Why are Jeeps so expensive?
Jeep Wranglers are amazing vehicles, but the current ones are just too expensive for a lot of people. It’s sad that the cult following that is Jeepers, have been priced out of.
Diehard Jeep owners have always been resourceful and mostly built their off-roading rigs. They have always been able to stretch their dollar to build and perform their own Jeep modifications.
Jeeps are so expensive because everyday people have become the new driver's of the Jeep brand. No longer is it the off-road enthusiast. It's this popularity of the "go anywhere" including the office, grocery store and pilates that is driving the cost of the Jeep SUVS. I must admit, inflation isn't helping either.
The Jeep brand has become a cult to those of us willing to build them up only to tear them back down on the weekend. Repair what we broke and make it stronger for the next outing. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Are new Jeeps worth the money?
The current Jeep Wranglers are overpriced, and they’re not even that much better than the used models. That’s just my opinion.
Sure, the late model Jeep Wranglers have all of the comfort features to go along with the 4 wheel drive capabilities.
None the less, these Jeep Wranglers are in high demand and there are plenty of people willing to pay the cost. The resale value of Jeep Wranglers is so good that even the used vehicles are quite expensive.
I bought my first new Jeep Wrangler in 1995, while stationed in Fort Drum, New York. The brand new price set me back $15,995. I had sticker price shock back then. Oh how I wish I could find a current Jeep for that price now.
True Jeep fans have been longing for a V-8 powered Jeep vehicle since it was discontinued in 1981. Jeep did the honorable thing and eventually gave in to their loyal customers wants. That gift of a powerful Wrangler comes with a hefty price of $81,585.
Cost of upgrades-
When I bought the 1995 Jeep Wrangler, you had to pay a premium to to get the upgraded full doors with hardtop. What Jeep didn’t know back then, was that Jeep owners loved the half doors for visibility off-roading.
With the latest generation of Jeep Wrangler, the half door is an upgrade option. The two doors model will set you back $2,350 while the four doors cost $3,995.
There are aftermarket half-doors for every Jeep from the CJ's through all Wranglers. They are great but don't match the color of you Jeep and the fit and function aren't as good in my opinion.
For my used Jeep Wrangler TJ, I can still find half doors for $500 to $800.
Are new or used Jeeps better?
Is a new Jeep Wrangler nicer than the used ones? That’s debatable. If you’re looking for comfortable features with cup holders and the like, then yes. If you’re a purist and minimalist like me, then no.
If you test drive a new Jeep Wrangler, it will undoubtedly have better handling. This is especially true with the unlimited models, due to the longer wheel base. The newer Jeeps have a wider track width than the previous models.
I agree that the new Rubicon model is a far cry better than even the Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon in performance. This is mainly due to the axle strength of the newer Dana 44s.
For climbing hills and carrying passengers plus gear, the longer unlimited models are the cat’s meow.
The older and reliable 4.0l engine in the used Jeep Wrangler TJ is for the most part, bullet proof. Many people have complained about the newer “mini-van” engines in the newer models.
Both have had their fair share of complaints, but over all the inline six of the older Jeeps is a extremely solid engine.
All of the comfort creatures of the newer model Wranglers come at a cost. The more complicated a vehicle is, the more there is to break. Just a fact. The saving grace for this is the factory warranty. Don’t have that on a older used Wrangler.
To compensate for a lack of warranty, there are numerous companies than provide warranties for used Jeep Wranglers that aren’t too old.
Why buy a used Jeep Wrangler?
Used Jeep Wranglers are a great value. You can get one that’s already been customized by other drivers, and there’s a huge following and support system for these vehicles.
Used Wrangler Modifications-
The aftermarket support for Jeep as a whole is incredible. You can build your used Wrangler or Wrangler JK as wild or as mild as you would want.
Have everything you wanted in a Jeep Wrangler and not a bunch of stuff the factory thought you wanted. The options for your Jeep are unlimited.
Looking for a Rubicon without the price tag? Maybe you dream of owning the new 392 Wrangler Rubicon. With the aftermarket products, a little time and sweat equity you could have a Jeep Wrangler that will honestly out perform either for half the cost.
With modifications performed on a used Wrangler you get the suspension, tires, lockers, engine, transmission and performance that you want. The best part is being able to repair it because you will ultimately become familiar with your Wrangler after adding your modifications.
Before buying a used Jeep Wrangler
No matter what Jeep Wrangler you are looking at, take it for a test drive. When I say test drive, I mean run it through the paces. Test everything on it. You have to inspect it closely when buying a used Jeep.
Here is a list of things to look for just short of being a Jeep Wrangler Buyers Guide.
Choosing a Jeep model-
Jeep Wrangler Sport Model-
If you're into serious off-roading, skip the Rubicon with all of it's features. You'll end up swapping out axles for beefier ones if you plan to run larger than 37 inch tires. Grab a Sport model instead.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Model-
If you're only going to use it as a daily driver and do some weekend wheeling, then go for the Rubicon model. It has some serious capabilities in rough terrain.
2012 vehicles will give you a boost in horsepower as Jeep Wranglers increased from 202 hp to 285. Torque also grew from 237 to 260 foot pounds.
If you're looking for creature comfort features with a descent price tag, opt for the Sahara trip package. It's a little nicer in the interior. Kind of an upscale version for the brand.
Under the hood-
During your inspection, you should pay attention to any strange noises coming from the engine compartment.
You may also want check that all belts and fluids are present in correct amounts for proper operation of various components throughout its lifespan; however it’s important not just focus on these aspects but how well they work together while driving too!
Inspect radiators on all models- if they’re plastic ones (and there aren’t many), then make sure none of their seams have split because this will lead to leaks later which can quickly wear out an expensive part before it needs replacing!
On Rubicon models, operate the lockers to ensure they work. Try the sway bar disconnect to ensure it operates properly as well. Take a good look at the under carriage for signs of serious off-roading. If your lucky, you'll get a soccer mom or cubicle worker that bought it for the cool factor.
Check that steering is tight and functions properly Have your dealer or an expert turn it will back again; watch for anything loose or damaged while listening out on power steering pump
Inspect the exterior and interior of your vehicle to make sure it’s safe for travel.
Check all lights, body panels, and skid plates for dents, rust and cracks.
Make sure there aren’t signs off-roading such as scratches or dents anywhere near suspected problem areas. (axles, skid plates, rocker panels and control arms)
Soft top Jeep SUVS
If it has a soft top, drop it and put it back up. Check for tears and that zippers work properly. Look at the quality of the soft windows for clarity and abrasion.
Hard top Jeep wrangler SUVS
Check that the hardtop has all of it's mounting hardware. Look at the seals on the freedom top to ensure they look good. Check for scratches on the black side of the 3 piece hardtops. These occur from lack of properly stowing them when off-roading.
My daughters 2011 Rubicon is no different.
Check that all interior lights and gauges function properly. Ensure that all of the required bolts that secure the hardtop to the body are present.
Check the instrument cluster for any warnings that may be present.
Look behind any trim pieces such as kickboards on bumpers; they’re often where water will hide first!
Final thoughts on why Jeep Wranglers so expensive-
Buying a used vehicle can seem nerve-racking at times. Especially when searching for Jeep Wranglers. If you take your time and inspect it carefully, you’ll make the right decision on which Jeep is “the one”.
Whether you are looking for regular Jeep Wranglers or the Wrangler Unlimited, you’ll have a solid vehicle to start with.
Buy a Wrangler with half doors if you think you’ll want that down the road. Full doors are plentiful, however 1997–2006 half doors are getting harder to find.
I’ll always be a Jeep fan, however I’ll probably never buy a new Jeep again. They’re just out of my price range. Luckily for me, I’ve got the skills to build a great Jeep from any of the used offerings.
There is great value in a used Wrangler. In my opinion, the 1997–2006 Wrangler TJs will increase in value over time. The 1981 CJ-8 did.
When you’re shopping for your next Wrangler, consider buying used. You’ll save money and with a little reading, and YouTube, you could build a Jeep to suit your needs.
If you build a Jeep, you'll be intimately involved in your Jeep's mechanical and electrical workings. The straight sixes are extremely easy to work on and are bullet proof as long as you don't drink water through the intake and keep the oil clean and topped off.
Happy Jeep hunting and good luck.