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Jeep Owners Care and Maintenance

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
edited August 2014 in Jeep
How do you baby your Wrangler? Any maintenance issues you would like to discuss?

Owner's Clubs


  • drouleaudrouleau Posts: 3
    Will a Wrangler Soft-Top survive (or leak) through one of those new brushless car washes?
    Basically all it does is use a series of high pressure water streams, what about the detergents these washes use, are they too harsh for the soft-top or windows?
  • twylietwylie Posts: 619
    Personally, I would avoid using one of these. I think it may have even mentioned NOT to do it in the owners manual or video. They use high pressure water jets that 1) spray at odd angles compared to mother nature and 2) I think the pressure against the soft top and windows would be a bad thing.

    On a related note, I saw the results of a disaster in a touchless car wash: the arm mechanism that moves the jets from the front to the back jumped the track and got moved close to the side of the car. The pressure was forcing the jets up and down, up and down. SInce the arm was now too close to the car, the jets housing proceeded to grind away at the side of the car until the wash stopped. I saw this at a body shop and couldn't for the life of me figure out how the marks had been made. The shop manager was laughing the whole time while he was telling the story. He said the owner couldn't get out to stop the wash and had to sit there in the car for another 60 seconds while the machine chewed a big slot in their car. You have been warned.

    My suggestion if it is too cold to wash by hand, but you want to knock the mud, salt off the car... Go to the do it yourself spray car wash. You can stand further away and you can avoid the soft top altogether.

  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Ain't NO WAY my Thelma Jane is ever going through an automatic car wash!

    I will hand wash her, take her somewhere to have her hand washed when it's too cold for me to do it myself, or, possibly, use the do-it-yourself spray wash.


    have you hugged your Jeep today?
  • yellowmanyellowman Posts: 209
    Why don't you guys just move out here to the West Coast, then you can wash her outside on your own year-round! :-D Sorry, couldn't help it!
  • saharanutsaharanut Posts: 134
    hey at least we have power when we need it...
    i couldnt resist eaither..
  • f14jeepf14jeep Posts: 7
    I avoid high power sprayers because they tend to knock paint off of hinges, a very common place for body rust on Jeeps.
  • nkelly1nkelly1 Posts: 105
    on breaking in a new 4.0 engine and, for that matter, the entire vihicle. Anyone???
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    It's your old buddy, tsjay again.

    I have heard all kinds of philosophies about the best way to break in an engine. One extreme is to explicitly follow the owners manual, and the other is to put the petal to the metal on the way home from picking up the new vehicle.

    I have always used a middle of the road approach.

    I don't abuse the engine, but I don't baby it as much as the owners manual says either.

    I drive up to 75 MPH in the first 500 miles, but I don't hold that speed for real long stretches. I think it is good to vary your speed, like it says in the owners manual.

    I wind out the gears a little once in a while, but nowhere near red line RPM's.

    All I can tell you is that I have had a lot of new cars and trucks (way TOO many), and I have had good luck with my technique. I have never had a bad engine as a result of my break in method.

    It basically boils down to driving the vehicle during the break in period about the same way you plan on driving it in the long run, with the exception of varying your speeds for the first few hundred miles.


    Have you hugged your Jeep today?
  • The owner's manual recommends changing this fluid at the 37,500 mile interval.

    Two questions: What size wrench do I use on the filler plug, and why does that filler plug have "do not remove" stamped on it?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    Check out Edmund's Maintenance Guide! Link is provided in Addtional Resources Box.

    Owner's Clubs
  • rs1157rs1157 Posts: 41
    how do you lubricate the tie rods and and steering joints. If I can do this, I do not have to pay the dealer $50-$100. Also when do you guys recommend rotating tires? 5k or 7.5k? they are squeaking a bit now at 5k.
  • pwambspwambs Posts: 1
    I just noticed (actually my Wife was driving) the fuel gauge is not accurate on the low end. We put 19.8 gal in a 20 gal tank while the gauge was still showing 1/4 to go. Does anyone know if this can be re-calibrated to be more accurate. This is a new (to me) wrangler and still learning the quarks. But lov the total machine. PWA in FL.
  • I'm looking to buy a new wrangler for an everyday driver. A lot of people are telling me this is a mistake due to the reliability of Jeep. What does everybody think of the reliability of Jeep, and specifically, the Wrangler?
  • Can anyone help me on my reliability question?
  • kkuligkkulig Posts: 150

    It's true that Jeeps have their own peculiar set of problems, but then, so does everything else out there on the road (or off-road).

    Sometimes you need to take what you read out here for what it's worth. I'm a JGC owner and if you looked at and believed all the posts on this vehicle, you'd never own one. I've been very happy with the 4 I've owned since 93. No, they haven't been entirely problem-free but they've never broken down and left me stranded anywhere either.

    To me, getting stranded by a breakdown speaks a heck of a lot more for reliability than reading complaints about the annoying little things, which all vehicles have. If you have your heart set on a Wrangler then go buy one! Sure, you run the risk of getting a "bad" one, but no more of a chance than anything else that's out there. Don't let that stop you from driving what you like and having fun with it. There isn't a more capable off-road vehicle out there than a Jeep!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I agree with kkulig, I think the TJs are pretty reliable; I would be more concerned with finding a dealer with a decent service department.
  • texasjeeptexasjeep Posts: 270
    Go check out the Jeep Wrangler board. Lots of people post there.
    I consider the TJs to be reliable. I think you should be more concerned about the truck-like ride, wind and road noise, and small storage area and other unique things to Jeep Wranglers. It doesn't bother some people for everything else they get out of it, but others can't put up with it.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    texasjeep makes a good point; I thought I would find the Wrangler to be a bit uncivilized, but I was pleasantly surprised. The TJ is certainly no Lexus, but it makes a fun daily driver and it has virtually unequaled off road capability. Sure, the cabin is spartan, but the seats are comfortable and the switchgear and interior materials are durable. I was expecting a noisy uncomfortable mountain goat similar to my 1973 Bronco, but that turned out not to be the case.
  • hansm14hansm14 Posts: 16
    I own a 95 Grand Cherokee, bought it used with 62000 miles on it, rebuilt the transmission,new tires new brakes,so what other maintenence needs doing?Replace spark plugs,change engine coolant etc? thanks.
  • I'm about to by this car. It's red w/black molding, just like the one in the movie w/Kirt Russell. It's loaded w/leather and power everything including a Premium Sound stereo system w/CD. The owner was very honest and showed me all the maintenance/service records including the recalls for the 97 models, it was all taken care of. However, it looks like this high-maintenance car needs to be on a tight service schedule to keep it reliable. Is this normal for Jeeps? The car looks very clean and the report from came out clean. I've been always been a Jeep fun although I've never owned one before. I love this particular model and I actually already put down an offer and we'll be closing the deal soon. However, after all the problems I'm reading about, especially on the 99s and 01s models I'm getting scared. Can anyone with experience with the 97 models give me some advice before making a $10K mistake... Thank you!
  • My daughters 96 Jeep Cherokee has a rattle coming from the exhaust system. It rattles when you close the rear hatch hard, and it rattles when you first start driving and accelerate hard. Later on (within one minute) the rattle goes away upon hard acceleration. We thought it was the catalytic converter starting to give up the ghost, but after being under the car when my wife closed the rear hatch, I noticed the rattle coming from the connection of the muffler to the catalytic converter. When I fiddled with the connection, I noticed that I could slide the muffler backwards about 1 1/2 inches. It still was connected but it was movable. My question is, "Is this normal for this connection to move?" "If so, why does the rattle stop after the car has been running for a minute or two?" "Does the rattle stop because the pipes heat up and expand?" I can't tighten any of the connections because of the rust, should I worry about this and take it in to a muffler place to tighten? The car runs fine, it is just a disconcerting load rattle upon first acceleration.
  • lily16lily16 Posts: 1
    We replaced the berrings and the seals, after that the jeep wouldn't start it acts like there is no gas going to the carb. everyone tells me its the comp. in it. others tell me its the injectors or the filters. or the brain. I wished someone who knows about 94 jeep cherokee sports could at least give me the right advise. Please help.
  • lmpjeeplmpjeep Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty with a little over 20,000 miles. I was told that the front brakes are 75-80% gone and would need new front brakes at my next oil change. This seems a bit soon to me. Anyone have any similar issues? LMP
  • As you all know the Antenna on the Liberty is not one that goes up and down. What do you all do when you go to the car wash??? Last time I went to the car wash, the brushes almost ripped the antenna off. Is there a way to easily take the antenna off and then replace it after the car wash? Thanks for your responses!!
  • I am considering leasing a new 2004 Grand cherokee limited 4x4 for 36 months.
    After viewing this message board and many others, I am having second thoughts.
    I see reviews of many people having problems.
    What are the major problems to watch out for?
    Are most repairs covered under warranty?
  • My J Sport is about to turn 143K. It has an inline 6c 4.0L A/T 2WD. I change the motor oil every 3000 miles. I never changed the A/T fluid-some say do some say don't. The tranny is getting a bit rough from park to first, and somewhat noticable from first to second. Some say change the A/T fluid, some say fluid and filter, while others say leave it alone until the tranny goes. I'd much rather hear advice from a JEEP owner as to what I should do about this impending tranny doom. Thank you for your responce.
  • srocks4srocks4 Posts: 13
    I own a '94 4.0L AT 4x4 with 115k, I've changed the AT fluid/filter 3 times during its life. I change it because its lubes moving parts and heat breaks down fluids. I can't give any facts on whether its good or not, I just do it and don't see the harm in not.
  • src48084src48084 Posts: 7
    Okay so my Wrangler X with 19,777 miles suddenly has this yellow engine light glowing in the instrument panel. I panic. And the manual says it could be anything from gas cap not in place to more serious issues. I call Jeep dealer. He tells me sure they'll run a diagnostic (cost $80) and if it's a defect Jeep pays if not too bad I do. Well, seems a bit unfair to pay $80 to find out if something is covered under warranty or not. Anybody have the little yellow engine light come on and not go off. Do I really have to pay the $80? Also, I did forget to put the gas cap on when I left the gas station and put it on when I parked the car.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Relax and take a deep breath... The OBD II system is just doing it's thing, which happens to be detecting and identifying faults within the emission control system. Since you DID forget to install the fuel filler cap the CEL will likely extinguish itself after several start/stop cycles. If the CEL does remain on, simply drop by a local Autozone and they will read your TJ's trouble code(s) at no cost. Once you obtain that data you can check with the dealer to see if the fault is covered under warranty.
  • devo75devo75 Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Cherokee, and I'm having a tough time with my electric window on the passenger side. The thing will go down very slowly, but won't go back up. The three other windows are working fine. When I try to raise the window from the driver side control, the light on the passenger side control goes off like it's locked. I tried to muscle it up by hand, but I didn't have any luck and I sure as heck didn't want to break the window. Any thoughts???
  • jeepkidjeepkid Posts: 2
    I recently rotated my tires, and now sometimes when i go to brake i get a violent shake, i never experienced the problem before the rotation. is there any suggestions as to what i should do, it is a 96 jeep cherokee 5-speed manual.
  • ricardonricardon Posts: 2
    What's the best way to clean these wheels? Stock wheels on a 2004 JGC Rocky Mtn Edition.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Eagle One 2n1 Tire/Wheel cleaner.
  • udornvetudornvet Posts: 2
    I just returned from the dealer Friday from getting a trans service, filter, etc...He recommended changing the spark plugs, so I told him I would do it myself, since he was going to charge me $70.00 to replace them ...Well on returning home I took a quick look under the hood to see what was so special about these plugs...Well, it seems I cannot even find them!! Does anyone here have any experience in changing these culprits, and know where they are. They must be behind, or under something...Been working on cars since 1968 or so, and I've never seen plugs so well hidden...

    Thanks ;)
  • udornvetudornvet Posts: 2
    Just figured it out on another site...

    They don't even look the same as a conventional older spark plug wires, plus they are underneath a special square looking cover which has 10mm nuts securing it down on the plug...Not too bad a job, but you just have to remove a few things to get to them, without doing any damage to surrounding components, and electrical connectors...

    Question now is, is it worth saving the $70.00 to do it myself?
  • baddog8360baddog8360 Posts: 4
    All I can say is I have put over 180K miles on my '97 Wrangler and its still running strong. About 10% of those miles have been offroad [the beach and the mountains]. The rest have been city driving and long highway commutes. I have had two problems. One the exhaust manifold cracked, which I found out later was a problem inherent with the 97 Wrangler. Cost me about $170US for the re-designed replacement and about three hours work to replace it out. The second was a burned out rear bearing, my fault for not paying attention when I had the gear oil changed @ 100K miles. The folk at the "quickie lube" store didn't re-tighten everything. Cost to repair was about $150US for the parts and getting the bearing pressed on. But again the later problem was due to my stupidity and would have happened no matter what type of vehicle I owned.
    Overall, I am very pleased with the reliability of my 97 Wrangler, wouldn't trade it for anything. If you know of a good mechanic to make sure the fluids are changed on schedule or better yet you can do it yourself, I don't think you could find a more reliable vehicle. Especially one that is so fun to drive.
    By the way, the folks who questioned the wrangler's reliability, did they actually ever own a jeep? :)
  • baddog8360baddog8360 Posts: 4
    First thing I would do is drive the Cherokee slowly, about 10 to 15 mph, for a about a mile or so. Not using the brakes. Try to notice if you have any vibration in the steering. If you don't feel any vibration, try going slow and LIGHTLY slow down. Do you feel the vibration? Have the front brake rotors checked. They can become slightly warped and may need to be turned down a bit. Many tire stores also do brake work and have the ability to check and repair this without having to replace the rotors. If you notice the vibration while you are "just driving" or when you are braking while in a turn, have the front end lubed and then drive it to see if that fixed the problem. If not have the front-end, ball joints and such, checked out.Good Luck!
  • baddog8360baddog8360 Posts: 4
    Don't own a Liberty, but most fixed antennas can be unscrewed at the base. You might need a pair of pliers to get it loosened up first. I keep the antenna on my Wrangler finger snug all the time, so that when I need to remove it I don't need my pliers. Just make sure it is actually hand tight and not wobbling before you drive off.
  • Hi Y'all!
    I've got a quick question I was hoping to get some help with...I've got a 01 Sahara and I recently noticed the thread (seam) above the zipper on my side window is almost completely unraveled :cry: At this point the window is only being held up by the zelcro!! I'm so bummed!
    What's my best option to get this fixed?? Should I look into getting a new soft top or can it be rethreaded?? Does anyone know how much that would cost...and last but not least how to I keep this from happening again????
    Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!
    ;) d
  • Does anyone know what is going on? This is not normal, and it does not happen ALL the time, but it is happening more and more frequently. Very scary! When I accelerate to get on the highway, at about 50-55 mph, my 02 Wrangler X shakes violently, until I reach 60 or so. Does anyone know why? Is it safe to drive? I am nervous to take it to a dealer, because they always think they can charge me more because i am a girl. But I need to know if this is dangerous or not. If you have any ideas, please, please let me know.
  • lawmlawm Posts: 1
    Help, I bought my wife a new Liberty in December as a part of her graduation gift from nursing school, then dressed it up with lots of Jeep accessories, then at 7k miles the rear differential went out, now again at 12k miles the rear differential is going out again, we pull nothing, have a receiver hitch for bike rack, is it us, or is someone else having the same problem,
  • 97wrangler97wrangler Posts: 5
    Does anybody know the size of the nut on the axleshaft stud? I seem to be having trouble find this bit of information out. Any response is appreciated.
  • mallenmallen Posts: 2
    my 98 jgc seems to blow the relay in the ac-console
    i have had it at the dealer all they did was replace the relay and charge 200 bucks
    it worked for 2 days and then blew again
    when i took it back they wanted to charge me 300 more to replace the blower mtor(which is not the problem) and i still do not have a/c
    does any one know where to purchase the relays and what could make them go out?
  • paulepaule Posts: 382
    I'm guessing you have the 5.9L engine? If that is the case, your relay will be found in the power distribution box in the engine compartment. If you do have the 5.9 and you're blowing the relay, I would look at your cooling fan. It is possible the electric fan is having a problem and causing the relay to blow.
    I would check an auto parts store for the relay and if they don't have it, go through your dealer's parts department and install it yourself.
  • mallenmallen Posts: 2
    at the risk of sounding dumb what do you mean by cooling fan? the fan that blows the air through the vents or the fan at the front of the engine???
    thanks so much
  • Please pardon me if you're reading this post a second time. I posted it in the Wrangler forum, and never really heard anything back.

    I have a 2005 SE with 537 miles on it, and I've noticed that the 6sp manual-shift transmission makes an intermittent ringing noise when my foot is NOT on the clutch. The slightest pressure on the clutch makes the noise go away. It sounds rather a bit like crickets chirping. Incidentally, I crawled part-way under the vehicle when it was making the noise and it is not engine noise. It's coming from the left front side of the transmission.

    I know that a similar noise made by the transmission when the cluch pedal is depressed can indicate a failing throw-out bearing, but this noise eminates in the inverse circumstance. At any rate, I can't believe a throw-out bearing would make noise in a brand-new car.

    The vehicle is returning to the dealer for a center console installation tomorrow, so I'll ask then. I'm just curious of any of you have had the same/similar problems.

    I know quite a bit about performance automotive mechanics, but that knowledge is usually applied to 40+ year-old cars. These 'new-fangled' machines are a bit beyond my range of experience. Heck, I couldn't even find the shift fork on this monster.

    Thanks for your input!

    Will Seberger
    2005 Wrangler SE
    Beryl Green
  • paulepaule Posts: 382
    at the risk of sounding dumb what do you mean by cooling fan? the fan that blows the air through the vents or the fan at the front of the engine???

    Not a dumb question at all. Assuming you have the 5.9, you may have an electric cooling fan (the one up front by the radiator) instead of a mechanical clutch-type cooling fan. That is the one I was referring to.

    This repair gets a little involved so you might want to think about a Jeep repair shop.
  • Sorry to get back to you so long after you posted, but my answer (opinion) is yes. The situation you describe can be quite dangerous.

    I've never had this problem on my Jeep (but then, I've only had it for 2 weeks). My old GMC had this problem frequently, however.

    The first time it happened, it was a partially seperated tire tread. Remember in the mid 90's when tread seperation was causing Explorers to roll over? This is the same problem, just a different brand of tire. You should take your Jeep somewhere to have the tires inspected.

    Another time, it was a worn control arm (suspension component that essentially holds your wheel on) in the front suspension.

    Of course, it could be another mechanical problem. Whatever it is, you should have it serviced.

    And remember, in defence of being overcharged or under-serviced, ask to see any parts that were replaced (the used parts they took out) as well as a breakdown of what's on your bill. Believe it or not, dealership service departments are not out to screw you as much as they used to be, because service has become a mainstay of Chrysler's (Jeep's) income. They literally can't afford for you to go somewhere else for service.\

    Additionally, I'm not sure how long they've offered the X model, but it may still be under warranty.

    I hope things work out well for you.
  • alexi53alexi53 Posts: 1
    I have an 04 Sahara and I need some help trying to get the soft top clean. I have tried using a "mild cleanser" but to no avail. The mud is still there. The first week I switched out the tops, it rained and stained my top. It looks like little "rust" spots. I am so frustrated. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Quadratec(as well as several other vendors) sells Raggtop cleaner and protectant. You might give it a try-it's good stuff.
This discussion has been closed.