Jeep Grand Cherokee Years to Avoid

Avoid costly mistakes when buying a Jeep Grand Cherokee by learning which model years to steer clear of. Get expert insights in this comprehensive guide.

Researching Your Jeep Grand Cherokee Purchase

Before diving into the specific model years to avoid, it’s essential to understand how to research your potential purchase effectively. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Gather Information: Start by collecting information about the various model years of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Knowing the changes, updates, and common issues for each year is crucial.
  • Owner Reviews: Read owner reviews and forums to get a sense of real-world experiences with specific model years. This can provide valuable insights into common problems and satisfaction levels.
  • Expert Opinions: Seek out expert reviews and opinions from automotive publications. Experts often have a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different model years.
  • Vehicle History Reports: Obtain a vehicle history report for any used Jeep Grand Cherokee you’re considering. This will give you information on past accidents, maintenance records, and potential red flags.
  • Cost of Ownership: Consider the long-term cost of ownership. Some model years may be cheaper upfront but costlier to maintain in the long run due to known issues.

Key Information about the Jeep Grand Cherokee Model Years To Avoid

Certainly, here’s a table summarizing the key information about the Jeep Grand Cherokee model years to avoid:

Model Year Range Common Issues Factors to Consider Reliability Off-Roading Capabilities Innovative Features
1999-2004 Transmission problems, electrical issues, cooling system troubles Intended usage, budget, desired features Mixed reliability with notable issues May lack advanced off-roading features Older infotainment systems
2011-2015 Electrical problems, air suspension failures, brake problems Intended usage, budget, desired features Mixed reliability with electrical and air suspension issues Some models offer good off-roading features Improved technology and safety features
2014-2016 EcoDiesel engine concerns, transmission problems, electrical gremlins Intended usage, budget, desired features Reliability concerns due to engine and transmission issues Varies based on the model year Advanced infotainment and safety features
2017-2018 Transmission issues, electrical problems, sunroof leaks Intended usage, budget, desired features Mixed reliability with transmission and electrical issues Varies based on the model year Modern infotainment systems with safety features
2019-2024 Generally better reliability, advanced features Intended usage, budget, desired features Improved reliability in newer models Advanced off-roading capabilities in some trims State-of-the-art technology and safety features

Please note that this table provides a concise overview, and you should refer to the main article for more in-depth information on each model year and the factors to consider when making your decision.

Common Issues in Different Model Years

Now, let’s dive into the specifics of which model years have earned a reputation for common issues. Keep in mind that not all vehicles from these years will have problems, but they are known to be more prone to certain issues.

1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • Transmission Problems: The 1999-2004 models are notorious for transmission issues, including slipping gears and erratic shifting.
  • Electrical Problems: Many owners have reported various electrical gremlins, including power window and door lock failures.
  • Cooling System Troubles: Overheating and radiator problems are common, potentially leading to engine damage.

2011-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • Electrical Issues: Some 2011-2015 models have been plagued by electrical problems, including the infamous “Service Shifter” error message.
  • Air Suspension Failures: The air suspension in these years is prone to leaks and expensive to repair.
  • Brake Problems: Owners have reported brake issues, including premature wear and pulsation.
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • EcoDiesel Engine Concerns: The EcoDiesel engine in these models has faced emissions-related recalls and potential issues with the emissions system.
  • Transmission Problems: Shifting problems, including harsh shifts and erratic behavior, have been reported.
  • Electrical Gremlins: As with earlier models, electrical problems can rear their heads.

2017-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • Transmission Issues: These years have experienced transmission problems, including rough shifting and slipping.
  • Electrical Problems: Electrical gremlins, particularly with the infotainment system, have frustrated owners.
  • Sunroof Leaks: Some owners have reported sunroof leaks, causing water damage to the interior.

Factors That Influence Your Decision

Your decision on which model year to avoid should be based on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. Consider the following factors:

Intended Usage

  • Daily Driver: If you plan to use your Grand Cherokee as a daily driver for commuting and family transport, reliability and fuel efficiency may be top priorities.
  • Off-Road Adventurer: For off-road enthusiasts, off-road capabilities and features like the Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system are crucial.


  • Purchase Price: Some model years are more affordable upfront due to their reputation for issues, but consider the long-term costs of ownership.
  • Maintenance Costs: Research the expected maintenance costs for the years you’re considering.

Desired Features

  • Technology: If you want the latest tech features, you’ll need to consider newer model years.
  • Interior Comfort: The interior quality and comfort can vary between model years.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s Legacy

Understanding the history and evolution of the Jeep Grand Cherokee can provide valuable insights into which model years may be more reliable and better suited to your needs.

Early Years (1993-1998)

  • Introduction: The Grand Cherokee made its debut in 1993 as a midsize SUV.
  • Features: Early models were praised for their ruggedness and comfort.

The WJ Generation (1999-2004)

  • Redesign: The WJ generation brought a complete redesign with more interior space.
  • Popular: These years are popular, but they have known issues with transmissions and electrical systems.

The WK Generation (2005-2010)

  • Improved Safety: This generation introduced significant safety improvements.
  • Engine Choices: Various engine options were available, offering different performance levels.

The WK2 Generation (2011-Present)

  • Revamped Interior: The WK2 generation featured a more refined interior and advanced technology.
  • Issues in Early Years: The 2011-2015 models have been associated with some issues.

Current Generation

  • Advanced Features: Newer models feature cutting-edge technology and safety features.
  • Mixed Reliability: The reliability of the most recent models varies.

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Choosing a Grand Cherokee model year with known problems can lead to costly mistakes. Here’s how to avoid them:

  • Pre-Purchase Inspection: Always get a pre-purchase inspection, especially for older model years.
  • Extended Warranty: Consider an extended warranty if you’re buying a used Grand Cherokee with a history of issues.
  • Maintenance Records: Review the vehicle’s maintenance records to ensure proper care.

A Closer Look at Model Year Reliability

When assessing reliability, it’s essential to consider both the known issues and the general track record of a particular model year.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Reliability by Model Year

  • 1999-2004: Reliability is mixed, with transmission and electrical problems being common.
  • 2011-2015: These years have a mixed reliability record, with electrical and air suspension issues.
  • 2014-2016: The EcoDiesel engine concerns affect reliability, and transmission issues are reported.
  • 2017-2018: These years have their share of issues, particularly with the transmission and electronics.

Examining Performance and Off-Roading Capabilities

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is known for its off-road capabilities, but not all model years are created equal in this regard.

Off-Roading Features

  • Quadra-Drive II 4×4 System: This advanced system is available in some models and provides excellent off-road capabilities.
  • Ground Clearance: Some model years offer higher ground clearance for improved off-road performance.
  • Trail Rated Badge: Look for the “Trail Rated” badge, indicating superior off-road prowess.

Engine Options

  • V6: The V6 engine is more fuel-efficient, making it suitable for daily driving.
  • V8: For those who crave more power, a V8 engine provides superior performance.

Innovative Features Across the Years

As the years have passed, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has seen significant advancements in technology and features.

Infotainment Systems

  • Uconnect System: Newer model years come with the Uconnect system, offering advanced connectivity and entertainment features.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: Many recent models include these smartphone integration features.

Safety Features

  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: Newer models often come with advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
  • Enhanced Lighting: Improved lighting systems enhance nighttime visibility.

What Sets Jeep Grand Cherokee Apart

Understanding what sets the Jeep Grand Cherokee apart from its competitors can help you make a more informed decision.

Off-Road Prowess

  • Trail Rated Badge: The Grand Cherokee’s off-road capabilities are certified by the “Trail Rated” badge.
  • Quadra-Drive II: This advanced 4×4 system provides outstanding off-road performance.

Comfort and Style

  • Luxurious Interiors: The Grand Cherokee is known for its comfortable and well-appointed interiors.
  • Bold Styling: The exterior design of the Grand Cherokee exudes confidence and ruggedness.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Competition

The SUV market is highly competitive, and the Grand Cherokee faces several rivals.

Ford Explorer

  • Strong Competitor: The Ford Explorer is a popular choice in the midsize SUV segment.
  • Advanced Safety: It offers advanced safety features and an available hybrid model.

Toyota 4Runner

  • Off-Road Champion: The Toyota 4Runner is renowned for its off-road capabilities.
  • Reliability: It has a strong reputation for reliability.

Honda Passport

  • Versatile SUV: The Honda Passport offers a spacious interior and a comfortable ride.
  • Practicality: It’s known for its practicality and easy handling.

The Best Model Years for Different Needs

Your ideal model year may vary depending on your specific needs. Here’s a breakdown of which years are best for different requirements:

Best Model Years for Off-Roading

  • 1993-1998: Early models are praised for their off-road prowess.
  • 2019-Present: Newer models have advanced off-road features and capabilities.

Best Model Years for Reliability

  • 2019-Present: The most recent models tend to have fewer issues.
  • 2011-2013: Despite some problems, these years are known for their reliability.

Best Model Years for Technology

  • 2019-Present: Newer models come with the latest technology, including advanced infotainment and safety features.

Best Model Years for Budget Buyers

  • 1993-1998: Older models are often more affordable and can be a great choice for budget-conscious buyers.
  • 2014-2016: These models may be more affordable due to the concerns with the EcoDiesel engine.

A Step-By-Step Buying Guide

To summarize, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a Jeep Grand Cherokee:

Step 1: Identify Your Needs

  • Determine how you plan to use your Grand Cherokee and your budget.

Step 2: Research Model Years

  • Investigate the model years you’re interested in, focusing on their known issues and reputation for reliability.

Step 3: Inspect the Vehicle

  • Always get a pre-purchase inspection, especially for older model years.

Step 4: Consider an Extended Warranty

  • For used Grand Cherokees with a history of issues, an extended warranty can provide peace of mind.

Step 5: Review Maintenance Records

  • Ensure that the vehicle has been properly maintained, as this can significantly affect reliability.

Making an Informed Decision

By following the steps outlined in this guide and considering your specific needs and preferences, you can make an informed decision when choosing a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Avoiding the years with common problems will allow you to enjoy all the benefits this iconic SUV has to offer, from off-road adventures to daily commuting, while minimizing the risk of costly surprises down the road.

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