Tips for Buying a Used Jeep Wrangler and Making it Last

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Used car purchases account for 75% of all automotive sales in the U.S. — with good reason. Obviously, used cars cost less and have extras like a 4×4 snorkel or better audio. What may be less obvious is that they depreciate less, too. New cars depreciate 30 to 45% in their first year. By contrast, used cars two years to six years old depreciate just 15 to 18% annually.

In addition to retaining more of their overall value, used cars save on insurance costs, sales tax, and car registration fees as well.

Once you have settled on purchasing a used car from a used car dealer, of course, the next decision is what used car to buy. One of the most popular choices is a used Jeep Wrangler.

Why purchase a used Jeep Wrangler?

Jeep Wranglers pack several benefits, including:

  • Amazing off-road abilities. Jeeps are famously known for their off-road capabilities, and used Jeep Wranglers are no exception. Take your Wrangler hiking, fishing, or camping, and feel confident while driving on bumpy dirt roads.
  • Surprising tow capacity. Jeeps may look hardy, but did you know that a two-door Jeep Wrangler can tow up to 2,000 pounds and a four-door model can tow weights as high as 3,000 pounds?
  • An array of built-in safety features. Each Jeep Wrangler comes with front and side airbags, firm braking, high driver visibility, and high ground clearance. New — but still used — models, like 2019 Wranglers, may come up with rear-view cameras, blindspot monitoring, and forward-collision alert systems.

Are you convinced? Follow these tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler.

Used or Salvage?

One of the first things to consider is whether to buy a traditional used vehicle or a car with a salvage title. What exactly is a salvage? “Though the definition of what specifically constitutes a salvage (or sometimes called ‘branded’) title varies by state, it most commonly refers to a vehicle that has been damaged to the point that repairs would cost more than the value of the car,” U.S. New writes.

If you are well-versed in auto repair, repairable salvage Jeeps for sale can save you considerable money. According to Cars Direct, when compared to average car prices, salvage cars may run “as little as 20 to 30 cents on the dollar.”

If you are less experienced in auto repair, you may be able to find a car with a salvage title that is in surprisingly good shape. Sometimes, if a car owner wishes to sell their vehicle soon and gets in an accident or collision, they may strike a deal with the insurance company to salvage their car instead of paying out pricey insurance claims.

If car repairs are just about foreign to you, it may be wise to go with a run-of-the-mill used vehicle instead. Purchase a relatively inexpensive Carfax or AutoCheck to get a detailed history of the vehicle.

Invest in Good Insurance

Of course, one of the most important tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler — or when purchasing any new or used vehicle — is to invest in quality auto insurance.

First, know what type of auto insurance suits you and your used Jeep Wrangler best.

There are a few basic types of auto insurance related to your vehicle. Those include liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, and collision coverage. Liability coverage typically covers damages to another driver or person’s property or another driver’s injuries only. Purchase collision coverage for crashes involving another vehicle or an object, like a pole or a fence. Comprehensive coverage will cover most other incidentals, like hail, theft, fire, or vandalism. Some plans may even help you replace your vehicle “up to the vehicle’s actual cash value,” according to AllState.com.

More good news is in store for those purchasing a used Jeep Wrangler: Jeep Wranglers are among the least expensive car models to insure. “Jeep owners typically drive slowly, parts are basic and readily available, leading to lower repair costs,” says Kelley Blue Book executive editor Michael Harley.

With Wrangler repairs running relatively low, it is wise for car owners to weigh the costs of average repairs against the costs of monthly collision insurance plans.

Talk to Jeep Owners

One of the best things you can do going into truck dealers to buy a used Jeep Wrangler is to arrive armed with knowledge. Talk to Jeep owners about what you can expect to pay. Research average sale prices and Kelley Blue Book Prices. Know what you price Wranglers are likely to go for and what you are willing to spend. here

Once you know your price range, facilitate used auto sales by arranging financing. Arrange financing beforehand with your bank or chosen lender. When you arrive at the dealership and purchase your used Jeep Wrangler, you can choose to use the loan from your bank or creditor or ask the dealership if they offer lower, more competitive interest rates.

After you arrive at your preferred price range and have a potential loan ready-to-go, the next step is negotiating. Start low, be firm, and be prepared to talk to your salesman or saleswoman and a closer. Yes, some dealerships use a closer as well. Prepare to talk prices with multiple people, and always sign the contract as soon as possible to seal your deal in writing.

Doing your research is one of the most important tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler. Don’t skip it!

Treat It Like A Jeep

A Jeep is a Jeep! Treat it like one. Unlike classic cars that require regular waxing and particular storage, Jeeps are rugged, all-terrain vehicles. They can take some reasonable wear and tear.

In fact, just about all Jeep models last at least 100,000 miles. With careful maintenance and these tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler and making it last, Jeep Wranglers can run for up to 400,000 miles!

The Jeep Wrangler, in particular, is specifically manufactured for off-roading and weathering rough terrain and the great outdoors. According to Motor and Wheels, even the most beat up Jeep Wrangler can easily last five years. Take care of it, and it can last 15 to 20.

Remember, because the Jeep Wrangler is famously an off-road vehicle, it is equipped with big tires, strong axle tubes, large brakes, four-wheel drive, and tough skid plates. It is a truck that is easily able to withstand tough conditions when it is new — and for years to come.

Keep it Clean

While it is largely unnecessary to buff and wax your Jeep Wrangler only to get it dirty while off-roading, one of the smartest tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler and getting the most out of it is to clean it with some regularity.

Failing to clean your Jeep Wrangler can have much greater consequences than simply causing your Jeep to look dirty. Over time, a thick layer of dirt poses a problem. That layer of dirt becomes abrasive, slowly scratching and wearing away the top, protective coating on your vehicle. Dirt, droppings, acid rain, and pollutants may permanently damage the paint on your car — and may ultimately cause bigger problems, like rust.

Rust looks unsightly and packs the potential to corrode your Jeep, leaving holes or exposing the inner parts of your vehicle. A quick, semi-regular clean at a reliable car wash service is all it takes to combat rust and protect your Jeep.

Keep Up with Regular Maintenance

Routine car maintenance keeps your car running at its best. By taking care of small, routine fixes and maintenance, Jeep owners can keep larger, more costly repairs to an absolute minimum.

Routine maintenance generally consists of an oil change every 1,000 to 3,000 miles depending on the make and model of your vehicle. During an oil change, a mechanic will change your oil, give you the option to replace the air filter, and check important car fluids, like transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield wiper cleaner. The auto mechanic will check tires and the headlights, taillights, and brake lights on your vehicle as well.

Most car owners consider this semi-regular oil change a responsible car maintenance routine and among the best tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler and extending its usable life.

Take it one step further by examining belts and hoses, checking wiper blades, and — every so often — opening up the hood to look at your Jeep’s car battery. When assessing belts and hoses, you are looking for signs of serious wear, like cracks, bulges, or missing pieces. You’re also checking to see that all hoses and belts look properly aligned and remain securely in place. Windshield wipers need replacing if wipers squeak or leave visible streaks whenever you use them. Take a peek at your battery from time to time to check for signs of corrosion. If you notice any minor buildup, this can generally be removed using a stiff wire brush.

Consider Engine Replacement

Among the top tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler and getting as many miles as possible out of it is considering engine repair when necessary. As stated, a well-maintained Jeep is good for 15 to 20 years or 400,000 miles. With that tidbit in mind, when it comes time, it is very smart to weigh the costs of engine repairs or engine replacement versus the cost of buying another car altogether.

In many cases, you can repair or replace the engine of a Jeep Wrangler and — again — enjoy it for 15 to 20 years instead of going through the lengthy and costly process of purchasing another vehicle. To keep engine repairs or replacement economical, look out for these telltale warning signs that you may be having troubles:

  • Your warning light is lit up. Warning lights exist for a reason. Pay attention and take action, particularly when it comes to serious warnings, like your check engine light.
  • Popping and locking. For the most part, your Jeep should ride smoothly on most roads. If it is stalling, stuttering, jerking, or popping and locking, that is a pretty good indication that things are amiss.
  • A lingering smell. You may smell diesel or fumes while passing another vehicle. If you smell foul odors for an extended period of time, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Best case scenario, you need to top off your coolant or get an oil change. Worst case scenario, an engine replacement may be in order.
  • Blue smoke. Smoke emitting from the back of your car is not good, and it’s especially worrying when that smoke is blue. According to HowStuffWorks, if you see blue smoke, “Oil is escaping from its intended passageways within the engine and is being burned along with fuel.”

Heed warning signs that there may be trouble with your engine! It’s one of the best tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler and keeping it in top working condition for years to come.

Keep Your Jeep’s Glass Intact

Unfortunately, too many car owners are blase about auto glass, particularly when it comes to their windshields. In the past, you may have been fortunate enough to get a small crack or dent in your windshield without any serious repercussions. A word of caution: When you ignore a crack in your windshield, you are playing with fire.

Even the smallest crack can slowly grow over time, becoming a serious fissure and/or filling the entirety of your windshield with a web of cracked glass. Perhaps even more alarming, when you have a serious crack on your hands, the windshield can cave in or burst without much warning.

Keep glass intact by repairing any dings or minor cracks as soon as possible, staying a safe distance behind trucks that may toss up rocks and debris, and putting your Jeep in the garage if you anticipate any extreme temperature changes.

What are the best tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler and making it last? Follow tips for buying a used Jeep Wrangler at a good value. Talk to Jeep owners, research average Jeep prices, and weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a Jeep with a salvage title and/or adding collision insurance. Keep Jeeps running as long as possible and as safely as possible with regular maintenance and responsible engine and glass repair.

Enjoy the open road. Venture off the road for that highly anticipated camping or hiking trip. “Do Anything,” as Jeep’s official slogan suggests — and make it possible with regular upkeep and responsible Jeep ownership.

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