort, etc. The 20120 Wrangler was subjected to a total of 9 recalls from the NHTSA.

Fuel gauge: Key among these issues was faulty fuel gauge, which would cause you to run out of gas unexpectedly. Imagine running out of gas in the middle of nowhere? That’s the worst nightmare for any driver!

AC unit: The Wrangler also had issues with the AC (air conditioning) system. This tends to leak and blow hot air into your vehicle cabin, making the conditions in your vehicle uncomfortable.

Electrical issues (TIPM module: A problematic TIPM module was another big issue for this vehicle and people stated they’d experience stall-outs while driving due to electrical malfunction.

Engine: Another issue with the 2012 wrangler was overheating engine. Though the vehicle’s engine yielded a lot of power, its radiator wasn’t putting up and risked engine failure. The 3.6-liter V6 engine was also reported to produce excessive noise.

Other major complaints against this vehicle include poor visibility due to small windows, difficulty in shifting gears, and rattling noises from the undercarriage compartments. Some people also complained about the doors falling off and tailgates breaking off on the highway.

Some 2012 wranglers were concerned about rusty body panels early in the ownership of this vehicle. However, this is something you can avoid by taking your vehicle for servicing.

Does Jeep Wrangler have a lot of problems?

Jeep Wrangler generally are good vehicles; save for the few problematic models we have mentioned above. After all, no car on this planet is 100% flawless. Every car comes with its own share of problems and jeep wranglers are no exception.

Though these vehicles don’t score highly in terms of reliability, they still have a good reputation and are considered the ultimate off-road kings.

After all, we only mentioned 3 model years as problematic, meaning you still have a big list of the best years for jeep wrangler models that deliver good performance and leave you feeling satisfied.

Remember, these cars also feature durable and rugged designs and will last for long with regular off-road use. You can expect a brand new jeep wrangler to retain a high resale value after years of riding it on the toughest terrains.

You can easily customize your Wrangler to suit your taste and preferences.

The manufacturer also continues to work on the newer models that seem to offer much better features and capabilities while eliminating the problems in the older problems.


If you’re looking for a used jeep wrangler, you should avoid 2007, 2008, and 2012 models. These vehicles have registered a lot of problems which can cost you ridiculously large amounts of cash in repairs. The 2012 model was voted the worst of the three due to its extensive list of problems.

Avoid these jeep wranglers if you don’t want to inherit the lemon of the previous owner of the used jeep wrangler you plan to buy!

Rick Man Joorian

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