When it comes to iconic, legendary vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler is among the leaders of the pack. With its powerful engine and rugged good looks, the Wrangler is a definite show-stopper in the streets and on the trails. A new Jeep Wrangler with all the bells and whistles can easily set you back $100,000. It’s expensive, definitely, but also worth the investment. If you don’t have that kind of budget, however, then previous models are also viable options. Jeep Wranglers are built to last and an old but well-maintained one can still run like a dream. Still, just like buying any other used vehicle, you need to pay special attention to details. Some of the things you need to check are listed below.
Check the Model Year
The older the model year of the Jeep Wrangler, the more affordable it will be. However, you may find it a little difficult to find spare parts and components should you need them. What’s great is that the Wrangler is a popular vehicle. You may need to put in a bit more work looking for reliable providers, but they’re certainly there for you to find (click this link for a trusted NZ supplier of Jeep parts).
Check the Undercarriage
When you buy a used vehicle, one of the first things you’ll hear is probably, “Check under the hood.” This is good advice that you should follow. However, you have to remember that most people get a Jeep Wrangler for off-roading purposes. Therefore, you should also prioritise checking the undercarriage of the Jeep you’re planning to buy. In particular, inspect the level of rust all around. Some rust is acceptable, especially when you’re looking at an older model, but it’s definitely a bad sign if there are parts that are completely eaten through. It’s also a good idea to ask the previous owner how they used the vehicle and if they often drove on rough terrains.
Check the Skid Plates
As you’re checking the undercarriage, you need to pay special attention to the skid plates. Inspect it for damage, particularly dents, big scratches, or even ripped sections. While these mean that the skid plates did their job protecting the undercarriage, they can also indicate heavy use and abuse. Knowing what to look for can also protect you from sellers who say that the Wrangler has never been off-road when the opposite is true. On the other end of the spectrum, you should also check if the Jeep has recently received any body work, particularly a fresh coat of paint. This can be used to hide imperfections caused by excessive off-roading and heavy-duty usage.
Check the Rest of the Exterior
Again, the Jeep Wrangler is a great vehicle for off-roading, camping, and other outdoor adventures. In short, the exterior gets a lot of damage (superficial or otherwise). Make sure to check the hood, front and rear bumpers, and brackets. You should also check the side lower frame rails for salt and sand damage, particularly if the owner used to drive often in the snow. If the Jeep Wrangler has a soft top, check it for punctures, tears, and worn stitching. For hardtops, see if there are any holes, dents, or other similar types of damage.
Check the Acceleration and Brakes
Jeep Wranglers aren’t known for their speed. However, stepping on the gas can help you determine a few things, such as the vehicle’s transmission response. Another thing to inspect is the braking response. On a test drive, find an empty space where you can slam your foot on the brakes. The vehicle shouldn’t list to the side in the event of hard braking. Of course, there also shouldn’t be any squeaking or grinding noises. Finally, check if the 4WD and the lockers (if there are any equipped) are working properly. Consult the owner’s manual or ask someone knowledgeable to perform the test for you.
Check the Mileage
Many Jeep Wrangler owners make the most of their capable vehicles. That’s why it’s not so surprising to see used Wranglers with a high amount of mileage. This is not automatically a bad thing. If the vehicle is in bad shape, it likely won’t be able to rack up too many kilometres. A higher mileage can also get you a lower price. However, if you’re looking to also use the Jeep often and for a long time, you should definitely opt for one with lower mileage.
Check the Aftermarket Parts
Jeep Wranglers are popular vehicles, which means there’s no shortage of custom parts and accessories. If the one you’re eyeing has them, make sure to check the installation and the workmanship of the parts. This is doubly important if the additions are made from metal, such as bumpers. You should also check if the Jeep has a modified suspension. Lift kits, in particular, are among the most common upgrades that owners add to their Jeeps. If there are any modifications, make sure that all the parts are properly installed. Of course, this list doesn’t mean you should skip checking the seats, windows, electronic systems, and other interior components. Don’t forget to inspect the safety features, as well. In the end, even if you’re buying a used Jeep Wrangler, you want to get the most out of your money. Good luck on your search for your dream vehicle!